An exciting tale it's not (largely due to its random structure), however, it's great if you're looking for little-known facts about London that you can pull out to impress your friends during your next dinner party. Covering everything from bridges to arcades, fish and chips and everything in between, this unique guide book is packed with weird and wonderful facts about London.
One of my favourite facts gleaned from the book was learning that the Burlington Arcade was built to prevent people from throwing oysters (a fast food during 19th century London) into the yard of the 1st Earl of Burlington's townhouse.
Other interesting facts I came across include:
So, if you want to look at lesser-known London off the beaten path, then this book is for you.
Galleries, Palaces & Tea by David Backhouse is published by Curll Press and available for £9.99 from www.amazon.co.uk.
Paris is a spectacular city revered by many for its incredibly stylish residents and its alluring beauty. For lovers of Paris (whether you've been a a hundred times or your yearning to one day visit), it's a must-have coffee-table book.
Paris Sketchbook by renowned fashion illustrator Jason Brooks and published by Laurence King is a unique collection of drawings, collages, notes and sketches in the form of a beautifully illustrated journal that celebrates the history, elegance and style of everyone’s favourite European city.
“Who doesn’t love Paris? I find the aesthetics of the city endlessly inspiring, it is a place imbued with a unique feeling of history, elegance and glamour. Paris also holds many happy memories for me personally, from my childhood drawing on paper napkins in restaurants to making illustrated reports from the Couture Fashion shows in my twenties. It is a city that I love and keep coming back to.” - Jason Brooks
The book captures the time Jason Brooks spent in Paris across all four seasons, while showcasing illustrations such as a wintry night on the Champs-Elysees, breakfast at the Café Flore and the Jardin du Luxembourg boating pond on a sunny day in June.
Arranged into themed chapters such as Architecture, The Street, Fashion, Shopping and Art, Jason communicates what we all love about Paris through his brilliant illustrations, showing why it stands apart from other capital cities and is considered shorthand for all that is romantic, nostalgic and glamorous.
The global brands, grand department stores, flea markets and hidden boutiques that make Paris a renowned shopping destination are also depicted in the book, including Lanvin, Chanel, Diptyque, A.P.C, Colette and Dior.
Travel has been a recurrent theme in his work and his adventures continue to inspire and inform his visual repertoire.
Every time I flick through the beautiful pages of this book, I'm inspired to hop on a plane for my next Parisian fix.
Paris Sketchbook by Jason Brooks is available fromLaurence King Publishing for £17.95.
A. A. Miln
One of the greatest luxuries of all is having the time to relax with a great book.