Ever wanted a book that features all the best European city reading? It’s coming …
Our city-pick series was born on the slopes of the Acropolis ...
True, but very hot.
We wanted a guide book that featured a selection of the best writing on Athens … with a special focus on modern writing and writing in translation.
We searched the bookshops in Athens and London but couldn’t find anything.
So … Oxygen Books’ city-pick series came about.
So far we’ve been to Berlin, Paris, Amsterdam, Venice, Istanbul, Dublin, New York, St Petersburg, and our home city, London.
Kate Mosse has called us ‘brilliant’, The Times ‘superb’, The Sydney Morning Herald ‘sublime’.
The Bookseller wondered why no one had come up with the best writing on favourite world cities before.
We wondered too.
But now city-pick is spawning progeny.
Not born on the slopes of the Acropolis this time, but on our kitchen table.
(Sorry, make that during our Shoreditch start-up’s deep think-tank explorations after warm-up exercises with our TED presenter.)
Why not a book giving the low-down on the best books on all our favourite European cities?
The Rough Guides are great but the book recommendations are at the back and often list-like and a bit short.
Trip Advisor and Goodreads are fine too but it is sometimes difficult to get a proper handle on things.
And none of them tend to be very helpful on more recent novels in translation that everyone going to these cities could be reading.
We’d already written a series for Guardian Travel on the best books on all kinds of popular cities, which seemed a good start.
Prefer your history in the form of a pub crawl story? – we’ve got one (on Prague).
Wish you could have sat down to dinner in Paris with Picasso, Proust, Stravinsky and James Joyce – all at the same table? … Or what it’s like to be really poor in the City of Light? We’ll direct you to the experience in words.
A taste for vampire books and going to Venice? We even have one of those.
We’re passionate about the range and variety of writing about cities.
It’s why we’re currently working on our new book, Reading Europe (provisional title).
Our Arts Council work with loads of book groups and library users have shown us there’s a hunger out there for world writing – and writing about the world.
We’ve already made so many amazing discoveries reading for this book. Step forward please some of our favourites – Marseille’s Jean-Claude Izzo, Prague’s Bohumil Hrabal, and Paris’s Laurence Cossé.
And that’s just for starters.
There are literally hundreds of writers as excellent as these who’ll be included in the book.
Essential reading for your next European city-breaks or for your armchair staycation?
We think so.
And if you've already enjoyed our city-pick series, this could definitely be a book for you!