Praise for the city-pick series from Oxygen Books
Brilliant … the best way to get under the skin of a city’ Kate Mosse, author of Labyrinth
'A clever way to get under the skin of
‘I love the series. Great idea!’ Bruce Elder, The Age and Sydney Morning Herald
‘Once in a while someone comes along with a publishing idea so elegant, so simple and so damnably right, that you find yourself struggling to celebrate it for being consumed with the kind of literary envy associated with that great patrician of withering disdain Gore Vidal.
The City-pick series, published by Malcolm Burgess and Heather Reyes' Oxygen Books, is just such an I-wish-I'd thought-of-that revelation. Why not get to know a city through an anthology of excerpts from the work of its writers? But of course!
As well as heavyweights like Woolf, Dickens and Flaubert the City-lit series features contemporary voices like Monica Ali and Julian Barnes. But it's not just the most famous names that feature. The
These delightful tours of the imagination, which include
All of a sudden the traditional travel guide seems a little dull. The Rough Guide and Lonely Planet series have conditioned us to expect certain things: accommodation listings from budget to luxury, the lowdown on the best bars, restaurants and cafes, information on all the obvious sights, and the kind of prose which even makes civil war, poverty and dictatorial government seem as if they were established just to make our trip more interesting.
City-pick offers a more soulful guide to the metropolises of the world in the company of journalists, musicians, playwrights, bloggers and novelists past and present. They are beautifully produced books and can be read from cover to cover or just dipped into. They not only fill you with an intense desire to pack bags and head away, but also to seek out the complete texts from which the extracts are taken.
Oxygen Books is restoring intellectual discovery to travelling, inviting would-be adventurers to view cities as irrepressible compositions of wisdom, wit, conflict and culture, rather than excuses to get the digital camera out and tick off another sight from the list. A very hearty bravo indeed!’ Garan Holcombe, March Book of the Month, The Good Web Guide
‘Heather Reyes and Malcolm Burgess's City-pick series has reinvented the travel guide. Putting practical concerns to one side, the City-pick books introduce travellers to the great urban centres of the world through selected highlights of the work of their writers.’ The Good Web Guide
‘We love the book … They are really brilliantly done – hats off!’ The Explorateur
‘It’s a brilliant idea!’ Chad Post, Three Per Cent
’I have all the volumes you’ve issued so far … a great series’ Maxim Jakobowski
‘The latest addition to this admirable series features the writing of Jan Morris, Thomas Mann, Patricia Highsmith, Donna Leon and others to make any visit to La Serenissima more flavoursome’ Editor’s Pick, The Bookseller for November 2010
‘The most recent addition to the Oxygen Books city-picks series is Amsterdam, edited by Heather Reyes (£8.99), which pulls together a decent clutch of extracts from interesting living writers – Ian McEwan, Geoff Dyer and Simon Schama – waxing incidentally, hedonistically and historically on the Dutch city of sin – as well as snippets from even grander dead scribes, including Smollett, Voltaire and Camus. It’s a canny publishing idea, as Oxygen can show off a top-notch set of writers through short extracts. As a sampler the book works very well – and it certainly provides an eclectic and erudite portrait of a city often caricatured for its coffee and knocking shops – but you may feel frustrated that many texts end just when you’re getting interested.’
‘This latest addition to the excellent ‘city-pick’ series of urban anthologies weaves together fiction and non-fiction, including more than 30 specially translated extracts, to give an intimate portrait of one of Europe’s most distinctive cities. In his introduction, translator Sam Garrett notes that
‘In one of the snippets collected in this engrossing book, Belgian poet Gert can Istendael complains that it takes so much longer to get to
‘The latest clever city-pick compendium of travel writing takes us to
It covers fiction, poetry and the discursive: Ian McEwan and Alain de Botton jostle alongside Camus, Paul Auster and Simon Schama, but there are plenty of less-heard voices present, and many of the locals who appear here have been translated into English for the first time.
Essential – slip it into your bag, alongside a Rough Guide’ Waterstones Books Quarterly
‘Charles de Montesquieu, David Sedaris and Cees Nooteboom walk into a bruin café. It’s not the start of a bad bibiliophile joke, but the portrait painted by a new breed of city guide … It’s a simple idea, presenting a metropolis in all its multifaceted glory through the words of great writers; and it’s one so good it’s astonishing it hasn’t been done before. Split into loosely thematic sections, one of the nicest features of this collection are the 70-plus contributors – novelists, journalists, travel writers – span the centuries. There’s a thoughtful selection of Dutch writers including not only literary heavyweights like Mak, who are widely known in translation, but also lesser-known authors – Meijsing, Stefan Hertmans, Jan Donkers – some of whom are translated into English for the first time. It makes for some delightful discoveries – even for those of us who think we know this city well’ Megan Roberts, Time Out Amsterdam
I have a confession to make: I love travel guides. I have a massive
collection, with a significant section of my bookcase dedicated to them.
Books about places I've been and places I'd like to go; places I've lived
and places that I'd probably prefer to just read about.
But the problem that I've found with most travel guides is that, while they
give you plenty of information about the places to go and things to do in a
particular place, they don't give you much of a sense of the character of
Until now, that is. The editors at City Pick have put together a fabulous
collection of travel writing, about some top European destinations. These
books don't tell you about specific attractions; instead they give you the
flavour of the city, with samples of writing from locals and visitors,
fictional characters and real people, famous writers and those who are less
The City-Pick guide to
of short excerpts from longer works, I found it to be fantastic option for
reading during my morning commute, as I could dip in and out of it easily,
momentarily escaping mentally from the daily grind. But I could also imagine
it to be an excellent choice for a traveller who is about to board a plane
or train to
a fabulous travelling companion.
City-Pick Amsterdam is separated into several themed chapters, covering
everything from the artists of the city and its famous canals, to life in
the city during World War II as well as recent events. This organisation
means you can get a more holistic view of the city - and it's not always
glowing reviews either. No place is perfect and the City-Pick guide gets
into the nitty-gritty details of life in
By the time I finished reading this book, I felt like I had a great
understanding for not just the sights of
see, but also for the history and people that make the city unique.
For anyone who's been to
for those, like me, who haven't yet been, be warned. By the time you finish
reading this book, you'll definitely be thinking about planning a trip; I've
already had a look at flight prices. Travelbite
4.0 out of 5 stars Great idea - well executed, 26 Aug 2010
This review is from:
This is a great idea. All to often I visit a place and find myself chasing down stimulating literature associated with it. The end pages of the 'Rough Guides' are a fine starting point, but this new series of books does more, supplying extracts from a range of writers that evoke a specific place. I learnt a great deal about
Good rival to rough guides, 22 July 2010
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rough guides and Lonely planet, watch out this is a new rival in the block and an excellent novel approach to travel guide books. Highly recommended and seen from various perspectives. Something in thee to suit all types of travellers to this exciting and infectious city.
4.0 out of 5 stars Not lost in translation, 27 July 2010
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This series is pitched and described as a sort of alternative travel book, but it is a very oblique sort of travel book, being more of an anthology of literature around the theme of a city, with a mixture of writing from both well-known and obscure sources. These can be excerpts from novels, histories, letters and diaries - including one of the most famous of all diaries: Anne Frank's.
There are some pieces from very well-known writers like Albert Camus, Simon Schama, Ian McEwan and Voltaire, but a lot of the book is by Dutch writers, many translated into English for the first time. Perhaps surprisingly it was the pieces by the relatively unknown writers that were more engaging.
The book is split into sections with loose themes: the sea and canals, art, the occuoation of WWII, and the famous tolerance of the Dutch and specifically
This is not the place to come looking for hard factual information on what to do, where to stay or where to eat, but rather it wraps you up in the atmosphere of
I think this is a very neat idea executed very well and I'm sorely tempted to try the equivalent books on
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This volume on
A number of writers here were quite new to me and it was particularly good to have in translation extracts from books published in Dutch, some of which have been specially made available for this volume because the originals have as yet not been translated into English.
Highly recommended, not least because taken together City-Pick Amsterdam makes you long to visit this great city.
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The 'City Pick' concept is to dig through all sorts of published writing- novels, biographies, histories, blogs- to find and collect together the best and most evocative written descriptions of the place in question.
Don't think for a moment this is a travel guide as such, it's not. If you're intending to visit, you'll still need one of the usual Lonely Planet or Rough Guide books, as this is totally different.
Each bite-size piece of writing is no more than a couple of pages long. The way they're loosely themed means you often find yourself jumping between a 17th century fiction and 21st century fact and it can be quite disorientating to read more than a few pieces at a time. Many of the extracts are from (and promotions for) full-length books.
It begins with an "I Love
An interesting way to get the flavour of the city, that gives some really interesting background if you're visiting there. Take it as well as, instead of, your guide book of choice.
'Travel should be an enlightening experience, as a new guide book realises.
writers, rather than the usual collection of maps and reviews' KLM
Herald, July 2010.
An innovative literary alternative to your average visitor's potted history or guidebook
The latest instalment in this much-lauded series, city-pick:
Eclectic, challenging and deeply involved in its subject, it takes you to deeper, more diverse places than you could ever hope to go elsewhere. The range of writing on offer here is staggering - juxtaposing Ian McEwan with Tobias Smollet, Anne Frank with present-day 'Dam bloggers. As with all of the series, there's a recognition here (which other literary guides seem slow to pick up) that cities are international spaces these days, and that the stories of those who arrive or leave or pass through are as much part of cities' fabric as their museums, landmarks and famous men.
Thus we have reflections on immigration, chronicles of British hedonists aprowl for fun and games forbidden at home, and Croatian immigrant Dubravka Ugresic evoking the dark side of those pleasures in the streams of trafficked human flesh pouring in from the impoverished societies of the east.
You wouldn't exactly use a city-pick as your guide to a foreign city - as the series' editor says in our interview, it won't tell you how to get to the airport - but if you could only read one book before you went, this would have to be it. Translated Fiction
‘The runway lights of Schiphol lay in the fields like a fallen Christmas tree. I thought: this is where I want to die.
- Marcel Möring‘s sentiments as he returns to Amsterdam from a trip overseas. They’re taken from his book In Babylon, and appear in a new anthology of writing about the Dutch capital – city-pick Amsterdam.
I don’t usually write reviews (no reason why not, I just don’t), but this new book combines two things I really like –
Beginning with Möring’s arrival, this collection guides the reader through the city in the words of over 70 writers. Clive, in Ian McEwan‘s novel Amsterdam, takes us from the airport by train to Centraal Station. We get lost with South African born author, Richard Mason, as he wanders along the Herengracht. And Dirk van Weelden shows us the
Van Weelden’s piece, from his novel The World of 609, is one of several that have been translated especially for this anthology. As well as discovering the city, the editors – Heather Reyes and Victor Schiferli – hope to introduce ‘an often translation-phobic Angolophone readership’ to some highlights of Dutch literature. There are certainly some excellent excerpts from the work of Martin Bril (a personal favourite), Abdelkadi Benali, HM van den Brink and Flemish writer, Stefan Hertmans.
This carefully considered book is divided into sections including Must see…, Art seen in
All 100+ stories are fairly short – most little more than a page long – making it easy to dip into, even for those on a short weekend visit. But this panorama of views from such a selection of world-class writers will surely show born and bred Amsterdammers a new angle on their city.
If I was a tourist, I might like a map showing some of the main highlights mentioned, but then again this isn’t a travel guide. These tantalisingly short snippets might just lead you to discover some writers you might never otherwise have encountered. I’ve certainly got a few new names to look out for the next time I wander through one of the city’s bookshops’ Jim Dowling, Foolish Notions blog
I'm delighted to say that excerpts from my first novel, The Good Thief's Guide to Amsterdam, have been included in City-Pick Amsterdam, an anthology of writing about the city of Amsterdam published by the clever people at Oxygen Books. Oxygen have hit on a brilliant concept by pulling together snippets of writing about a host of great cities - previous locations to benefit from the anthology treatment include Berlin, Paris and London, with Dublin yet to come.
Here's a snippet from the introduction to the anthology, written by Sam Garrett, award-winning translator and
You are staring out of the window, you are crossing a bridge, you are cycling through traffic, when the heavens open. Amsterdam suddenly feels as right as your favourite pair of old slippers, as heartbreakingly beautiful as that lover you once tossed aside during an eclipse of reason.
You wonder whether you will ever have the heart to leave this place. As the writing in this volume proves, this same epiphany has dawned through the long years on the likes of Charles de Montesqieu, Dubravka Ugresic, Alain de Botton, Simona Luff, Chris Ewan and many, many more.
Blimey, I'm in some company. And there's more:
From outsiders to insiders, from classic to cutting-edge, over seventy dazzling writers - some translated into English for the very first time - reveal the many faces, present and past, of this amazing city.
* Ian McEwan describes that perfect
Some of that 'more' includes an excerpt from Paul Auster, one of my favourite authors. To say that hearing about all this made my day is a bit of an understatement, but even if I hadn't been so fortunate, I'd still have been certain to grab a copy as soon as City-Pick Amsterdam hit the shelves, and I hope you might feel the urge to do the same. Chris Ewing, bestselling author of The Good Thief’s Guide to
For a population that barely reaches one million,
‘Last issue we remarked on guidebook publishers’ impressive ability to keep discovering new destinations; this issue they’ve found ingenious new ways to cover familiar ones …by way of cultural primer is the city-pick series, anthologies of literary extracts about Berlin, Paris, London – and now Dublin. Given the Irish capital’s writing pedigree, there’s no shortage of snippets – from Eric Newby to Roddy Doyle – and they’re stitched together smartly to form a hyper-articulate ‘audio guide’ to the city’. Travel guides with a twist.’, The best new guidebooks and travel writing, Wanderlust, April - May
You won’t find pub recommendations or directions to art galleries
in this little guide, but you will get a taste of
important natural resource: stories. By bridget hourican
The cover shows the Custom House,
the Trinity Campanile, the Ha’penny
Bridge, a glass of whiskey (I think), a
pint of Guinness (of course), James
Joyce (of course) and a whole lotta green. Inside
52 writers, ranging from Thackeray in the mid-
19th Century to Orna Ross in 2008, showcase
essays and travel pieces, ranging from a few
lines to fi ve pages.
the Oxygen Books treatment; previously called
‘City-Lits’ (there was a legal wrangle so they’re
now ‘City-Picks’), these British-published
guides view world cities through the words of
native and visiting authors.
format for a travel guide – you don’t get opening
hours for galleries, but you do get reveries by
Nobel Laureates jostling beside blog entries.
So who gets to say what about
Binchy writes about yuppies Sunday-drinking,
Roddy Doyle shows an immigrant’s reaction to
Temple Bar, Iris Murdoch describes run-down
northside Georgian squares, Joseph O’Connor
considers the southside suburbs, and Australian
tourist, Evan McHugh, gets a look at the Floozie
in the Jacuzzi (before they took her away – the
last we heard, she was under tarpaulin in St
Anne’s Park). There’s a section called ‘Streets
Broad and Narrow’, a section called ‘Dubliners’
and a section called (of course) ‘Publin.’ The pint
of plain is very much featured; Pete McCarthy,
who famously went round
fridge and then in search of other McCarthys,
begins his extract: “There’s always a lot riding
on your fi rst pint in
‘riding’ in the American, not Irish sense.)
The selection is wide-ranging – I’m
delighted to see the excellent Keith Ridgway
so well-represented and there is a charming
extract from an American student culled from
a travel blog. It’s all perhaps a little recent
– only one extract is taken from before the
20th Century, and only a quarter are pre-1990.
It’s very much recognisable, contemporary
most readers, but less so those looking for
the Past’ isn’t really taken from past writers
but features contemporary writers’ take on
the past. And there’s the curious absence of
the most famous Dubliner of all. He’s on the
front cover, and four of the extracts are about
him, but James Joyce never gets to talk for
himself. Joseph O’Connor, Brian Lalor, Frank
Delaney and David Norris circle round him,
but he remains muted. The editor explains,
somewhat helplessly, that the task of choosing
a ‘representative’ Joyce passage was hopeless
and impossible. Maybe (probably) she thought
Norris was as good as; maybe (probably) she
couldn’t face the Joyce estate – who would
blame her? Anyway, Joyce makes a good
Banquo’s Ghost at this occasionally delicious,
quirky feast – definitely a tasting menu…
‘The next in this excellent city-pick series, with some 100 plus extracts from a diverse collection of writers’ Sarah Broadhurst Paperback Preview, March, The Bookseller
‘From Sean O’Casey to Anne Enright – the best ever writing on
'Latest in the ingenious little series from Oxygen Books pitched at city-break travellers is published in time for St Patrick's Day on the 17 March. it contains more than 50 of the very best writers on
'A book you can’t miss …The writings of Roddy Doyle, Iris Murdoch and Anne Enright in city-pick
‘The latest in this publisher’s city-pick series (other titles include
Compendium of writings on
let down by glaring omission: James Joyce Dublin
- Fake Afghan town brims with life during wartime
- Bailout has turned us from citizens into serfs
- Now is the time for revolution in the classroom
- Poolbeg waste plant can only be good for Ireland
- APRIL 6th, 1983: Unfed pupils cause problems for schools
- Time for church leaders to be courageous in forging way forward
BOOK OF THE DAY: City-pick. Perfect Gems of City Writing:
IT IS always interesting to read a book about one’s home town, and the prospect of a literary homage is even better. However, it can also be a puzzling and even disappointing experience, with a perspective on the place that is lopsided and barely recognisable.
This compendium is a broadly satisfying selection – it includes contemporary works along with well-thumbed chestnuts – but it has curious fixations and omissions.
The most glaring cop-out is signalled at the beginning: there will be no James Joyce, the most famous
The omission is not because of copyright problems, which can be notoriously difficult with Joyce, but because, according to editor Heather Reyes, “those who love his work do not need it repeated here, while those yet to be persuaded of its great riches and pleasures could hardly be converted by a short extract”. But why not?
So what we have instead is people talking about Joyce. Or writing about him. Or writing about the festival built around him, the Bloomsday celebration. And so once again we hear about straw boaters and pints in Sandycove.
I live in the heart of Joyceland, in Phibsboro, with associations to his life and work everywhere, but you never see a straw boater. What is it about the tourist version that it stops its homage to Joyce in the early sections of Ulysses and parks its satisfied rear on a stool in Davy Byrnes?
It is difficult to satisfy everybody with an anthology like this, but how odd to leave out Joyce and Austin Clarke, the poet laureate of the north inner city, and yet have repeated selections from the likes of Keith Ridgway, and authors such as Colin Irwin and Orna Ross, frankly unknown to me. You know it’s an English production when you get a sentence like this: “
This would have been news to Brendan Behan, Patrick Kavanagh or Flann O’Brien, lauded in their own lifetime.
Still, the value of a selection like this is that it sends you back to the originals and even to Joyce, if you haven’t already read him.
For this purpose, it comes in a tidy size with easy accessibility. The selections are under subject headings such as the past, the people and the pubs, predictably. It also has the merit of including non-fiction, with extracts from Nuala O’Faolain and Pete McCarthy in among selections from Iris Murdoch, Robert Lloyd Praeger and VS Pritchett, who gives us a wonderful account of meeting his hero, Yeats, in Merrion Square and watching while the ageing aesthete, with “Irish practicality”, goes to fling a pot of old tea out the window. This may not be everyone’s cup of the same, but it is a guide, and a legacy, worth dipping into’ Book of the Day, Irish Times
A UNIQUE travel guide, published this week, is planning to show a different side to
Respected author and journalist Orna Ross, who writes the foreword, describes
She says: “This book is like delving into a treasury as there is just so much fantastic writing that has been published about
And she added: “It is a historical, cultural and literary celebration, and I think from reading it people will have a deeper and more enjoyable meeting with both
The timing for this book couldn’t be better as
Oxygen Books is set to publish its next city pick instalment; city pick
Due for a release on March 11th, the new guide will coincide with Dublin
becoming an UNESCO World City of Literature as well as being just in
time for St Patrick's Day.
Vastly different from the usual travel guide, the city pick series
offers first hand writing from a city's brightest wordsmiths and the
With over one hundred extracts from over sixty different writers
including Roddy Doyle, Samuel Beckett and Chris Binchy there will be
plenty of inspiration for exploring the famous streets of the Irish
Elizabeth Bowen's stay at the Shelbourne, how Roddy Doyle pities the
poor immigrant and JP Donleavy's student Dublin are just a few of the
captivating pieces that will guide you through this writers' city.
The guide, introduced by well known journalist and author of 'A Dance in
Time', Orna Ross, opens with her own fascinating perspective and
personal anecdotes of the city, its people and writers and the subject
of literary tourism. Travelbite
This is the latest publication in a new series of literary city travel guides. It is a wide ranging guide divided into themed sections including excerpts from fiction, memoir and travel writing.
We can compare Thackeray’s
There are also reminders of a time not so long ago when fish would be eaten on Fridays and it was hard to find a delicatessen. The final section, ‘All in the past’ covers in just a few extracts some of the critical periods in Dublin’s recent history, from a snapshot by Edward Rutherford of Dublin under the Protestant Ascendancy to the 1916 Easter Rising as described by Kathleen Clarke, the first woman Lord Mayor of Dublin.
I have now been living in
I started reading this guide a few days after finally making it to the Dublin Writer’s Museum in
In a collection such as this it is customary for someone to be picky about what has been included and what left out and I’m afraid I can’t resist one quibble about a missing author. I regret the lack of an extract from Ferdia Mac Anna’s The Last of the High Kings which I recently discovered in a charity shop. The only difficulty I fear, would have been in selecting just one extract to include. I did however particularly like Keith Ridgway’s wonderful evocation of a contradictory Dublin, ‘mother Dublin, culchie Dublin, Muslim Dublin, the wind ripped rain at eleven o’clock in the morning on Pearse Street Dublin, drunken Dublin, hungry Dublin [...] Bono’s Dublin, Ronnie Drew’s Dublin, Bloomsday Dublin [...]’ And in another piece I loved the description of Molly Malone’s breasts as ‘a brace of butternut squash’. I shall never look at the poor woman in the same way again. In our house she has always been known as ‘the lady with the baskets’ thanks to our young daughter, but now I can’t get butternut squashes out of my head thanks to Neil Hegarty. Despite being left with this unfortunate mental image, the guide is well worth a read, even you are not planning a trip to
© Chris Mills March 23rd 2010
cdmillsratel at hotmail.com
‘The city-lit series, which launched earlier this year with collections of writings on Paris and London, sees Berlin launched in November to coincide with the 20th anniversary of the fall of the Berlin Wall. With an introduction by Rory MacLean, this collection of writings from Christopher Isherwood to David Bowie on a popular tourist city is surely set to sell well in paperback at £8.99’ Elspeth Henderson, Foyles Travel Buyer, Travel Bookseller July 2009.
‘A gem … an elegant, enjoyable and essential book’ – Rosie Goldsmith, BBC Radio 4
‘This wonderful anthology explores what it is really like to be a Berliner by bringing together extracts about the city from a range of genres, including some specially translated. This was the city of
‘City-Lit Berlin gathers more than a hundred extracts from writers on aspects of Berlin’s conflicted heritage … the editors have trawled widely to try to capture the modern city’s rule-bound yet permissive tone, as well as its persistent state of cultural and architectural renewal. The result is an eclectic pillow-book … a stimulating intellectual tour of the idea of the city that would complement any guidebook’s more practical orientation’ – Financial Times
‘A new kind of literary travel guide where the reader can find snatches of literature relevant to
‘A fascinating cornucopia of Berlin writing by authors such as John Simpson, Ian McEwan and Anna Funder; artists such as David Bowie and Marlene Dietrich, and writers such as Jeffrey Eugenides, Philip Kerr and Thomas Pynchon. The beauty of this clever series is the breadth and reach of its contributors, be they artists, musicians, musos or writers – in turn, each lays claim to the city.
Many were inspired by the Wall coming down, the inventive vibe, or simply the cheap rents – all took ease in the bohemian exuberance the city offered up. This collection of writing gives a flavour to a city that has long nurtured its artists, giving them space to create, whether for one week or a lifetime’ – Caroline Eden, Real Travel Magazine, Winter 2009.
‘Although there are plenty of old favourites such as Christopher Isherwood, Alfred Döblin and Len Deighton, the emphasis of the book is on unexpected vantage points and new, less familiar voices. So there is no dutiful trot through the city’s history “from earliest times to the present day”, but instead themed sections which try to get under the skin of the city.’ George Miller, Podularity
‘Another in this sterling series of city-writings compilations, this one follows the pattern of short excerpts gathered into chapters, that this time vary from the arbitrarily-themed to the perfect. The simplest one is also the most gripping: it's called 'The past is another country', but don't let that put you off. Its well-chosen pieces take you through
‘A welcome contrast to the many formulaic travel guides in print and online, City-Lit Berlin reveals the city as seen through the eyes of 60 writers of all description – from novelists such as Christopher Isherwood and Ian McEwan to local bloggers like Simon Cole, reporters (Kate Adie), historians (Peter Gay) and untranslated German writers, including Inka Parei, whose novel Die Schateenboxerin (The Shadow-Boxing Woman) captures the volatility of Berlin in the Nineties, just a few years after the Wall collapsed. We keep David Bowie company as he cycles around the city, and contemplate Marlene Dietrich’s grave in a volume that has greatly enriched the field of travel books.’ Ralph Fields, Nash Magazine
I was looking at the three books together on our table and thinking what an incredibly strong project it’s turned out to be, you should both be very proud. We’ll always keep the piles stocked nice and high.’ Max Porter, Manager Daunts Bookshop
‘I love this book’ Vivienne Archer, Newham Bookshop
‘Beyond edifying’ Juliet Kinsman, Mr and Mrs Smith Guides
‘There’s a lot of buzz in blogland about the forthcoming city-lit
“… a superb selection from more than 60 writers. It’s like having your own iPad loaded with different tomes, except that this slim anthology contains only the best passages, bite-sized chunks just perfect to dip into as you sip that pastis in a pavement café.’ The Times
‘An attractive-looking list of destination-based literature anthologies. City-lit
‘An inviting new series of travel guides which collects some of the best writing on European cities to give a real flavour of the place ... Such an idée formidable, it seems amazing that it hasn’t been done before’ – Editor’s Pick, The Bookseller
‘There should be something for everyone – an ideal gift’ – Travel Bookseller
‘It’s a great idea’ – Judy Piatkus, entrepreneur and founder of Piatkus Books
‘Brilliant ... the best way to get under the skin of a city. The perfect read for travellers and book lovers of all ages’ – Kate Mosse, bestselling author of Sepulchre
‘An essential guidebook ... It maps the
'Whether you’re a newcomer to Paris or a die-hard aficionado, this gem of a book will make you think of the city in a completely new way... it also boasts an impressive introduction from long-term Paris resident and author of the Merde series, Stephen Clarke.' - Living
‘What is the real
‘Go to any bookshop and the shelf labelled ‘
‘Francophiles may wish to check out this guide to your favourite locations in
armchair and find out where to find the best hot chocolate in all of
‘A great and eclectic set of writings ... an original book on
‘It’s terrific ... all the best writing on this complex city in one place’ – Professor Andrew Hussey, author of
‘The ideal book for people who don’t want to leave their minds at the airport’ – Celia Brayfield, author of Deep
‘A breath of fresh air ... Each volume offers what it says on the tin: city-lit – Perfect Gems of City Writing. With freshly-commissioned introductions for each book’ -Mslexia
'The perfect books for the armchair traveller as well as those of you visiting cities around the globe ..' Lovereading April Book of the Month
'Tomorrow sees the launch of an interesting new series of books called city-lit. Each volume is themed around, and includes writing about, a particular city.
Things kick off with
'Charming collection of writings about the French capital with an introduction from Stephen Clarke (A Year in the Merde) and featuring contributions from writers as diverse as Marcel Proust, Jean Rhys, Gustave Flaubert, Simone de Beauvoir, Kate Mosse and Joanne Harris.’ The Bookseller
‘When is a travel guide not a travel guide? When it’s a City-lit guide - supremely readable and full of wonderful holiday ideas for your next city break in
Get under the skin of
Excerpts from the work of over sixty writers will make you see
From Chocolat author Joanne Harris, Kate Mosse and Julian Barnes to Irene Nemirovsky, Proust, Claude Izner and blogger Petite Anglaise, this unique travel series offers perfect gems of city writing.
Gertrude Stein on the origins of the croissant ... Franz Ferdinand’s Alex Kapranos on eating out in Paris ... Kate Muir on red shoes in the Musee Rodin ... Agnes Poirier on the lure of the Paris cafe ... Victor Hugo on the view from the top of Notre-Dame ... and much, much more.
When it comes to
From bestselling novelists and literary types to journalists and non-fiction writers, city-lit
Will Self gets inside the head of a
Barbara Cartland takes us to a
These slim volumes are easy to read and offer perfect holiday inspiration, even for those who have visited
The City-lit series is published by Oxygen Books and city-lit
‘city-lit books are a new kind of travel guide, showing a city through the eyes of writers new and old. The
Visitors wanting a literary guide to
The usual suspects are there, yes, as it would be impossible to try to get under the skin of
Mike Gerrard, bestselling author of Dorling Kindersley’s Top Ten Paris Guide on Suite 101.com (one of the world’s leading on-line magazines reaching 15 million people a month)
Waterstones website: Bookseller review
"From the lead singer of Franz Ferdinant to the author of Les Miserables, each of the writers in this book has something wonderful to say about the city of lights. Covering everything from croissants o Chanel, its all in here."
'The latest offering in this impressive little series, which also includes Paris, Berlin, Amsterdam and Dublin, concentrates on the spirit of London as seen through the eyes of an eclectic selection of writers. Part of the joy of this collection is that the writers span several centuries, which means that multiple faces of
‘For some time now, small publisher Oxygen has been producing the excellent city-lit series, which uses descriptions of a city penned by writers, both living and dead to illuminate the metropolis in question. The most recent is
‘The second volume in this enticing new series includes extracts from the work of 60 wonderfully diverse writers, including Will Self, Monica Ali, Alan Bennett, Dostoyevsky, and yes, Barbara Cartland (writing about a West End ball) – Editor’s Pick, The Bookseller
‘The subjects in this anthology are as varied as the shape of Londoners’ bottoms – which are discussed at one point – but within a book that includes both Barbara Cartland and Dostoyevsky lies a paradox: the city known by everyone is nonetheless unknown by its inhabitants’ Time Out
‘See the wonders of your city through new eyes with city-lit
‘For those visitors to London who seek to do more than bag Big Ben and Buckingham Palace this is the ideal guide, a collection of writings that expose not only the city’s secret places but its very soul. The topography, culture and unquenchable spirit of this extraordinary city are brought sparklingly to life by some the finest writers imaginable, past and present, among whom I am proud to be included. I can’t imagine a more perfect travelling companion than this wonderful anthology.’ Clare Clark, author of The Great Stink
‘This treasure trove of a book consists of a diverse collection of literary excerpts that provide a unique way to explore the ever-changing landscape of the city through the voices of those that know it intimately’ – Rachel Lichtenstein, author of On
‘Whether you are visiting or simply want to read interesting literature about one of the greatest cities in the world pick up a city-lit guide and be transported away. Let Will Self take you in to the mind of a London cabby or experience a shopping trip on Oxford Street with Virginia Woolf, Dostoyevsky takes a stroll down the Haymarket and Joseph Conrad takes a look at the Thames. See
‘What I like is there’s more contemporary writing than in most books of this sort – there’s just one extract from Dickens, but lots of unexpected pleasures, including the opening of London Belongs to Me, which I’m reading at the moment’ Peter Matthews, The Museum of London
‘We can't declare it with absolute certainty, but it's a fair bet that Dame Barbara Cartland and Diamond Geezer have never before snuggled up between the same covers. City-Lit London, out this week from Oxygen Books, places these strange bedfellows alongside Will Self, Virginia Woolf, Alan Bennett and sixty others in a frenzied orgy of
turning; and the non-chronological pick and mix of styles and periods brings the book to life in a way not seen in similar volumes.
Jumping through time and space in this way allows comparison of different authors on a similar theme. In the Thames chapter, for example, Sukhdev Sandhu silky prose blows the stodgy Joseph Conrad out of the water, while the subtle belles-lettres of Iain Sinclair contrast with the no-nonsense fact flourishing of Ed Glinert. And it's hard not to fall in love with Virginia Woolf when she's chopped into manageable chunks.Matt Brown, Londonist
From Heathrow to
Writers including Virginia Woolf, Alan Bennett, Will Self, Jan Morris, Peter Ackroyd, Ruth Rendell and Monica Ali describe
The city-lit Series
The city-lit books are new kinds of travel anthologies, which started with Paris, and now
As an example of how wide-ranging these city-lit anthologies are, the section on London Transport ranges from Henry James to the blogger, Diamond Geezer. Here too are Muriel Spark, with an extract from A Far Cry from Kensington, H.G.Wells and Kipps, Iris Murdoch, Will Self, and the wonderful Alice Thomas Ellis – an eclectic collection of authors indeed.
The only omission this reviewer noticed from the impressive list of contributors was The Diary of a Nobody, that classic about the north
'The latest to the now five-strong series includes extracts from the writings of Simon Schama, Albert Camus, Ian McEwan and John Irving' Caroline Sanderson, Pick of May Non-fiction titles, The Bookseller
'The publication of this series last year heralded the arrival of some genuinely interesting destination anthologies that pulled together the best writing by authors both dead and alive. Two new additions to the collection include city-pick
‘The fifth in this great series of learning about a place through literature. Some 60 authors contribute to this one’ Sarah Broadhurst, May Paperback Preview, The Bookseller.
‘city-lit is the guide book series that’s taken Europe by surprise … Much of the appeal of city-lit series lies in the diverse choice of literary nuggets, which combine to form an overall if unconventional view of the metropolis in question.’ Ed Peters,