Tuesday, 7 August 2012

The Olympics - The Bookish Way

So... What do you do during the Olympics when you are the bookish sort? Plenty.

London is a wonderful city. Buzzing streets, fun hidden corners waiting to be discovered, variety, madness, noise, music, fashion, lush green parks, nightclubs, pubs... In short, a wonderful place to get inspired and moving. Especially when the sun is shining! 

But even the yummiest cake can taste like ash if you eat it too often. When singer Tom Jones found himself bored of his life in London, he decided to fall back in love with the city by exploring something new about it every day. From spotting architectural treasures, dining in the oldest pubs, to enjoying the sunshine in a beautiful garden, Tired of London, Tired of Life is his list of the things you can do to discover and fall in love with the real London all year round. Just a must! 

Talking about exploring, one of the things that I love about England is how many incarnations every old building or place seems to have. It's not uncommon to find out your house was the village shop. After it became the bakery. After it was a small petrol station. Oh yeah! I forgot! It was also the old Post Office. The stories sometimes are fascinating! It makes you realize how you're a small part of a much bigger picture.

London - The Secret History of Our Street talks about the history of London. But it picks a street, like the iconic Portobello Road from the Notting Hill film, and it explores the social changes that have taken place over the years by interviewing people, old and new, who have lived on that street. There is also a BBC Documentary based on this idea and book, which is way worth watching. Find out more about it here.

And, of course, good books don't have to be just for adults! A Walk in London by UK based artist and illustrator Salvatore Rubbino will keep you little ones interested and teach them all about the city hosting the Olympics. 

Carnaby St Book Exchange
But if you read all your books and are looking for something new, why not visit the Carnaby Street Book Exchange, where you can swap the books you have finished for whatever is available and takes you fancy completely free? Not only that, but the Book Exchange is full of tables and comfy seats, so you can grab a coffee nearby, read and people watch from this little corner of heaven. More details here.

Talking about bookshops... I won't state the obvious and go on and on about the amazing bookshops in London, because there are many. But if you must add one of them to your sightseeing list, add Hatchards - the oldest of them all! (read more about it here).

Now, if you must go sightseeing, you can't do it without this - Lisa Stickley London Planner. It's not only a notebook so you can write about being in London and all the things you see, but it also has neat pockets for you to save all your mementos: tickets, maps, flyers, receipts... So when you're a little old person, you can pull it out of the draw and tell your great-grandchildren all about the time you were in London. :)

Now... If you really want to go all out and be very "Olympic"... You cannot go home without these amazing Olympic Museum mini magnetic bookmarks. Unfortunately, the only place I came across them was at the bookshops in the airport. *_*

But if like me, you don't live in London but would like to take a bookish piece of it with you... Why not take home the memories of travelling on a double decker bus with these cool metal bookends by Susan Bradley on the shape of one? Like the city's skyline? You can take it home with you and stare at it every time you need a pen or pencil, if you take this gorgeous pencil holder by Muji. And if you like puzzles, why not build your own black cab (London taxi)?

So there you have it - plenty for bookworms like us to get up to during the Olympics. :)


  1. that's such a cute idea by tom jones! i might get the book for the next time that i'm visitng london; it's always nice to explore new places like a local would!

    1. Oh you need to! I am. They are just simple little things, you know. But they will show you London to its best and most unique and take you to corners you would never venture to if someone didn't tell you they were there. A really good idea, indeed.


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