Two of the summer’s most enduring pastimes – reading and sitting on your arse – are to be combined through an innovative series of street furniture introduced this July by the National Literary Trust and Wild in Art.
As part of Books about Town, books as diverse as ‘Mary Poppins’, ‘The Wind in the Willows’ and Agatha Christie’s various Poirot adventures are being reimagined as a limited series of eye-catching benches dotted about London. The plan is to then sell them off at a later date to raise money for the Trust, who are an independent charity dedicated to tackling illiteracy.
As it’s pretty much mandatory to shoehorn football into everything at the moment, allow us to draw your attention to the actually quite profound quote on the bench dedicated to Nick Hornby’s Fever Pitch (see above).
Along with the benches themselves, there’s a series of madcap events taking place, such as an attempt to break the world record for the most number of people dressed as Sherlock Holmes, next to the Arthur Conan Doyle-inspired bench outside the University of London. Mary Poppins will be doing a book giveaway at her bench by St Paul’s and the cast of theatre production ‘1984’ will be hanging out by theirs in August. For a meet and greet, that is; not just because they’ve got nowhere better to go.
Here’s hoping Books About Town gets more people reading. And sitting. And dressing as Sherlock Holmes. Whatever happens, it’s certainly a novel idea.
Find benches in Bloomsbury, the City, the South Bank and Greenwich using these maps…
…or for a full list of benches, locations and events, visit www.booksabouttown.org.uk.