Wednesday, 23 April 2014

World Book Night No.12

Tonight is World Book Night.


World Book Night is an annual celebration of reading and books which takes place on 23 April. It sees passionate volunteers give hundreds of thousands of books away in their communities to share their love of reading with people who, for whatever reason, don’t read for pleasure or own books.

It is run by The Reading Agency - the charity with a mission to give everyone an equal chance to become a reader. Because everything changes when we read.

In the UK 35% of people don’t regularly read despite reading for pleasure being a globally recognised indicator in a huge range of social issues from poverty to mental health.

World Book Night is about giving books and encouraging those who have lost the love of reading – or are yet to gain it – to pick up a book and read. Line by line, paragraph by paragraph until they too have discovered the power of reading and the opportunities in life that reading can open the door to.

For World Book Night events in London visit the World Book Night Website www.worldbooknight.org





To mark the occasion, we're reblogging 24 classics (one every hour!) from our London Walks Reading List series…




The Great London Reading List! Essential London books that Londoners take away on holiday to remind them of home… books visitors should read before arriving in London… fact, fiction, poetry, all genres welcome. If you’re in the mood to recommend a great London bookshop, too, we’d love to hear it!  All suggestions to the usual address, please, or leave a comment below or get in touch via Twitter @londonwalks.





The Rats (1974)
By James Herbert

My goodness, the Tourist Board people are going to HATE this post… high season in London and here’s the London Walks Blog covering the most gruesome and shockingly memorable London-set horror novel of all time.

Before you’ve even opened the thing, the title has the heart racing: The Rats. It plugs directly in to one of mankind’s most primal fears: and in a London context it sends historical shivers down the spine resonating back to 1665 and the Great Plague.

But a good title is nothing without a strong tale, and Herbert has fashioned a gripping narrative enhanced greatly by a vivid backdrop of a crisis-torn London.

All this and we haven’t even mentioned the giant, man-eating black rats.

Upon its publication the book attracted great criticism for its graphic scenes – but with nearly 40 years hindsight, Herbert can be seen as the man who brought British horror fiction out of the 19th Century drawing room/stately home/haunted castle and in to the streets of the 20th Century.

The exhilarating terror of the piece is timeless. The context is both very much of its time of writing (1974) and deeply Millennial. Its dystopian vision of a London failing to deal with a crisis places it firmly in the tradition of post-apocalyptic movies and TV of the period (the BBC’s Survivors, Hollywood’s The Omega Man). Looking forward, it is hard to imagine the conception of recent horror/disaster movie 28 Days Later without Herbert’s disturbing tale. Just like that movie, the desolate London scenes haunt the memory for long years after. The scenes on the tube train will stay with you forever. Be afraid. No, really. We’re not kidding. Be VERY afraid.



World Book Night falls on the 450th anniversary of Shakespeare's birth. To mark the occasion, here's the BRAND NEW London Walks Podcast, Shakespeare & London…









A London Walk costs £9 – £7 concession. To join a London Walk, simply meet your guide at the designated tube station at the appointed time. Details of all London Walks can be found at www.walks.com.









Bookmark and Share

No comments:

Post a Comment