Friday, May 29, 2009

Listing Things to Love About London

This charming book, The Book of Lists London by Nick Rennison is chock full of interesting facts about London past and present. There are 9 sections in the book: buildings and streets, people, crime, London past, London present, London in literature, the arts, sports (most of which was totally unfamiliar to me, i.e., "5 All London FA Cup Finals"), and my personal favorite "miscellany."

There are some basic listings of facts, such as "26 Sports to be Featured at the 2012 London Olympic Games," but most of the lists contain explanatory detail that makes the reader want to learn even more. For instance, one of the lists in the "miscellany" section, "9 London Firsts," contains the extraordinary fact that in the 1930s, a young woman named Phyllis Pearsall got up at 5:00 am every morning and walked nearly 18 miles a day compiling the first London A-Z street guide. Naturally, when the finished product was ready, no publisher was interested. Undaunted, she delivered copies herself using a wheelbarrow to W.H. Smith. And the rest is history! I am fascinated at the determination and organization it must have taken to complete the task. I just have to wonder what in the world drove her to start. Was she lost one too many times? Were there streets in opposite ends of the city with similar names to which she was always being incorrectly directed? I hope she finally was able to profit from all her hard work, since the guide is such a popular book.

The rest of the topics in the book are just as interesting and cover many aspects of London. I hope there will be a follow up guide or a new edition eventually with even more London trivia!

Final verdict for The Book of Lists London: Five Gherkins, for being a handy guide to interesting London lore

2 comments:

Michelloui said...

I love books like this--great for handing to the guests when they arrive, or giving to fellow anglophiles! thanks for the post, its good to hear about this book.

Lisanne624 said...

Yes, Michelloui, loads of interesting information in a small package! :)

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