Two final reads of the year done and dusted today (and forgive me, I have one last Iris Murdoch Readalong post to put up in a minute, too!). I pulled the first one off the shelf because I received it for my birthday this year and was a bit horrified I hadn’t read any of those books yet (or the Christmas ones, which I thought that was until I looked properly), and the second one because it is large and protruded from the back of the shelf through to the front row, either creating a gap or dangerously displacing a book on that part of the shelf. You’ve seen my new acquisitions and tomorrow I will share whatever I get this TBR looking like once they’re on.

Mark Mason – “Walk the Lines: The London Underground, OVERGROUND”

(21 January 2019 – from Meg)

In which he walks overground all the Tube lines (unfortunately not the East London Line, my old line, as that had already gone by the time he did his project). Full of fun facts about the lines, their stations and surroundings – I particularly enjoyed finding out about the ‘long eggs’ that go inside meat pies and were made in the Oxo Tower building and the fact that the corner of the Royal Geographical Society that has statues of Livingstone and Shackleton is known by cabbies as “Hot and Cold Corner”.

Now, a question. Mason admits that he didn’t realise the Jubilee Line is named after the Queen’s Silver Jubilee and that’s why the line is silver in colour. I was surprised by this admission, as I was aware of this, but then Matthew said he hadn’t known, either. So is this common knowledge or not?

Anyway, I enjoyed his accompanied walks, particularly the Circle Line pub crawl (which led me to recommend Iris Murdoch’s “A Word Child” to the author) and his miles with Bill Drummond talking about map-based conceptual art. Really, there’s something for everyone in this book!

I loved the idea of one’s personal Tube line, linking places of import to one’s own self in London. My one would go from New Cross Gate to Covent Garden via Brixton and London Bridge, through Camden and Angel and up to Highgate and High Barnet. And yours?

Simon Jenkins – “Britain’s 100 Best Railway Stations”

(09 October 2019 – from Matthew, was supposed to be for Christmas but he presented it to me there and then)

His own favourites, given stars from 1-5 but all good in general, including some that are now part of preserved heritage lines and some underground stations. There’s a history of their architects and styles at the beginning, then lovely photographs give you a proper feel for the stations, arranged by region. The variety is stunning and it’s nice to see new ones and ones I know well.

The author played a major role in getting many stations saved and restored, and his passion for them shines through. He says he considers them among the most enjoyable buildings in the land, and I both agree and will look at the ones I encounter more carefully in the future.

Well, that’s it, 116 books read and 114 of them reviewed here (I have one Shiny Review to submit and share later and one NetGalley book I had to hold a review back for until the end of Jan 2020). Books of the year to come tomorrow …