30 Days – Day #14: A non-Fictional Book

Oh, all right, I’ll play along this time. We can’t all be expected to speak English good, and god knows I’ve made far more egregious typos in my time.

I havered about what to write about here, though. I probably own more non-fiction than fiction, as long as we discount the comics, and are a little generous with the classification of some of the more lunatic bits of occult reference I own. I’ve got journalism, I’ve got reference, I’ve got history, biography, travel, collection of opinion pieces and so on and so forth.

I could spout on about HST, I could bring up the perennial bleak favourite “Dark Heart” by Nick Davies, over a decade old now, and I don’t imagine the problems it’s talking about have magically gotten better, I could even talk about one of the cookbooks I own, and almost never use.

But honestly, the single aspect of my non-fiction collection that brings me the most pleasure is the shelf full of books about London. I know, I know. I think I’ve done pretty well, so far, not banging on about London, but I’ve just made my annual pilgrimage back to Northern Ireland, and after a couple of days in a place that’s at once home and Not London, London is on my mind.

Whenever I pop into my local book store, the first place I gravitate to is the London section. I had to flee the gift shop at The Museum of London, before I had a truly ruinous shopping accident.

What I love is the diversity of books on London. There are histories, both city wide, and localised. There are books charting some trend of other, or the development of some industry. There are guidebooks up guidebooks. There are maps, both ancient and modern, there are histories of maps, there are books about London’s place in some wider context, there are books of photography, poetry and fiction.

Yes, I know they could be found for any big city. Don’t care. London’s the one that’s caught my imagination, and I am delighted that it’s a place that seems to have caught the fascination of so many others, because it means I’m never short of some new non-fiction to read.

I’ll try and be a little less predictable tomorrow.