In this city of royals, where high fashion meets medieval history, and art, architecture, international cuisine, avant garde cocktails, performance artists and immigrants all collide, you find the London that always evades your efforts to pin it down, without disappointing your highest expectations.

High Fidelity
by Nick Hornby

pianoAlthough John Cusack may have infiltrated our impressions of High Fidelity, before it was a movie, it was a British book, and one that spoke to an entire generation in a knowing and intimate way. Nick Hornby’s novel captures something essential about relationships, desire, and, well…the awesomeness of music. Hilarious, smart, and true to life in so many ways, this book makes it high on our favorites list.

Neverwhere: A Novel
by Neil Gaiman

pianoYou never know how your good deeds will pay off. For Richard Mayhew of Neil Gaiman’s urban fantasy novel, Neverwhere, the rewards are unimaginable. After helping a bleeding young girl in distress, everything changes. From this single act of kindness ricochets an adventure into the underworld—a London below the surface—where existence takes on a new guise, and the strange becomes normal in the twisted depths of the city.

Absolute Beginners
by Colin MacInnes

pianoIn this pre-Mod, youth-fueled romp into the world of 1958 London, Colin MacInnes takes the reader for a whirl through the delirious days of Jazz music, race riots, and teenage culture as it becomes a new economic force. Absolute Beginners captures the social upheaval of the moment in a way that remains relevant all these years later.

by Keith Waterhouse

pianoKeith Waterhouse serves it up rare with Soho, a funny, quick-paced novel about sex, murder, shady characters, and one of the most eccentric quarters in London. In hot pursuit of his wayward girlfriend, Alex Singer tumbles into an adventure that calls up from the depths drag queens, drunkards, and undesirables. And along the way, we become addicted to the witty, cynical, and insightful language of this amazing storyteller.

84, Charing Cross Road
by Helene Hanff

pianoToday, it’s hard to imagine writing letters for any reason at all, but 84, Charing Cross Road is just that, a collection of letters between Helene Hanff and Frank Doel, buyer for an antiquarian bookshop. From New York to London over the course of 20 years starting in 1949, a poignant, philosophical, and witty correspondence ensues. The book is a glimpse into the birth of an epistolary friendship, at once private and worldly.

Night Haunts: A Journey Through the London Night
by Sukhdev Sandhu

pianoA beautiful meditation on the night and an attempt to restore to the dark streets of London an air of mystery, intrigue, and reverence, Night Haunts is an absolutely unusual book. Sukhdev Sandhu is tasked with spending a handful of months chronicling his impressions of London at night. What he produces is poetic. In this ode to the nocturnal urban dwellers, Sandhu opens our eyes to the things that happen when we’re asleep.