Review policy

I am very happy to review any novel that fits in with the theme of this blog: novels aimed at 9-14 year olds, preferably with a fantasy/ speculative world setting. However, I will make clear in the review that I was sent the book by the publisher and I will write my honest opinion. Please feel free to contact me via Twitter or Facebook, or fantasticreads at gmail dot com.

London Literary Links

Libraries
The British Library Only people with a Readers Ticket may use the reading rooms, but there are events and free exhibitions to visit, and tours.
The London Library The world's largest private subscription library. It's a fascinating place; Carlyle, Darwin, George Eliot and others were members and there are tours every Monday at 7pm. It's situated in St James, where the private gentlemen's clubs are.
The Sherlock Homes Collection, Marylebone You have to phone to book access, but it's well worth doing
Kensal Rise Library Opened by Mark Twain in 1900, this beautiful local library is under threat of closure.

Museums and places of interest
Charles Dickens Museum A great little museum, with frequent exhibitions. I love to do the walk that Oliver Twist does on his arrival in London. It takes you through Saffron Hill area, near the Italian Church (if you do this on a Saturday you may see a beautiful wedding) and the Hatton Gardens diamond quarter.
Museum of Childhood At the moment there is an exhibition of Judith Kerr's picture book work; but there are frequently book related exhibitions. I also love to visit the Merrythought Bears; I had one of these, sadly now eaten by moths.
Imperial War Museum If you are in London before 20th August, make sure you visit the Once Upon a Wartime exhibition
Westminster Abbey Poet's Corner is the burial and memorial place of many writers. Bear in mind that this is a place of worship. Sunday is not a good day to visit! Check the website for times of services as access may be restricted.
Highgate Cemetery, burial place of, amongst others, Karl Marx, George Eliot, Stella Gibbons and Christina Rossetti
Kensal Green Cemetery, burial place of Thackary and Trollope

Bookshops
London is a fantastic place for book shopping.
South Bank Book Market, a great selection of second hand book
Cecil Court, off Charing Court Road Home of rare and Antiquarian bookshops, including Goldboro books, crime specialist
Hatchards of Piccadilly A booksellers since 1797, it is now part of the Waterstones chain. Not recommended for people with baby buggies or mobility problems, but a great selection, often signed, and some of the poshest shop assistants ever.
Foyles, Charing Cross Road There are now other branches, and it has lost its former idiosyncracy, but with the loss of Grant and Cutler and other shops based in Westminster due to the outrageous leases and rates, let's be thankful it survives at all.
Daunt books The Marylebone branch has a beautiful Edwardian front
The Big Green Bookshop My local bookshop. Lovely friendly service, great events and a wonderful community space: there are children's and graphic novel reading groups, writers' groups, comedy on a Friday night as well as a great selection of books
Bookseller Crow on the Hill Based in Crystal Palace in South London, another fantastic local bookshop
Muswell Hill Children's Bookshop An incredibly knowledgable staff and well stocked shop, well worth the visit for people interested in children's books
Camden Lock Books No longer based in Camden, but still an amazing independent bookshop
Newham bookshop Over 30 years' experience in one of London's most deprived boroughs, with one of the best lists of events. Well worth a visit
Stoke Newington Bookshop has a regular shop and a discounted shop. A great place to find out what is happening at the Stokey Literary Festival!
London Review Bookshop Very close to the British Museum, this has an interesting selection of books (although the children's section is meagre) and a great cake shop, perfect for a cup of tea and sit down after a busy morning shopping!

There are many more indie bookshops in London. I've visited a lot more, but these are the ones where I have consistently had good and friendly service. If you've got some to add, let me know, particularly specialists in children's lit!


Children's Literary Places
The Peter Pan statue in Kensington Gardens
Regents Park and Primrose Hill The setting of Mary Poppins and much of 101 Dalmations. Many of E Nesbit's children's books are set in Camden (Five children and It, The Story of the Treasure Seekers) and the Camden end of Regent's Park is where her children often play.
Leadenhall Market was used as Diagon Alley in the Harry Potter films





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