June 6, 2018

Traveling to London? Read these books, first.

Written by:
Maureen McKamey

Hi, blog readers! One of my favorite things in the whole world, other than travel, of course, is to curl up with a cup of coffee (or a glass of wine) and a good book. So for my fellow bookworms, I've been assembling a list of great books to read based on different travel destinations! My last blog post in this category was on what to read before heading to Paris. (Read it here if you haven't, yet.) So today, I've chosen an equally iconic European city: London! Whether you have a trip to London coming up soon, or it's just on your "must see" list, here are some suggestions for reading material. (It's a great way to kill time on the plane, too!)

Not a big reader? That's OK - I've included some movies and TV shows, as well!

So here's what to read (and watch) before you go "across the pond:"

Fever Pitch by Nick Hornby. Full disclosure...I'm a soccer nut. The Brits are absolutely obsessed, too, though they call it "football," there. Fever Pitch is an autobiography of an Arsenal fan (Arsenal FC, for the un-soccer-initiated, is one of London's Premier League teams). The book intersperses his memories of certain games with the moments he was experiencing outside of soccer at the time. It was made into a movie in the 1990s starring Colin Firth. Don’t confuse it with the 2005 movie of the same name, though. Hollywood took the Fever Pitch plot and decided to make the main character a baseball fan, instead. Huh.

Neverwhere by Neil Gaiman. It’s common for movies and TV shows to be based on books, but Neverwhere is the opposite: a companion novel to a TV series produced by author Neil Gaiman. The book transports readers to a fantasy realm underneath the streets of London.

Mrs. Dalloway by Virginia Woolf. A high-society London woman gets ready to throw a party, and explores the themes of class, sexuality, politics and mental health. The entire book takes place in a single day in post-World War I England.

Movies and TV shows: You could always watch Fever Pitch (the one actually about soccer, not the weird American remake), but if you’re not a sports fan, there are some other options. Looking for a romantic comedy? Notting Hill is set in the London neighborhood of the same name. If you prefer mysteries, go the Sherlock Holmes route. You could watch the 2009 film starring Robert Downey, Jr., or the BBC TV series with Benedict Cumberbatch and Martin Freeman, which transports the detective and his adventures to modern times.

Are any of your favorite books set in London? This is hardly an exhaustive list, and I'd love to hear your suggestions! Happy reading!