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The Book Lover's Guide to London

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Member Reviews

An interesting and entertaining book for literary walks through London, organized by areas of the city. A lot of Dickens, which was to be expected. I would have liked to see additional maps with walking tours organized by author or genre instead of area. How accurate the research is in every case I cannot say. some tidbits were very entertaining others appeared a bit rushed or vague. It certainly invites the reader to do their own research before they embark on a literary tour through London.
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With thanks to NetGalley and the publisher for an early copy in return for an honest review.

My favorite genre of book is armchair travel (a book that allows you to travel through the pages) and this book does that well. The photographs were an excellent addition and I would recommend this book for someone wanting to explore the literary side of London.
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This  is a great book. I love literature and London is fascinating, so what a treat! Learning things about the author’s, their stories and the areas was fun and interesting. I like the photographs and illustrations. I recomend this book.
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Sarah Milne, The Book Lover’s Guide to London, White Owl, an Imprint of Pen & Sword Books Ltd

Thank you NetGalley and Pen & Sword, for providing me with this uncorrected proof for review. 

I was thrilled when my request for this book was granted. Perhaps the height of my expectations made my disappointment sharper. I feel that readers of this review need to take this into consideration as I must admit to being disappointed. 

Briefly, taking a positive approach, The Book lover’s Guide to London does provide an extensive list of authors and  locations that feature in fiction and characters that would be useful to any person, tourist, or relatively knowledgeable London visitor, in investigating London through literature.

However, I felt that there was too much dependence on familiar sources such as Dickens for the more colourful commentary; a greater variety of works and authors given such treatment would have been a welcome addition. At times the narrative lacked the warmth I associate with any discussion of books. Both authors and characters would have benefitted from a more engaging style so that they could be envisaged moving through the many locations covered in this book. 

Geographic areas provide the structure, making this an ideal literary map for exploration. Writers who lived in and/or used them as locations for their fiction are featured in the relevant sections. Although at times this leads to repetition, the usefulness of this way of assembling the information overrides any problems here. Repetition can be a good memory jogger, after all. Geographic entities, Central London, North West London, North London, South London, South West London and West London, feature. Within these, suburbs and authors are named, so that, for example, Kensington and Earl’s Court highlight the authors, Beatrix Potter, Nancy Mitford, Virginia Wolf, William Makepeace Thackeray, and T.S. Eliot and novels in which Earls Court provides the location, include Andrea Levy’s A Small Island and Patrick Hamilton’s Hangover. An interesting comment on one of Agatha Christie’s novels is its location in the apartments in which she lived, Swan Court in Chelsea. 

A comprehensive list of the authors and their works, and an extensive bibliography provide further reading. There is an abundance of photographs, which as well as being a tremendous source for understanding the authors’ or their characters’ lives are a pleasure to spend time contemplating.
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A real treasure of a book. If you love books and are interested in London with its rich history and culture this is the ultimate joy to immerse yourself in the guide from a cozy armchair where you can virtually escape to some amazing places with evocative description to match the fabulous photography. Equally it inspires to one go and actually explore the places illustrated.
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Fascinating Tales….
Interesting and well compiled reference work in the form of a city guide to many of the greatest names in literature and their London. Contains some really fascinating tales of these authors, playwrights and poets and their particular parts of the City. It’s a lovely piece of work enhanced with photography. Perfect for lovers of literature who are sure to find some gems that they may not have before discovered.
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This is a good reference book about books, authors, and some interesting things that happened to authors while living in London. It is an easy read, not a dragged out full-length story about every single author and book, but some handpicked things that happened to the authors. It is not a novel, but just as it says, a guide to many parts and houses around London where famous authors lived and worked. I recommend this book to people fascinated by London literature and authors, and want to feel like walking the streets with them.
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This is an interesting and informative handy guidebook for literary London. It features classic authors like Dickens and Keats but also more recent ones. The guide goes by neighborhood and lists where authors lived or worked and also where their fictional characters had important events. A few I had heard of, but most are new to me. I made a list of places to check out the next time I get to London!
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London is London. It’s hard for me to resist its siren call, because—well, there’s no because. I like it, plain and simple. Cities with that much history, cities that witnessed the passing of time, they’re fascinating by definition. I don’t wish to live there, but hey, I wish I could visit it for a couple of weeks.

Even more so if it’s as interesting as Sarah Milne says it is.

**


Many of the greatest names in literature have visited or made their home in the colourful and diverse metropolis of London. From Charles Dickens to George Orwell, Virginia Woolf to Bernadine Evaristo, London’s writers have bought the city to life through some of the best known and loved stories and characters in fiction.

This book takes you on an area-by-area journey through London to discover the stories behind the stories told in some of the most famous novels, plays and poems written in, or about, the city.

• Find out which poet almost lost one of his most important manuscripts in a Soho pub.

• Discover how Graham Greene managed to survive the German bomb that destroyed his Clapham home.

• Climb down the dingy steps from London Bridge to Thames path below and imagine how it felt to be Nancy trying to save Oliver Twist, only to then meet her own violent death.

• Drink in same pub Bram Stoker listened to the ghost stories that inspired Dracula, the plush drinking house where Noel Coward performed, and the bars and cafes frequented by modern writers.

• Tour the locations where London’s writers, and their characters lived, worked, played, loved, lost and died.

This is the first literature guide to London to be fully illustrated with beautiful colour photographs throughout the book. This unique book can be used a guidebook on a physical journey through London, or as a treasury of fascinating, often obscure tales and information for book lovers to read wherever they are.

Travel guide
Pen & Sword Books
Goodreads

**

Cover: Uh. Too chaotic for me.

Yay!

- The Book Lover’s Guide to London is a handy travel guide written by Sarah Milne. What makes it stand out among the sea of travel guides is Milne’s approach to the city. She prefers to stray from the beaten path—good!—offering the reader a new perspective concerning London. There are pictures of buildings and statues I never encountered before, curiosities, and anecdotes, each of them framed inside a nice graphic layout. What a refreshing take!

- The primary focus is on famous artists who used to live in London. Writers and poets, they’re all immortalized in their own district. 

- Smart choice of structure. Every chapter is about a different section of the town, with subsections focusing on districts. 

- Last but not least, Milne’s style is a delight. Reading The Book Lover’s Guide to London has been a pleasure.

Special mention:

- Covent Garden Market
- The Royal Opera House
- Trafalgar Square – the fountain! 
- Charles Dickens Museum
- The Hardy Tree
- The Paddington Bear statue

Nay!

- Nothing 🙂

TL;DR

5 stars on GR.
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If you're a former English Literature major, or are obsessed with literary lives (I mean, Amanda and I straight up have a podcast about this), the new book The Book Lover's Guide to London is a must have. Author Sarah Milne's book is full of images, maps of areas, and fascinating facts about the lives of authors such as George Orwell, Virginia Woolf, and Graham Greene.   You'll find fantastic stories about performers, learn about the pubs they drank in (looking at you Bram Stoker), and be able to locate some of the most famous (or infamous) locations for novels set in London.

This book blew my mind a little bit about just who used to come read at the British Museum before the library portion became the official British Library off site. The beautiful photographs, fascinating information, and delightful writing style make this an incredible gift for the writer or reader in your life.
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I had high hopes of The Book Lover’s Guide to London by Sarah Milne. Unfortunately, I think they were too high. The introduction promises that the book ‘… explores how their [writers’] lives and experiences of the city shaped their writing and how we can see London through their work.’ Milne says she has ‘concentrated most on biographical snapshots – […] bringing fictional books and scenes to life by guiding you right into their heart.’

Here’s what she has to say about Doris Lessing: ‘After writing more than fifty novels, the much-loved Nobel Prize winner, Doris Lessing, died in 2013 at 24 Gondar Gardens, West Hampstead, at the sage of ninety-four.’ Does that explore the writer’s life? How their experience of London shaped their writing? Does it bring Lessing’s books and scenes to life? It doesn’t even tell us the titles of any f here books.

It wouldn’t be so bad if the book simply reneged on its promises, but it does contain errors. Tallulah Bankhead is known as an actress, not an author. (I don’t count her autobiography.) Milne states that 200,000 people assembled in Trafalgar Square on Bloody Sunday, 13th November 1887. Most papers at the time suggested the number was 10-20,000: quite a difference. The book talks about ‘Cornhill Street’ – I believe most Londoners call it just ‘Cornhill’.

Most seriously, the author states that Elizabeth Barrett Browning met Robert Browning in 1909 [sic]. I thought this was simply a typo – unfortunate, but simply deserving of a private note to the publisher, pointing out the typo so they could correct it before printing. However, Milne then describes Tennyson’s poem, In Memoriam, (1850) as sixty years before the Brownings’ relationship. I realised, to my amazement and horror, that Milne must really think that Elizabeth and Robert met in the early 1900s. (They actually met in 1845 and married in 1846, four years before Tennyson’s poem was published. Elizabeth died in 1861 and Robert in 1889.)

Milne states that Thomas Hardy lived at 16 Westbourne Park Villas between 1836 and 1874. That’s good going, given that Hardy wasn’t born until 1840.

There are lots of snippets similar to the one about Dories Lessing, giving us the precise addresses of various authors. Unfortunately, given the errors I spotted on one casual reading, I’m now wary of believing any of them. That’s a shame, because this could have either been a serious book, delivering what was promised in the introduction; or a light book, simply listing names and addresses, handy to stick in a pocket when walking the streets of London. Either way, though, it needs to be accurate - and it isn't.

#TheBookLoversGuidetoLondon #NetGalley
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Every time I have gone to London with a family member or colleague we end up seeing the typical sites.  With Covid, I haven’t been in two years and it’s time to plan my next trip around MY interests this time.  When I saw this book, I knew it was going to help me plan my next trip…and add a few books to my reading list in preparation.  Some will be a first read, but most will be a second or third read, but all will be a great way to prepare for my first trip in a few years.  Any family that goes with me will have to complete their reading list too.  I’m even adding a few sites for some of the other books I love and haven’t been included…it’s going to be awesome!  

Give this book a read and you’ll be planning your next trip to Monday to be a literary themed trip too. Some cool features and tidbits as well as trivia that will keep you one step ahead of the rest of the visitors.  I. CANNOT. WAIT!
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A great book which describes different areas of London and those authors and writers who were connected in some way. I am always interested in where a writer gets ideas from and London, it appears has sparked many a novel, poem or play.

There has been extensive research and pictures also add to the interest. Sarah Milne takes the reader through different historical periods to give a good overall knowledge of those that London has inspired.
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I absolutely adored reading this book about our great city London and all its grand history.  This book takes you on an area-by-area journey through London to discover the stories behind the stories told in some of the most famous novels, plays and poems written in, or about, the city.

• Find out which poet almost lost one of his most important manuscripts in a Soho pub.

• Discover how Graham Greene managed to survive the German bomb that destroyed his Clapham home.

• Climb down the dingy steps from London Bridge to Thames path below and imagine how it felt to be Nancy trying to save Oliver Twist, only to then meet her own violent death.

• Drink in same pub Bram Stoker listened to the ghost stories that inspired Dracula, the plush drinking house where Noel Coward performed, and the bars and cafes frequented by modern writers.

• Tour the locations where London’s writers, and their characters lived, worked, played, loved, lost and died.

This is the first literature guide to London to be fully illustrated with beautiful colour photographs throughout the book. This unique book can be used a guidebook on a physical journey through London, or as a treasury of fascinating, often obscure tales and information for book lovers to read wherever they are.
⭐️⭐️⭐️⭐️⭐️
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A well-researched guidebook specifically for readers about London, jam packed with trivia that will help you win trivia night? Yes, please. 

Happy, happy sigh. This fantastic resource is a fun read. From the well loved classics of literature to contemporary works, with interesting tidbits about authors and places, this wonderful guide is the perfect book for any book lover/traveler (or book lover/non-traveler). 

I am definitely planning on obtaining a physical copy and bringing this title with me when I’m able to travel abroad.  I loved this book! 


My thanks to Pen & Sword and NetGalley for an eARC of this title.
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This is a great guide to London and lovers of books and is the perfect combination. It showcases the best of literature and places, facts, ect that tie in with London’s culture and is a fun interesting read for book lovers and Anglophiles alike.
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This review is for The Book Lover’s Guide to London by Sarah Milne, an upcoming publication by Pen & Sword, White Owl. I received an electronic copy via NetGalley in exchange for honest feedback.

Pub Date: November 30, 2021
Publisher: Pen & Sword, White Owl
Genres: Travel/Leisure, Nonfiction, Literary, History

Summary:

Many of the greatest names in literature have visited or made their home in the colourful and diverse metropolis of London. From Charles Dickens to George Orwell, Virginia Woolf to Bernadine Evaristo, London’s writers have bought the city to life through some of the best known and loved stories and characters in fiction.

This book takes you on an area-by-area journey through London to discover the stories behind the stories told in some of the most famous novels, plays and poems written in, or about, the city.

• Find out which poet almost lost one of his most important manuscripts in a Soho pub.

• Discover how Graham Greene managed to survive the German bomb that destroyed his Clapham home.

• Climb down the dingy steps from London Bridge to Thames path below and imagine how it felt to be Nancy trying to save Oliver Twist, only to then meet her own violent death.

• Drink in same pub Bram Stoker listened to the ghost stories that inspired Dracula, the plush drinking house where Noel Coward performed, and the bars and cafes frequented by modern writers.

• Tour the locations where London’s writers, and their characters lived, worked, played, loved, lost and died.

This is the first literature guide to London to be fully illustrated with beautiful colour photographs throughout the book. This unique book can be used a guidebook on a physical journey through London, or as a treasury of fascinating, often obscure tales and information for book lovers to read wherever they are.

Review
As someone who is passionate about literature + London, I wish I would have had a physical guide like this in hand when traveling. Personally, I did look up travel articles for bookish locations in London. However, having a guide like this (plus other books I have read similar to these) helps me (for whatever reason) plan out ideas better. It must be a calling back to the time as a child when my parents planned vacations via printed itinerary and maps. There’s just something about having a copy that makes me feel more organized.

Other than that, this book is a very interesting overview of the locations one can visit. There are some obvious places as well as others which may get overlooked. Included with the explanation as to what the location entails are color photographs and other details. I think a map with locations pinned would have rounded out this book as a good resource for bookish travelers.

All in all, I did like this book. It is not a novel idea by any means (see the plethora of travel articles online which collate the same information), but it still executed the task and can provide some ideas for those who would like to see them in a physical format.

Link: https://www.pen-and-sword.co.uk/The-Book-Lovers-Guide-to-London/p/20124
Goodreads: https://www.goodreads.com/book/show/58835800-the-book-lover-s-guide-to-london
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Thanks to the publisher for granting my wish! 

I had the joy of visiting London many years ago, although I am now firmly in the category of armchair traveler. This book was quite a treat, as it brought back some of the locations I visited, as well as many that I have not. I think this book would be a delight for someone living in or visiting London-it would be a real adventure to walk along with this book and visit some of the many literary landmarks in the city. However, I'd recommend this book for anyone who loves literature. Anyone can enjoy the facts and anecdotes in this book.
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If ever a book was written that could combine two of my favorites, London and books, this is surely it! This title can be enjoyed by those in London or by armchair travelers. Divided by geographic areas, as for example, Central London or West London, readers can organize their read or walk to spend time where they most wish. The end of the book lists all of the writing included in the book and also contains a bibliography.

I was drawn to so many areas in my reading. I went to Soho, Charing Cross, Hampstead Heath, Belgravia and many more. Just a few of the authors about whom I read were Dickens, Virginia Woolf, and Sylvia Plath. There are many others. The reader’s fictional journey is enhanced by the many photographs that are part of this book.

So, book lovers, take a look when this one comes out. It is a fun read.

Many thanks to NetGalley and the publisher. All opinions are my own.
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I adore London, and I adore books, so I was really excited to pick up an eARC of this read.

It's absolutely well produced; I recommend either a physical copy or reading the e-version on a device that allows you to enjoy the full-color photos available throughout (those ereaders, which I love and prefer, that are not set up for that would unfortunately not do this particular production justice).

The book does begin by highlighting a number of seedier locations and/or more "colorful" sides to some authors (Oscar Wilde, to name just one). This was kind of where I fell off the excitement bus; I'm all too aware of this reality but also don't necessarily/personally need to read about it. :) Again, entirely my preference vis-a-vis the author's. That aside, I enjoyed how the author brought the bookish side of London--a vast treasure trove--to life, and I'll certainly enjoy incorporating components of it in future visits to this fantastic city.

I received an eARC of the book from the publisher via NetGalley. All opinions are my own.
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