I will be spending roughly twenty days at Oxford University in July 2004. What books do you recommend reading for and about this region as well as any books concerning London? Thanks for your help, it is greatly appreciated.
Answered by The Reader
If I were going to Oxford (I was born there, BTW) and London and had limited time to read, I’d go to a few classic works.
Oxford by Jan Morris
In Search of London by H.V. Morton
The Silent Traveller in Oxford by Chiang Yee
The Silent Traveller in London by Chiang Yee
Jan Morris, H.V. Morton, Chiang Yee—you will never regret reading these writers. For a lot of modern readers, their prose can at first blush be difficult, but after a short while what seems difficult will appear wonderfully layered and subtle—an acquired taste if you will.
There are other good roundups of history for the traveler who wants a bit more than guidebooks provide.
A Traveller’s History of Oxford by Richard Tames
The Oxford Book of Oxford edited by Jan Morris
I would also go to Insight Guides on the two cities—the Insight Guides are full of good essays, and although they can be a bit dry, the combination of photos and text does give one a good feel for places.
Of course if we had a Travelers’ Tales to either of these wonderful destinations, I’d include those, but we don’t—yet.
Thanks for writing,