Monday, January 13, 2014

reading notes: "The Old Ways – A Journey On Foot" & "Be There Now"

"If I would have to sort the books i am reading these days into categories, one category would be: "Memoirs of long trails"... that's what i wrote in a previous book post, after reading "Wild", Cheryl Strayed's memoir of walking the Pacific Crest Trail (reading note), and Murakami's book on running as welle as Schaefer's book on walking from Berlin into the mountains of the Alps (reading note).

The Old Ways – A Journey On Foot
I don't remember how i arrived at "The Old Ways" by Robert MacFarlane, but the subtitle instantly caught my attention: "A Journey on Foot". Actually, it's a book on multiple journeys, or rather: a wonderful, reflective book about walking, about the way mankind always walked and created pathes, and how following those pathes is leading you to new places, both geographically, but also in the mind. Here's more about it, from a review in the Guardian:
Each chapter of The Old Ways is composed of many short passages built up like little cairns, or strewn like shards of china clay. In memory they keep forming new alignments. The making of new maps – both of narrative and of land – is one of Macfarlane's enduring fascinations. ... In The Old Ways he studies Britain geologically, exploring the relation between peat and gneiss, chalk and sand, asking how we can learn to understand the country differently. (more: Guardian review)
The book itself starts at winter solstice, with a walk into the night, and that's when i started reading it, too: in December. It's one of the books i don't want to end, so i will read it slowly, maybe it can accompany me into spring.

Be There Now
Parallel to "The Old Ways", i am reading a collection of travel stories that leads around the world. "Be There Now" features stories from twenty-two contributors who share adventures and escapades from all continents, and covers a lot of different themes.

The book starts in Guatemala, and from there, moves to France, Mexico, China, Syria, Disneyland, Germany, Nicaragua, Alaska, Peru, Newfoundland, Costa Rica.. and it is as fascinating and diverse in destinations as it is in moods and themes. It ranges from fun stories to reflective, and from nature walks to online travel adventures. Here's the book page: Be There Now it's available as paperback ($12) or as e-book for very travel-friendly 99 cents.


Currently Reading + More Reads:
From outer journeys to inner journeys: i started to read the David Foster Wallace biography: "Every Love Story Is a Ghost Story". I picked it up after reading his essay/commencement speech "This is Water" at the first of January, and it's moving to see how sensitive and intelligent he was, and how at the same time he struggled for years to find his way in life.

For more reading notes in this blog, click here: life as a journey with books

A reading list by regions is online at: World Reads by country

& Other book blog and their current reads: It's Monday! What Are You Reading? link list