Monday, October 1, 2018

London Books

London Books

My impressions of London were formed by turning the pages of books.  So much so that when I traveled there for the first time, years ago, I expected all the streets to be as leafy as Cherry Tree Lane, the fog as thick as outside the sash windows of 221B Baker Street and each morning as "fresh as if issued to children on a beach".  I wanted to look for the shadow of Peter Pan in Kensington Gardens and inspect every wardrobe in every hotel room in the hopes of finding an entrance to Narnia.  And you know what?  I have never once been disappointed.  As Helene Hanff put it in her book 84 Charing Cross Road, "I remember years ago a guy I knew told me that people going to England find exactly what they go looking for.  I said I'd go looking for the England of English literature, and he nodded and said: 'It's there'."

I just returned from another trip to London, a personal reward for finishing an important task I'd set for myself and one that has kept me away from this blog for awhile.  I traveled solo, which is something I'd recommend for every person to do every now and then.  The solo traveler gets to do precisely what he or she wishes every minute of the day, whether it be skipping lunch, walking too far and too long, or spending inordinate amounts of time in book shops, all of which I regularly did.

London in the month of September is just about as good as it gets.  The air was suitably crisp in the mornings ( I could wear a sweater which is increasingly, sadly, becoming a rare September occurence in the changing climate of my home town ), and the afternoon sky was the colour of flow blue china.  I wandered through Kew Gardens in the early morning hours.  I went to see Harry Potter and the Cursed Child at the Palace Theatre.  I attended evensong at Westminster Abbey and roamed the state rooms of Buckingham Palace.  And I spent long, totally blissful, hours at John Sandoe Books.

I thought some of you just might like to see the books I brought home.  And yes, it took a special sort of creativity to pack all these in my one carry-on bag for the return trip and, yes, that bag was heavy.  Extremely so.  But boy, was it worth it.  I hope you enjoy browsing through my choices.

1.  Edith Sitwell
by Richard Greene

2.  The Diary of a Nobody
by Weedon Grossmith and George Grossmith

3.  Manderley Forever
A Biography of Daphne du Maurier
by Tatiana de Rosnay

4.  A Talent to Annoy
Essays, Journalism & Reviews
by Nancy Mitford

5.  The Pursuit of Love
by Nancy Mitford

6.  Love in a Cold Climate
by Nancy Mitford

7.  Wigs on the Green
by Nancy Mitford

8.  The House in Little Chelsea
by Clare Hastings

10.  Transcription
by Kate Atkinson

11. Ninety-Nine Glimpses of Princess Margaret
by Craig Brown

12.  Lethal White
by Robert Galbraith

13.  Nina Campbell 
Interior Decoration/Elegance and Ease
by Giles Kime


Also, for all of you who might be wondering about Andrew, he's now ten months old and seventy-something pounds.  Here's a little video of him reveling in his favourite activity, flying.
You can see more of London of Andrew, and many various and sundry things on my Instagram page.


  1. Pamela - how lovely to see you again! I haven't been to London in about 20 years, so I am long overdue. Nor have I curled up with a really good book in a while either. Your trip and reading list have inspired me to do both. Thank you for the post.

    Lisa D.

    P.S. Andrew is remarkable!

  2. Lovely to catch up with you again Pamela - as usual your book choices are fascinating.

  3. Welcome back Pamela! I have missed you although follow on Instagram and find your posts inspirational and comforting. Love your book choices, just what I would choose in the main. My heart and spirit both reside in England. I grew up in Sussex and left with my parents in 1965 aged 13 to emigrate to Australia. After over 50 years I am still English!

  4. Thank you so much for sharing the books you recently bought in London. I always like reading your suggestions and have found some great books over the years thanks to you. I also found John Sandoe Books due to previous posts. And how gorgeous is Andrew and his flying.

  5. I've been missing you. Glad you had a smashing visit to Blighty. Let me know if you ever make it to the middle of my country, perhaps to see Chatsworth? I'd love to take you round. I first discovered your blog when I worked at the Bloomsbury country house Charleston and now I work at Chatsworth Derbyshire. Your musings are always a delight and so uplifting.

  6. Glad that all went well. September is always a wise choice - whether London or Scotland . Peachtree Road Methodists were singing at Westminster Abbey Evensong in August. How Emory is that ?

  7. Wonderful post and it is great to see Andrew enjoying himself!

  8. I've only just stumbled upon your blog. What a great pile you have brought home. The Du Maurier book fascinates me as well as several others. My lists continue to grow. Such is life as reader. Enjoyed the visit.

  9. Lovely offering of books! I've always been a fan of English authors, from the childhood reading of Edith Nesbitt to Sherlock Holmes. Thanks for the suggestions above.

  10. What a super selection of books! Glad you had a wonderful trip!

  11. Hello from a friend across the pond. We were in your area this June and had a delightful trip tooling around the area. I, too, love English authors in fact I have read a few of the ones you favor.



  12. Thank you so much for taking my novel home with you :) I do hope you enjoy reading it, and for spreading the word across the pond best Clare Hastings


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