On Foot

It's how you get there that matters.



As I Walked Out One Midsummer Morning

By Laurie Lee


19-year-old Laurie Lee set out from his home in rural England in the early 1930s, walking first to London, and then, after a short boat ride, across all of Spain. His wry, lyrical record of the journey established Lee among the most gifted travel writers of a generation that included such talents as Patrick Leigh Fermor.  Playing violin along the way to earn his keep, he keenly observes Spain on the brink of Civil War, and his pedestrian vantage affords him a unique perspective on the conflict's effects on everyday people. The book becomes a a critique of human nature in the guise of a travelogue, enlived by youthful exuberance at every step.



Wanderlust: A History of Walking

By Rebecca Solnit


The mind, the body, and the world align when you walk, Rebecca Solnit suggests, in this lively history of ambling, sauntering, striding, even gallivanting. From philosophers aimlessly wandering the world to an incisive examination of people who drive everywhere (even down the block), Solnit chronicles walking's place in our past and speculates about its possibly threatened future.



The Lost Art of Walking: The History, Science and Literature of Pedestrianism

By Geoff Nicholson


Nicholson unpacks humankind's most basic activity to reveal the incredible microcosms within walking. The experiences brought under his careful gaze are various: a Wonder Woman impersonator striding to work, "competitive pedestrians", and the visually evocative ven diagram overlap of nudists and hikers. What animates and draws together these diverse portraits is Nicholson's ebullient love for the act of walking itself.



The Places in Between

By Rory Stewart


Afghanistan in 2002 isn't the first place you'd think to go for a stroll, but award-winning journalist Rory Stewart decided on just such a perambulation of the war-torn country, witnessing ancient communities torn apart and encountering teen soldiers as well as Taliban commanders. The result is an engrossing, sometimes harrowing, literary tour de force, in which Stewart's prodigious feat proves to be not an end in itself, but the means by which he can explore some of the region's true mysteries.



Born to Run: A Hidden Tribe, Superathletes, and the Greatest Race the World Has Never Seen

By Christopher McDougall


Searching for a cure for his sore foot, journalist Christopher McDougall stumbled across the Taramuhara Indians, a tribe living in Mexico's Copper Canyons renowned for its long-distance running, often more than a hundred miles at a time. A rogue's gallery of supporting characters accumulate as a young Taramuhara brave named White Horse tries to organize a 50-mile race between his tribesmen and the "ultrarunners" who spend time with the tribe to learn its secrets.



April 23: " 'A job,' the woman repeated again, smiling, as if I hadn't heard her. 'Would you like one?' "

Kenneth Calhoun (Black Moon) and Lysely Tenorio (Monstress) of the Discover Great New Writers program on B-movies, heritage, and finales.

Books, CDs, DVDs to know about now
A Private Venus

Dubbed "the Italian Simenon," Giorgio Scerbanenco (1911-1969) began his crime-writing career with books set in the USA, but quickly shifted scene closer to home, the city of Milan.  In this adventure, appearing in English for the first time, his underdog hero Dr. Duca Lamberti finds himself in the middle of a seedy, scantily clad criminal racket, where the presence of an outsider could result in death.

The Promise of Hope

Killed last year in the infamous terror attack at Nairobi's Westgate mall, Kofi Awoonor was a national treasure in his native Ghana.  His career began in 1964 with Rediscovery, and this magnum opus serves as a tribute to his entire long journey charting his beloved nation's course through his accomplished poetry.

Winter Mythologies and Abbots

A pair of linked stories finds that, as translator Ann Jefferson relates, "[Pierre] Michon's great theme is the precarious balance between belief and imposture, and the way the greatest aspirations can be complicated by physical desire or the equally urgent desire for what he calls glory."