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Books Set in London

The best books to listen to while visiting London and exploring its streets. Reading the City suggests some great audiobooks for your next trip.

Playlist Tags: audience: anglophiles topic: london topic: brit lit mood: wanderlust

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A Bear Called Paddington


By Michael Bond
Narrated by: Stephen Fry
Length: 2 hours 39 minutes

The classic novel about Paddington—who's now a major movie star!

Paddington Bear had traveled all the way from Peru when the Browns first met him in Paddington Station. Since then, their lives have never been quite the same . . . for ordinary things become extraordinary when a bear called Paddington is involved.

First published in 1958, A Bear...

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A Memory of Violets

A Novel of London's Flower Sellers

By Hazel Gaynor
Narrated by: Nicola Barber
Length: 10 hours 29 minutes

The author of the USA Today and New York Times bestselling novel The Girl Who Came Home has once again created an unforgettable historical novel. Step into the world of Victorian London, where the wealth and poverty exist side by side. This is the story of two long-lost sisters, whose lives take different paths, and the young woman who will be...

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Ritz and Escoffier

The Hotelier, The Chef, and the Rise of the Leisure Class

By Luke Barr
Narrated by: Stefan Rudnicki
Length: 8 hours 38 minutes

In a tale replete with scandal and opulence, Luke Barr, author of the New York Times bestselling Provence, 1970, transports readers to turn-of-the-century London and Paris to discover how celebrated hotelier César Ritz and famed chef Auguste Escoffier joined forces at the Savoy Hotel to spawn the modern luxury hotel and restaurant, where women... Read more »

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White Teeth

A Novel

By Zadie Smith
Narrated by: Lenny Henry, Pippa Bennett-Warner, Ray Panthaki & Arya Sagar
Length: 18 hours 37 minutes

Zadie Smith’s dazzling debut caught critics grasping for comparisons and deciding on everyone from Charles Dickens to Salman Rushdie to John Irving and Martin Amis. But the truth is that Zadie Smith’s voice is remarkably, fluently, and altogether wonderfully her own.

At the center of this invigorating novel are two unlikely friends, Archie... Read more »

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About a Boy

By Nick Hornby
Narrated by: David Case
Length: 7 hours 45 minutes

Now a major motion picture from Universal Pictures.

Will Freeman may have discovered the key to dating success: If the simple fact that they were single mothers meant that gorgeous women—women who would not ordinarily look twice at Will—might not only be willing, but enthusiastic about dating him, then he was really onto something. Single...

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Swing Time

By Zadie Smith
Narrated by: Pippa Bennett-Warner
Length: 13 hours 45 minutes

Swing Time

“In her gracefully written new work, the author of NW and White Teeth addresses the frustrations of family relations, the complications of race, the tyranny of celebrity, and the travesty of cultural appropriation. Smith looks at the fragile threads that tie friends together and how easily they can snap, and her prose flows without effort, granting even the most flawed characters --and there are many -- a modicum of redemption.”

Mac's Back-Books image Peggy Latkovich, Mac's Back-Books
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A Novel

By Zadie Smith
Narrated by: Karen Bryson & Don Gilet
Length: 10 hours 55 minutes

A new novel from Zadie Smith, set in Northwest London


Somewhere in Northwest London stands Caldwell housing estate, relic of 70s urban planning. Five identical blocks, deliberately named: Hobbes, Smith, Bentham, Locke, and Russell. If you grew up here, the plan was to get out and get on, to something bigger, better. Thirty years later...

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By Roald Dahl
Narrated by: David Walliams
Length: 4 hours 25 minutes

“Roald Dahl sometimes shared a tonal kinship with Ogden Nash, and he could demonstrate a verbal inventiveness nearly Seussian…[His] stories work better in audio than in print.” –The New York Times

Captured by a giant!

The BFG is no ordinary bone-crunching giant. He is far too nice and jumbly. It's lucky for Sophie that he is. Had she been carried... Read more »

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Midnight Riot

Rivers of London: Book #1

By Ben Aaronovitch
Narrated by: Kobna Holdbrook-Smith
Length: 9 hours 56 minutes

Probationary constable Peter Grant dreams of being a detective in London's Metropolitan Police. Too bad his superior plans to assign him to the Case Progression Unit, where the biggest threat he'll face is a paper cut. But Peter's prospects change in the aftermath of a puzzling murder, when he gains exclusive information from an eyewitness who... Read more »

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Bridget Jones's Diary

Bridget Jones: Book #1

By Helen Fielding
Narrated by: Barbara Rosenblat
Length: 8 hours 19 minutes

Sunday 1 January: 129 lbs. (but post-Christmas), alcohol units 14 (but effectively covers 2 days as 4 hours of party was on New Year's Day), cigarettes 22, calories 5424. From its beginning as a weekly column in a British newspaper, Bridget Jones's Diary quickly became a best-seller in England. After gaining international popularity, it also... Read more »

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By John Lanchester
Narrated by: Colin Mace
Length: 17 hours 30 minutes

Hailed by the New York Times as an ''elegant and wonderfully witty writer,'' John Lanchester received the Whitbread First Novel Award and the Betty Trask Prize for his critically acclaimed debut, The Debt to Pleasure. In Capital, it's 2008, the height of the financial crisis, and someone is sending anonymous postcards to the affluent residents... Read more »

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Last Orders

By Graham Swift
Narrated by: David Timson, Phil Davis, Sandra Duncan, Simon Slater & Gareth Armstrong
Length: 9 hours 4 minutes


Four men once close to Jack Dodds, a London butcher, meet to carry out his peculiar last wish: to have his ashes scattered into the sea at Margate. For reasons best known to herself, Jack’s widow, Amy, declines to join them . . . On the surface a simple tale of an increasingly bizarre day’s outing, this... Read more »

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The Ballad of Peckham Rye

By Muriel Spark
Narrated by: Wanda McCaddon
Length: 4 hours 3 minutes

The Ballad of Peckham Rye is the wickedly farcical fable of a blue-collar town turned upside down. When the firm of Meadows, Meade & Grindley hires Dougal Douglas (a.k.a. Douglas Dougal) to do “human research” into the private lives of its workforce, they are in no way prepared for the mayhem, mutiny, and murder he will stir up. In fact,...

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A Far Cry from Kensington

By Muriel Spark
Narrated by: Pamela Garelick
Length: 6 hours 7 minutes

Set on the crazier fringes of 1950s literary London, A Far Cry from Kensington is a delight, hilariously portraying love, fraud, death, evil, and transformation.

Mrs. Hawkins, the majestic narrator of A Far Cry from Kensington, takes us well in hand and leads us back to her threadbare years in postwar London. There, as a fat and much admired...

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Mary Poppins

The Mary Poppins Series: Book #1

By P. L. Travers
Narrated by: Sophie Thompson
Length: 3 hours 50 minutes

The timeless story of Mary Poppins, the world’s favorite nanny, and her magical adventures with the Banks family

Mary Poppins is like no other nanny the Banks children have ever seen. It all starts when their new nanny is blown by the east wind onto the doorstep of the Banks house, carrying a parrot-headed umbrella and a magic carpetbag. She...

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By George Orwell
Narrated by: Simon Prebble
Length: 11 hours 23 minutes

Blackstone Audio presents a new recording of this immensely popular book.

George Orwell depicts a gray, totalitarian world dominated by Big Brother and its vast network of agents, including the Thought Police, a world in which news is manufactured according to the authorities’ will and people live tepid lives by rote.

Winston Smith, the hero with...

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Oliver Twist

By Charles Dickens
Narrated by: Wanda McCaddon
Length: 16 hours 8 minutes

One of Dickens’ most popular novels, Oliver Twist tells the story of a young workhouse orphan who escapes into the mean backstreets of Victorian London. There, he is thrust into a den of thieves where some of Dickens’ most depraved villains preside: the incorrigible Artful Dodger, the barbarous bully Bill Sikes, and the terrible Fagin, whose...

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The Picture of Dorian Gray

By Oscar Wilde
Narrated by: Simon Vance
Length: 7 hours 44 minutes

Dorian Gray, a handsome and narcissistic young man, lives thoughtlessly for his own pleasure—an attitude encouraged by the company he keeps. One day, after having his portrait painted, Dorian makes a frivolous Faustian wish: that he should always remain as young and beautiful as he is in that painting, while the portrait grows old in his...

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The Life of Mrs. Winston Churchill

By Sonia Purnell
Narrated by: Susan Lyons
Length: 17 hours 32 minutes

A long-overdue tribute to the extraordinary woman behind Winston Churchill By Winston Churchill's own admission, victory in the Second World War would have been "impossible without her." Until now, however, the only existing biography of Churchill's wife, Clementine, was written by her daughter. Sonia Purnell finally gives Clementine her due... Read more »

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84, Charing Cross Road

By Helene Hanff
Narrated by: Barbara Rosenblat, John Franklyn-Robbins, Jill Tanner, Christina Moore, Simon Prebble, Barbara Caruso & Davina Porter
Length: 1 hours 55 minutes

This charming classic love story, first published in 1970, brings together twenty years of correspondence between Helene Hanff, at the time, a freelance writer living in New York City, and a used-book dealer in London at 84, Charing Cross Road. Through the years, though never meeting and separated both geographically and culturally, they share a... Read more »

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