London

Back in the eighteenth century, the famous essayist Dr. Johnson said: "When a man is tired of London, he is tired of life, for there is in London all life can afford." Two hundred years later, we tend to agree with him, especially from the traveler's point of view. London is the original melting pot: a city with a culture informed by an imperial history so vast that it draws people and influences from most of the known world. Our selections reflect the London of yesteryear and its proud literary tradition. But they also celebrate the London of today -- a place where the "de facto national food" is chicken tikka masala, where the rich come to play, the ambitious come to seek their fortune, and the wise come to experience all life can afford.

History

London

Peter Ackroyd

The definitive and complete history of London, from the Roman era to today: two thousand years of heraldry and battles and trade and folklore, conveyed through dozens of keen anecdotes, interviews and stories.

Get A Sample
Literary Fiction

Mrs. Dalloway

Virginia Woolf

A classic of English literature. At face value, the story of one woman going about her business on a fine June day in London; in reality, an intimate, luminously realized portrait of love, change and the flawed people against which these concepts have meaning.

Get A Sample
Literary Fiction

Saturday

Ian McEwan

A study of London grappling with the 21st century, London in the recent past, as seen through the eyes of an ageing neurosurgeon who moves about the city on a promising Saturday and encounters a series of unusual disturbances. Spare, elegant prose and weighing in at a svelte 300 pages. Winner of the James Tait Memorial Black Prize for Fiction.

Get A Sample
Literary Fiction

White Teeth

Zadie Smith

One of the most brilliant first novels in recent memory, White Teeth is an electric exploration of modern London and British society, as viewed through the relationship of two wartime friends—a Bangladeshi immigrant named Samad Iqbal and the Englishman Archie Jones—and their families. Included in TIME Magazine's list of Best English-language Novels from 1923 to 2005.

Get A Sample
< Back To City Index