Daily Bookshot: Whoop and Shout, it’s London and Paris

I’ve been rushing around like a demented hamster for most of the day so when I finally got home this evening I was feeling a bit rundown and bleurgh!. My spirits were lifted instantly though when I opened one of the book packages that was awaiting me. It was my Oxygen Books order, containing two of the city-lit editions that I’d discovered last week, and instantly fell in love with.

I wasn’t expecting this order until after the 16th because city-lit: LONDON isn’t released until then. However Malcolm Burgess (head honcho of Oxygen Books), received an advanced delivery from the printers, and so he rushed city-lit: LONDON off to me, along with the other title I’d ordered – city-lit: PARIS. How awesome is that? Thanks for that Malcolm. Top marks for customer service!

First impressions on the city-lits then? Summing it up as succinctly as possible – Wahoo!

I’ve only had a quick flick through these two titles but they appear to be all I’d hoped for and more. Inside each are 60+ ‘literary snapshots’ of the featured city, ‘snapshots’ from a real cosmopolitan mix of writers whose writing periods range from the nineteenth-century to the present day.

In the Paris edition I see writings from Proust, De Maupassant, Hugo, Orwell, De Balzac, and even Hans Christian Anderson, and I’m not even scratching the surface. In the London edition, to name a few – Will Self, Atwood, Woolf, Huxley, Conrad, and surprising (to me) Dostoyevsky. Editor Heather Reyes looks like she’s one heck of a busy bee to have come up with all of these.

What I also love about these ‘literary snapshots’ is that they’re arranged in related chapters. So the Paris edition for instance has a chapter called ‘Le Menu’ which is about Parisian dining, and the London edition has a chapter headed ‘London Transport’, which is pretty self-explanatory.

So I thinking these are going to be a real delight to read and I look forward to diving in. The hardest bit is how to fit these into my already packed reading schedule, but as the saying goes – "where there’s a will…..". Expect to hear me speaking about these often.

Oh one last thing- any recommendations for the best London & Paris street maps to pick up? When I’m reading these I’m planning on putting everything in to context by checking out the locations being spoken about, and before anyone mentions Google Maps I’d like to do this ‘old school’, away from the computer.

city-lit PARIS | Oxygen Books | February 2009 (UK) | £8.99 | PAPERBACK | 218 PP | ISBN 978-0955970009

city-lit LONDON | Oxygen Books | June 2009 (UK) | £8.99 | PAPERBACK | 250 PP | ISBN 978-0955970054

About Rob

Rob, a self-confessed bibliophile, is without any hope of rehabilitation. He gets unnaturally excited over anything book-shaped, and if book sniffing were a crime then he would have been locked up years ago (which wouldn't bother him in the slightest provided his cell was lined with books).


  1. Malcolm kindly sent me a PDF version of the London title, but I’ve already decided I’m going to buy a hard copy edition because it looks like a brilliant book. Glad to hear you’re impressed with your copies.

  2. Rob (Twitter: robaroundbooks)

    Ah..preferential treatment eh? Only joking. Glad you’re going for the ‘hard copy’. It really looks like something special. Still smiling to myself at the brilliance of the idea.

  3. These looks like wonderful books! Especially for those who are actually close enough to visit the cities regularly–but even for those of us across the pond, it’d be a great source of armchair travel.

  4. Rob (Twitter: robaroundbooks)

    Not often I truly believe in a series of books without reading them too deeply, but Ali these city-lits just feel so right from the outset, and a quick hour with them at breakfast this morning seems to confirm that. Too early to be totally sure of course, but early indications are good.