We’ve asked a selection of some of our members about the books that they’ve most enjoyed reading over Christmases Past and what they’ve got lined up this year for a spot of festive reading.

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DIANE ATKINSON

Favourite Reads from Christmas Past:

  • A Fortnight in September by RC Sherriff
  • They Were Sisters by Dorothy Whipple
  • Transcription by Kate Atkinson

Reads for Christmas Present:

  • Staring at God, Britain in the Great War by Simon Heffer
  • Rebel Writers by Celia Brayfield
  • There Are Kingdoms, by Kevin Barry

DAISY DUNN

Favourite Reads from Christmas Past:

  • Christmas Puddingby Nancy Mitford
  • Carry on, Jeevesby P.G. Wodehouse
  • Darling Winston: Forty Years of Letters Between Winston Churchill and his Motherby David Lough

Reads for Christmas Present:

  • Crusaders: An Epic History of the Wars for the Holy Landsby Dan Jones
  • Lines Offby Hugo Williams
  • A Christmas Memoryby Truman Capote

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TRAVIS ELBOROUGH

Favourite Reads from Christmas Past:

  • The Santaland Diaries by David Sedaris
  • The Art of Eating by M F K Fischer
  • Reb Kringle by Nathan Englander (in his collection For the Relief of Unbearable Urges), and The Loudest Voice by Grace Paley

Reads for Christmas Present:

  • The Private Life of Lord Byronby Anthony Petrie's
  • The Girl with the Louding Voice by Abi Dare
  • Ghostland: In Search of a Haunted Country by Edward Parnell

HARRIET EVANS

Favourite Reads from Christmas Past:

  • Lanterns Across the Snow by Susan Hill
  • The Nine Tailors by Dorothy L Sayers
  • Christmas at the New Yorker

Reads for Christmas Present:

  • The Girls of Slender Means by Muriel Spark
  • High Rising by Angela Thirkell
  • After the Party by Cressida Connolly

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LISSA EVANS

Favourite Reads from Christmas Past:

  • Ma'am Darling by Craig Brown
  • A Voyage for Madmen by Peter Nichols
  • The Shipping News by Annie Proulx

Reads for Christmas Present:

  • Motherwell by Deborah Orr
  • Spying in Guru Land by William Shaw (re-read)
  • Standard Deviation by Katherine Heiny (re-read)

TOM HOLLAND

Favourite Reads from Christmas Past:

  • The Lord of the Rings by J. R. R. Tolkien
  • Why Can The Dead Do Such Great Things?: Saints and Worshippers from the Martyrs to the Reformation by Robert Bartlett
  • Collected Poems 1945-1990 by R. S. Thomas

Reads for Christmas Present:

  • Dostoevsky: A Writer in his Time by Joseph Frank
  • Reformations: The Early Modern World, 1450-1650 by Carlos M. N. Eire
  • Comet in Moominland by Tove Jansson

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NIKITA LALWANI

Favourite Reads from Christmas Past:

  • Grand Union by Zadie Smith 
  • Late in the Day by Tessa Hadley
  • Amongst Women by John McGahern 

Reads for Christmas Present:

  • Collected Stories by Maeve Brennan 
  • Sleepless Nights by Elizabeth Hardwick
  • Collected Stories by Jean Stafford 

JOHN MCNALLY

Reads from Christmas Past:

  • Father Christmas Goes On Holiday by Raymond Briggs
  • Seasonal Suicide Notes by Roger Lewis
  • Towards the End of the Morning by Michael Frayn

Reads for Christmas Present:

  • Kiss Me Chudleigh: The World According to Auberon Waugh by Auberon Waugh and William Cook
  • Mr Know-It-All: The Tarnished Wisdom of a Filth Elder by John Waters
  • Martin Parr in Wales by Martin Parr

sarah john

GILES MILTON

Favourite Reads from Christmas Past:

  • Elmet by Fiona Mozley
  • The Life and Death of St Kilda by Tom Steel
  • A Short Walk in the Hindu Kush by Eric Newby

Reads for Christmas Present:

  • Lady in Waiting by Anne Glenconner
  • The House by the Lake by Thomas Harding
  • HHhH by Laurent Binet

SARA WHEELER

Favourite Reads from Christmas Past:

  • A Far Cry from Kensington by Muriel Spark
  • My Ántonia by Willa Cather
  • Delta Wedding by Eudora Welty

Reads for Christmas Present:

  • The Other Half: A Self Portrait by Kenneth Clark
  • On Chapel Sands by Laura Cumming
  • The House of Mirth by Edith Wharton

 

The second episode of The London Library Podcast is now live. This month we're delighted to be joined by London Library member and Sunday Times Top Ten bestselling author, Harriet Evans. 

Harriet's book choices include: The Lion, The Witch and The Wardrobe by CS Lewis; The Secret Diary of Adrian Mole, Aged 13 ¾ by Sue Townsend, The Light Years by Elizabeth Jane Howard and I Capture the Castle by Dodie Smith.

The London Library Podcast launched on 18 November 2019 and features a leading writer or figure in the cultural world discussing the books which have shaped them. Each month the guest is in conversation with The London Library’s Director, Philip Marshall and will delve into the Library’s archive and collection to uncover treasured books and nuggets of historical detail about the guest’s book choices.

The London Library Podcast is a celebration of books and the ideas they inspire and a personal love letter from each guest to the books that have been most influential to them.

LISTEN TO THE PODCAST

29 Feb-5 April 2020 at The London Library.

This spring, The London Library is teaming up with Creation Theatre, the company that brought us Dracula, to host an exciting new theatre production.

As The Time Machine celebrates its 125th anniversary, delve into the secret corners of The London Library and travel through time to experience HG Wells’ prescient sci-fi classic as never before. 

Writer Jonathan Holloway reimagines the novel to create a world in which time has fragmented, the present is endlessly shifting and the future is strange and uncertain. This surreal, psychedelic adventure draws on cutting edge research from the Wellcome Centre for Ethics and Humanities to challenge our perceptions and raise important questions about time, society and the nature of human existence.

Innovative audio visual design will transform The London Library’s extraordinary building - where Wells was a member for over 50 years - to create a unique theatrical experience, with audience groups being led by their very own Time Traveller. Expect the unexpected and prepare to be provoked on this journey into the unknown. 

FIND OUT MORE AND BOOK

The London Library Podcast launches today (18th November) and will feature a leading writer or figure in the cultural world discussing the books which have shaped them. The first guest is social historian, author of bestselling The Five and London Library member Hallie Rubenhold.

Each month the guest will be in conversation with The London Library’s Director, Philip Marshall and will delve into the Library’s archive and collection to uncover treasured books and nuggets of historical detail about the guest’s book choices.

The London Library Podcast is a celebration of books and the ideas they inspire and a personal love letter from each guest to the books that have been most influential to them.

Hallie Rubenhold’s book choices are: Little House on the Prairie by Laura Ingalls Wilder; Les Miserables by Victor Hugo; The Family, Sex and Marriage in England, 1600 - 1800 by Lawrence Stone; Clarissa by Samuel Richardson and Fingersmith by Sarah Waters.

As well as discussing these books and what they mean to her, Hallie Rubenhold looks at the reaction to her bestselling The Five, including the trolling she’s received from Ripperologists, the need to tell lost women’s voices from history and gives a glimpse of the history behind the books that have shaped her.

A London Library member Hallie Rubenhold says: “The Library was absolutely essential to writing my three books. I would not be able to manage as a writer without the London Library and I will get on my soapbox and proselytise until the cows come home… Not only does the Library provide a fantastic resource… but also I found the community of writers here is just fantastic.”

From the Library’s collection, Philip and Hallie look at a range of books including a late 19th century edition of Les Misérables with the iconic image of Cosette, which is used on film and theatre posters worldwide and the Library membership form of Lawrence Stone, author of The Family, Sex and Marriage in England, 1600 – 1800 which shows that Stone was a London Library member while he wrote this book.

Philip Marshall, director of The London Library comments; “I’m delighted that we are launching The London Library Podcast. As well as giving us the chance to speak to some brilliant authors, publishers and cultural figures about the books which have shaped their world, we hope through discussing books and historical material in the Library’s collection that it will bring the Library to life for the listener.”

December’s guest will be novelist Harriet Evans and her book choices include: The Lion, The Witch and The Wardrobe by CS Lewis; The Secret Diary of Adrian Mole, Aged 13 ¾ by Sue Townsend, The Light Years by Elizabeth Jane Howard and I Capture the Castle by Dodie Smith.

Other guests lined up to share the books that shaped them include: Rare book expert and actor Neil Pearson; Jacaranda founder and publisher Valerie Brandes, Dhaka Literary Festival Director Ahsan Akbar and Rough Trade’s Nigel House.

The London Library Podcast can be downloaded now on most podcast platforms, or listened to on our website. Episodes are 30 mins long and new episodes will be released in the middle of each month.

 LISTEN NOW

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