Wednesday, 23 April 2014

World Book Night No.8

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.






SS-GB
Len Deighton (1978)


As a Londoner Len Deighton always gives the Big Smoke a leading role in his works. Whether it’s in his anti-Bond spy novels told by a nameless narrator (“Harry Palmer” in the movies, The Ipcress File, etc) or his highly personal and utterly fascinating work of non-fiction London Dossier (1967), the capital features as a character in her own right. In SS-GB, his “alternative history” novel set in 1941, London is seen as never before – or rather, as never was. And it is a chilling view. The SS are in residence at Scotland Yard; King George is in the Tower; Churchill has been executed. London is in ruins. And the details in the bomb-blasted backdrop are vivid and startling to any Londoner. In one scene, our hero, D.I Archer (now in the employ of the SS) takes a short cut into Soho through the wreckage of the Palace Theatre – meanwhile, the Metropole music hall on the Edgware Road is still standing. In perhaps the most delicious detail, Archer drives both ways along the (now strictly one-way) Tottenham Court Road. These snapshots of an alternative London leap out of a characteristically compelling Deighton narrative, buttressed by his trademark meticulous period research. In the year after Ian Fleming’s centenary, why not commemorate Len Deighton’s 80th birthday year by flicking through the pages of this his most memorable London novel. (The edition shown is the 1980 Panther paperback.)

See The Palace Theatre in all her glory with Richard III or Peter G on the regular Sunday Sizzling Soho Pub Walk.


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.









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