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.



July 22: On this day in 1941, on his twelfth wedding anniversary, Eugene O'Neill presented the just-finished manuscript of Long Day's Journey into Night to his wife, Carlotta.

Crime fiction legends Dennis Lehane and Michael Connelly discuss the new book that unites their beloved sleuths Patrick Kenzie and Harry Bosch.

Books, CDs, DVDs to know about now
The Hundred-Year House

When a poetry scholar goes digging through the decrepit estate of his wife's family to uncover a bygone arts colony's strange mysteries, he awakens a tenacious monster: his mother-in-law. A wickedly funny take on aging aristocracies from author Rebecca Makkai (The Borrower).

Watching Them Be

What makes a film actor into a larger-than-life movie star? James Harvey's passionate, freewheeling essays explain why there are some faces (from Greta Garbo's to Samuel L. Jackson's) from which we cannot look away.


What if you called up the spouse on the verge of leaving you -- and instead found yourself magically talking to his younger self, the one you first fell for?  Rainbow Rowell, author of the YA smash Eleanor & Park, delivers a sly, enchanting take on 21st-century love.