London - A Reading List

10 May 2016

We’re firm believers that there are very few problems that can’t be solved, or at least temporarily escaped, by reading a good book.

With this in mind we thought we’d give new Mayor of London, Sadiq Khan, a hand settling into the new job by making him a reading list of books exploring the frustrations, joys and peculiarities of living in the capital. 

This Is London
Ben Judah

Over one third of Londoners were born abroad, with half arriving since the millennium. This work explores the new London: an immigrant city. In Judah’s eyes a transformed capital, for better and for worse.

This is London explodes fossilized myths and offers a fresh, exciting portrait of what it's like to live, work, fall in love, raise children, grow old and die in London now.

Start reading now


Slow Burn City 
London in the Twenty-First Century
Rowan Moore

Architecture critic for The Observer, Rowan Moore's fascinating exploration of the physical fabric of London.

In his thought-provoking and often uncomfortably funny new book, Moore makes a passionate case for London to invent new ways to respond to the pressures the city currently faces. 

Start reading now


Londoners: The Days and Nights of London Now
as Told by Those Who Love it, Hate it, Live it, Left it and Long for it
Craig Taylor

Here are the voices of London - rich and poor, native and immigrant, women and men – as witnessed by Craig Taylor who spent five years exploring the city and listening to its residents.

These voices and many more, paint a vivid, epic and wholly fresh portrait of Twenty-First Century London.

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Soft City
Jonathan Raban

How is it that the noisy, jostling, overwhelming metropolis leaves us at once so energized and so fragile? In this travel writing classic, one of our most acclaimed novelists and travel writers seeks to find out.

First published in the 1970s, Raban’s account is a compelling exploration of urban life: a classic in the literature of the city, more relevant to today’s overcrowded planet than ever.

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London Unfurled
Matteo Pericoli

London is divided and united by its river. The Thames provides the perfect vantage point for telling the most comprehensive story of this complex city.

Arriving with little previous knowledge of London, architect, illustrator and author, Matteo Pericoli made an intensive twenty-mile journey along the river, from Hammersmith Bridge to the Millennium Dome and back again.

Over two years later, he leaves behind the most astonishing document of his journey: two thirty-seven-foot-long pen-and-ink drawings depicting the city’s north and south banks.

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London Overground
A Day's Walk Around the Ginger Line
Iain Sinclair

Echoing his journey in London Orbital over a decade ago, Iain Sinclair narrates his second circular walk around the capital exploring modern London through a day's hike around the London Overground route.

With thirty-three stations and thirty-five miles to tramp - plus inevitable and unforeseen detours and false steps - he embarks on a marathon circumnavigation at street level, tracking the necklace of garages, fish farms, bakeries, convenience caf├ęs, cycle repair shops and Minder lock-ups which enclose inner London.

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Lost In The City
Nicholas Sack  

This series of black-and-white photographs captures the ever-changing juxtaposition of old and new architecture in the city.

Nicholas Sack's images of office workers in and around the City of London capture isolated individuals and set them against the imposing architecture of modern London.

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Nairn’s London
Ian Nairn

Widely considered the quintessential - if highly opinionated - guidebook to the capital.

A meditation on a city and its buildings, including railway stations, synagogues, abandoned gasworks, dock cranes, suburban gardens, East End markets, Hawksmoor churches, a Gothic cinema and twenty-seven different pubs, it is a portrait of the soul of a place.

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