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Five great books about walking
13th February 2019
Five great books about walking is the latest in our ‘Five great books…’ series.
Five great books about WALKING
TripFiction’s Andrew is Literary Editor of the Silver Travel Book Club, for our good friends and partners at Silver Travel Advisor. This month Book Club members are reading the new book from television presenter, writer and dog lover Kate Humble. ‘Thinking on My Feet’ is all about Kate’s love of walking, and tells the story of her walking year.
It got Andrew thinking about how many other good books have been written by authors seeing remarkable events or meeting special people whilst out for a walk….
Here are five books from the TripFiction database that hint at what magic awaits those who step out into the unknown on their own two feet:
As I Walked out One Midsummer Morning by Laurie Lee – set in ENGLAND & SPAIN
Abandoning the Cotswolds village that raised him, the young Laurie Lee walks to London. There he makes a living labouring and playing the violin.
But, deciding to travel further a field and knowing only the Spanish phrase for ‘Will you please give me a glass of water?‘, he heads for Spain. With just a blanket to sleep under and his trusty violin, he spends a year crossing Spain, from Vigo in the north to the southern coast. Only the outbreak of the Spanish Civil War puts an end to his extraordinary peregrinations . . .
In 1933, at the age of 18, Patrick Leigh Fermor set out on an extraordinary journey by foot – from the Hook of Holland to Constantinople. A Time of Gifts is the first volume in a trilogy recounting the trip, and takes the reader with him as far as Hungary.
It is a book of compelling glimpses – not only of the events which were curdling Europe at that time, but also of its resplendent domes and monasteries, its great rivers, the sun on the Bavarian snow, the storks and frogs, the hospitable burgomasters who welcomed him, and that world’s grandeurs and courtesies. His powers of recollection have astonishing sweep and verve, and the scope is majestic.
The Appalachian Trail stretches from Georgia to Maine and covers some of the most breathtaking terrain in America – majestic mountains, silent forests, sparking lakes. If you’re going to take a hike, it’s probably the place to go. And Bill Bryson is surely the most entertaining guide you’ll find.
He introduces us to the history and ecology of the trail and to some of the other hardy (or just foolhardy) folks he meets along the way–and a couple of bears. Already a classic, ‘A Walk in the Woods‘ will make you long for the great outdoors (or at least a comfortable chair to sit and read in).
Flaneuse: Women Walk the City by Lauren Elkin – set in PARIS, NEW YORK, TOKYO, VENICE & LONDON
‘Flâneuse [flanne-euhze], noun, from the French. Feminine form of flâneur [flanne-euhr], an idler, a dawdling observer, usually found in cities.
That is an imaginary definition.’
If the word flâneur conjures up visions of Baudelaire, boulevards and bohemia – then what exactly is a flâneuse?
In this gloriously provocative and celebratory book, Lauren Elkin defines her as ‘a determined resourceful woman keenly attuned to the creative potential of the city, and the liberating possibilities of a good walk’. Part cultural meander, part memoir, Flâneuse traces the relationship between the city and creativity through a journey that begins in New York and moves us to Paris, via Venice, Tokyo and London, exploring along the way the paths taken by the flâneuses who have lived and walked in those cities.
From nineteenth-century novelist George Sand to artist Sophie Calle, from war correspondent Martha Gellhorn to film-maker Agnes Varda, Flâneuse considers what is at stake when a certain kind of light-footed woman encounters the city and changes her life, one step at a time.
Thinking on My Feet by Kate Humble – set in the UK
Thinking on My Feet tells the story of Kate’s walking year – shining a light on the benefits of this simple activity. Kate’s inspiring narrative not only records her walks (and runs) throughout a single year, but also charts her feelings and impressions throughout – capturing the perspectives that only a journey on foot allows – and shares the outcomes: a problem solved, a mood lifted, an idea or opportunity borne. As she explores the reasons why we walk, whether for creative energy, challenge and pleasure, or therapeutic benefits, Kate’s reflections and insights will encourage, motivate and spur readers into action.
Also featured are Kate’s walks with others who have discovered the magical, soothing effect of putting one foot in front of the other – the artist who walks to find inspiration for his next painting; the man who takes people battling with addiction to climb mountains; the woman who walked every footpath in Wales (3,700 miles) when she discovered she had cancer.
This book will inspire you to change your perspective by applying walking to your daily endeavours.
Andrew for the TripFiction Team
Do you know any other books about WALKING to add to our database…wherever they might be set? Please leave your thoughts in the Comments box below, and remember that you can buy any of these books through TripFiction by clicking on the bookseller links on any book icon.
Other posts in our ‘Five great books set in…’ series:
And our ‘Ten great books set in…’ series includes:
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