While Wandering - A Walking Companion by Duncan Minshull
|While Wandering - A Walking Companion by Duncan Minshull|
|Reviewer: Luke Marlowe|
|Summary: Duncan Minshull edits a beautiful anthology of writing for walkers, featuring stories poems and musings from a wonderfully eclectic mix of personalities. A must for anyone who enjoys the great outdoors, this marvellous book is to be kept in a rucksack and opened mid walk.|
|Buy? Yes||Borrow? No|
|Pages: 392||Date: September 2014|
|Publisher: Vintage Books|
|External links: Author's website|
While Wandering - A Walking Companion, was first published ten years ago as The Vintage Book of Walking. Reprinted and retitled with a stunning new cover by James Jones and Finn Dean, and a foreword by Robert Macfarlane, the best writer on walking in recent years (in my humble opinion).
The range of writers who feature in this book is huge, and veers from the obvious - John Bunyan, Mark Twain, Laurie Lee etc, to others who you may not expect to feature in such a collection - Harold Pinter and Dr Benjamin Spock just two examples of these.
Minshull, a senior producer for BBC Radio, has written about walking extensively for magazines, and it is instantly clear that he has curated this collection with a knowledgeable and loving hand, as a passion for walking and the great outdoors shines throughout.
Helpfully, for those of us who long for rolling hills and open plains, but are instead confined to pounding the grey streets of suburbia, Minshull does not discriminate, and the passages regarding walking through cities are just as delightful as the ones about the countryside, Peter's Funny Way of Mourning his Dad by Paul Bailey a particularly wonderful example.
The chapters group the writings well, and some have a markedly different tone - March Parade Procession a slightly darker section that features writings about military marches, protests and pilgrimages that, whilst it stands out, it does not jar with the rest of the book. The longest piece in this book is a few pages long, the shortest - a few words. All are wonderful, and well chosen.
This is a book that I will be keeping in my bag - it's one of those to carry on you and open up when the mood strikes, and I shall be buying several copies to hand out at Christmas. Not only are the words beautiful, the cover is stunning.
My only complaint? I suppose there are a few writers whose words about the outdoors I love and would have wished to have seen in this - Ted Hughes for one, and Robert Macfarlane, whilst he writes an excellent foreword, has become one of the leading talents in writing about walking recently, and his beautiful prose would fit in well. It's a very minor grumble though, as the collection is incredibly well chosen.
The reason why I have marked this book as one not to borrow, is that I've no doubt that you'll want a copy all to yourself. This book is one that will be treasured for years.
A huge thanks to Vintage Books for the copy.
It's impossible not to have read this book and want to go out and read titles by dozens of the authors featured, but to pick a few:
William Boyd always writes incredibly detailed descriptions about the travels of his characters, and Restless by William Boyd is no exception. Dreams of Rivers and Seas by Tim Parks also fits those criteria well.
For those wishing to read more about the joy and discovery to be found in walking, Walking Home by Simon Armitage is an extremely relatable book about the Pennine Way.
You can read more book reviews or buy While Wandering - A Walking Companion by Duncan Minshull at Amazon.co.uk Amazon currently charges £2.99 for standard delivery for orders under £20, over which delivery is free.
You can read more book reviews or buy While Wandering - A Walking Companion by Duncan Minshull at Amazon.com.
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