The Lost Art of Walking

Geoff Nicholson doesn't walk to stay fit. And he doesn't walk to lessen his carbon footprint. "he real reason I walk is because I have to. I walk because it keeps me sane," he writes in The Lost Art of Walking: The History, Science, Philosophy, and Literature of Pedestrianism, a charming 273-page ode to the wonders and dangers of traversing the earth (and even the moon) on two feet. Nicholson, a native of England, lives in Los Angeles, but he's intimately familiar with the byways of New York City and London as well, and he once spent the day walking the length of Oxford Street. "I knew that I must be one of the very few who had ever walked twenty miles back and forth on Oxford Street in a single day. The perversity of this pleased me no end." No doubt this seems eccentric. But nowadays, Nicholson notes, isn't all walking considered suspect? "Looked at a certain way, walking is the most ordinary, natural, ubiquitous activity. What could be more commonplace or lacking in eccentricity than the act of walking? And yet we live in a world where plenty of people find the idea of walking for pleasure, much less for philosophical, aesthetic, or deeply personal reasons, to be not just odd but downright incomprehensible." But to those who like to stroll, saunter, straggle, what have you, walking is a comprehensible passion, and Nicholson cites some of history's champion perambulators, including Charles Dickens, Thomas De Quincey, and Iain Sinclair, who's currently "a sort of guru for London's hipper literary walkers." Sinclair says of walking: "s well as hoovering up information, it's a way of actually shifting a state of consciousness, and yo...

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."