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The Syllabus

The on-line ramblings of JP Gaul, co-author of The Ivy Look

For the last 13 years I have been working as a rep selling books in London. I must have blabbered on to booksellers about thousands of titles, some of which I was genuinely enthusiastic about, a larger number of which left me cold and then there have been a small and select few which I have really taken to my heart. The most recent book to fall into this latter, more rarified category is ‘Quiet London’, a sweet little paperback whose premise is to awaken the reader, the Londoner or the visitor, to those tranquil spots where solitude and reflection are a possibility in the midst of the relentless, insistent bustle of London life. The book’s sensibility is informed by the author’s background - she is from a Quaker family and has an education in art history. So here is somebody that rejects much of the brashness of our contemporary consumerist culture and is at the same time alert to a more subtle and profound sense of beauty, be it in design, architecture, nature or simply the mood of a location. Her taste is gentle but never twee and intelligently juxtaposes superior greasy spoons like Blandfords on Chiltern Street (above, and very handily placed on the same road as the great John Simons clothes shop) with places of worship, bookshops, pubs, small galleries, museums, and much more. I carry it around with me as I pound the streets flogging my wares and her choices have never let me down.  Want to find a Jean Cocteau mural in the middle of Soho? A great Italian deli in one of the least known and most beautiful little squares in London? Learn more about William Morris, Lord Leighton or Italian futurism? Then get ‘Quiet London’. It’s only £9.99 and it is a joy.  

2 years ago

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