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With gyms closed and the walls at home closing in, more and more folks seem to be walking these days. But some were walking all along and inveterate walker and novelist Geoff Nicholson tells their story and his. Although, oddly enough, the book opens with him not so much walking as falling and then describing the difficulty of walking with a broken arm. These sorts of personal reflections of walking, most often in cities (LA, NYC, London), are interspersed with stories of the history of walking and the art (mainly photography) and literature surrounding it. I found myself wanting more about the cultural phenomena and less about the city walks. But I see other reviewers held the opposite view. Ultimately, one wishes Mr. Nicholson's original vision for the book had been realized and that he was able to give us a complete encyclopedia of walking, which would lend itself more naturally to dipping in and out to read discrete entries. As is, there's something here for everyone but maybe not everything here is for anyone?

That said, the chapter on endurance walking and how it became a popular sporting/betting event in the 1800s is worth the price of the book by itself. Consider that, in 1809, history's greatest walker, Captain Robert Barclay, bet that he could walk a mile for a thousand consecutive hours and proceeded to do so! I'll never complain about that last hill before home again....


(Reviewed:)

Grade: (B)


Websites:

See also:

Sports (General)
Geoff Nicholson Links:

    -AUTHOR SITE: Geoff Nicholson's Website
    -BLOG: Hollywood Walker
    -WIKIPEDIA: Geoff Nicholson
    -FILMOGRAPHY: Geoff Nicholson (IMDB)
    -Geoff Nicholson (Photo Republic)
    -BOOK SITE: The Lost Art of Walking: The History, Science, and Literature of Pedestrianism By Geoff Nicholson (Penguin Random House)
    -ESSAY: Golden years: Pleasure - that's what Blackpool was always about. And it still is, but there have been subtle changes in its character. One day off-season, the novelist Geoff Nicholson revisited the seaside wonderland of his childhood, and found its soul intact (Geoff Nicholson, 4/17/99, The Guardian)
    -REVIEW: of Atlas of Improbable Places: A Journey to the World’s Most Unusual Corners by Alan Horsfield (Geoff Nicholson, LA REview of Books)
   
-REVIEW ESSAY: A Ramble About Books About Walking (Geoff Nicholson, JUNE 15, 2018, LA Review of Books)
    -REVIEW: Unknown Unknowns Come Sweeping in: On Geoff Dyer’s “The Street Philosophy of Garry Winogrand” (Geoff Nicholson, LA Review of Books)
    -REVIEW: An A to Z of Iain Sinclair on the Occasion of the American Publication of “The Last London: True Fictions from an Unreal City” (Geoff Nicholson, JANUARY 9, 2018, LA Review of Books)
    -ESSAY: The Walk of the Worlds (Geoff Nicholson, FEBRUARY 10, 2013, LA Review of Books)
    -REVIEW: Mild Irish Rose: Roddy Doyle's heroine, Paula Spencer, is sober now (Geoff Nicholson, Book Forum)
    -REVIEW: Pleasure Principle: Samuel Steward lived many lives, all in pursuit of joyous hedonism (Geoff Nicholson, Book Forum)
    -REVIEW: STEERING ZEAL: Traffic: Why We Drive the Way We Do (and What It Says About Us) by Tom Vanderbilt (Geoff Nicholson, Book Forum)
    -REVIEW: of The Rabbit Factory by Marshall Karp (Geoff Nicholson, LA Weekly)
    -REVIEW: of The Impartial Recorder by Ian Sansom (Geoff Nicholson, LA Weekly)
    -REVIEW: of The Annotated Big Sleep by Raymond Chandler (Geoff Nicholson, LA Review of Books)
    -ESSAY: The Joy of (Outdated) Facts (Geoff Nicholson, May 28, 2010, NY Times)
    -DISCUSSION: GEOFF NICHOLSON & WILL SELF DISCUSS THE JOYS OF WALKING (The Believer, October 1, 2008)
    -ESSAY: The Lost Art of Getting Lost (Geoff Nicholson, December 19, 2008, Powells Book Blog)
    -REVIEW ESSAY: 9 Walking Books That Let You Follow in Literary Footsteps: From Dublin to Panama to your own backyard, these books lay out a path for walking around the world (Geoff Nicholson, Nov 1, 2017, Electric Lit)
    -REVIEW ESSAY: London Overground: A Day’s Walk around the Ginger Line By Iain Sinclair & Walking Away: Further Travels with a Troubadour on the South West Coast Path By Simon Armitage (Geoff Nicholson, Literary Review)
   
-PODCAST: Walking Matters, Part 2: "The Steps We Take" (CBC Radio, Sep 01, 2015)
    -PODCAST: Suffolk with Geoff Nicholson (Clare Balding meets writer Geoff Nicholson to talk about the history and lore of walking as they amble about in the Suffolk countryside. (BBC Ramblings)
    -VIDEO: Geoff Nicholson Maps the Territory: A journey into Hollywood with author, speculative urbanist (LARB AV, June 4, 2014)
    -PROFILE: Off the Grid: Mapping L.A.’s Edgelands with Writer Geoff Nicholson: With his new novel, City Under the Skin, the British expat and longtime Angeleno may have invented a literary genre: cartographic noir (Anthony Miller, 6/04/14, los Angeles Magazine)
    -INTERVIEW: Geoff Nicholson: Reviving a lost art (Interview by Alden Mudge, July 2009, Book Page)
    -INTERVIEW:: with Geoff Nicholson (Bookreporter, February 15, 2002)
    -INTERVIEW: Obsession, voyeurism and fetishism - the staple diet of novelist Geoff Nicholson Marianne Brace, 17 February 1998, Independent)
    -PODCAST: Notebook on Cities and Culture S4E46: Mar Incognita with Geoff Nicholson (Colin Marshall, 7/15/14)
    -PODCAST: Geoff Nicholson talking walking: Geoff Nicholson talks to Andrew Stuck about how he came to writing about the Lost Art of Walking (Talking and Walking)
    -PROFILE: The Twisted Mind of Geoff Nicholson (Scott Timberg, 6/03/10, Culture Crash)
    -VIDEO INTERVIEW: My Conversation with Jessie Chaffee and Geoff Nicholson,/a> (Ink and Paper Blog, Nov 12, 2017)
   
-PROFILE: Meet Your Food Blogger: Geoff Nicholson of Psycho Gourmet (Erica Zora Wrightson, May 17, 2010, LA Weekly)
    -ETEXT: Pedestrianism; or, An Account of the Performances of Celebrated Pedestria, by Walter Thom (Project Gutenberg)
    -ESSAY: Newmarket's greatest stayer: In 1809 Britain was preparing to take on Napoleon but on Newmarket Heath one man was wagering a fortune that he could complete the ultimate test of human endeavour (Peter Radford, 23 Aug 2001, The Guardian)
    -ESSAY: Walk, write, read – and make the world your own: On psychogeography and the philosophy of pedestrianism: from Hazlitt to Will Self (Cathy Dillon, 5/16/15, Irish Times)
    -ESSAY: Walking (Henry David Thoreau, June 1862, the Atlantic).
    -ESSAY: Psychogeography: a way to delve into the soul of a city (Siobhan Lyons, June 18, 2017, the Conversation)
    - Psychogeography: Psychogeography describes the effect of a geographical location on the emotions and behaviour of individuals (The Tate)
    -WIKIPEDIA: Edward Payson Weston
    -ESSAY: THE PEDESTRIAN: Edward Payson Weston - 19th Century Long Distance Walker (Tom Talpey, Running Past)
    -ESSAY: The slow death of purposeless walking (Finlo Rohrer, 5/01/14, BBC News Magazine)
    -ESSAY: Why We Walk (Jennifer Graf Groneberg, Fall 2009, New Atlantis)
    -BLOG: Walking in LA
    -BLOG: The walking fool
    -WEBSITE: Ramblers uk
    -AUDIO INTERVIEW: with Matthew Algeo : In The 1870s And '80s, Being A Pedestrian Was Anything But (April 3, 2014, All Things Considered )
    -VIDEO: Pedestrianism in 19th Century: Matthew Algeo talked about his book, Pedestrianism: When Watching People Walk Was America’s Favorite Spectator Sport (C-SPAN, April 17, 2014)
    -ESSAY: For one wild era, walking was the nation’s No. 1 spectator sport (Matthew Algeo, March 27, 2015, Washington Post)
    -ESSAY: The 2,000 Mile Race: Pedestrianism in the early nineteenth century (Derek Martin, Oct 30, 2017, Playing Pasts)
    -ESSAY: How Competitive Walking Captivated Georgian Britain: In 1815, thousands of people came to watch George Wilson, the “Blackheath Pedestrian,” walk 1,000 miles. (Linda Rodriguez McRobbie, June 29, 2017, Atlas Obscura)
    -ARCHIVES: Geoff Nicholson (Literary Review)
    -ARCHIVES: Geoff Nicholson (Powell's Book Blog)
    -ARCHIVES: Geoff Nicholson (Book Marks)
    -ARCHIVES: Geoff Nicholson (LA Weekly)
    -ARCHIVES: Geoff Nicholson (Publishers Weekly)
    -ARCHIVES: Geoff Nicholson (Book Forum)
    -ARCHIVES: Geoff Nicholson (LA Review of Books)
    -REVIEW ARCHIVES: Geoff Nicholson (Complete Review)
    -REVIEW: of The Lost Art of Walking: The History, Science, and Literature of Pedestrianism by Geoff Nicholson (Complete Review)
    -REVIEW: of Lost Art of Walking (D.T. Max, NY Times Book Review)
    -REVIEW: of Lost Art of Walking (The Economist)
    -REVIEW: of Lost Art of Walking (Karla Starr, LA Times)
    -REVIEW: of Lost Art of Walking (Kirkus)
    -REVIEW: of Lost Art of Walking (Milt Gross, Village Soup)
    -REVIEW: of Lost Art of Walking (Liam Sullivan, Panorama of the Mountains)
    -REVIEW: of Lost Art of Walking (Publishers Weekly)
    -REVIEW: of Lost Art of Walking (This Space)
    -REVIEW: of Lost Art of Walking (Museum of Thin Objects)
    -REVIEW: of Lost Art of Walking (Matthew Fleischer, LA Weekly)
    -REVIEW: of Lost Art of Walking (Shelf Awareness)
    -REVIEW: of Lost Art of Walking (Cosmic Plodding)
    -REVIEW: of Lost Art of Walking (Dave Nicholls, CPN)
    -REVIEW: of Lost Art of Walking (Jesse Wegman, NY Observer)
    -REVIEW: of Lost Art of Walking (David Propson, WSJ)
    -REVIEW: of Lost Art of Walking (Jonathan Yardley, Washington Post)
    -REVIEW: of Lost Art of Walking (Tony Miksanek, American Scientist)
    -REVIEW: of Lost Art of Walking (Cameron Martin, Barnes & Noble Review)
    -REVIEW: of Lost Art of Walking (Katherine A. Powers, Boston Globe)
    -REVIEW: of Lost Art of Walking (Sean Hughes, CS Monitor)
    -REVIEW: of Lost Art of Walking (Ben East, Metro)
    -REVIEW: of Lost Art of Walking (Victorino Matus, NY Post)
    -REVIEW: of Lost Art of Walking ( Tony Dokoupil, Newsweek)
    -REVIEW: of Lost Art of Walking (Charles Bethea, Paste)
    -REVIEW: of Lost Art of Walking (Alan Moores, Seattle Times)
    -REVIEW: of Lost Art of Walking (Gilbert Cruz, TIME)
    -REVIEW: of Lost Art of Walking (Iain Finlayson, The Times uk)
    -REVIEW: of Lost Art of Walking (Page 99 Test)
    -REVIEW: of Lost Art of Walking (Hannah Fielding)
    -REVIEW: of Walking in Ruins by Geoff Nicholson (Mark Mason, The Spectator)
    -REVIEW: of Bedlam Burning by Geoff Nicholson (Rich Leddy, Bookreporter)
    -REVIEW: of Gravity's Volkswagen by Geoff Nicholson (Isobel Montgomery, The Guardian)
    -REVIEW: of Sex Collectors by Geoff Nicholson (Emily Nussbaum, NY Times Book Review)
    -REVIEW: of Flesh Guitar by Geoff Nicholson (Publishers Weekly)
    -REVIEW ARCHIVES: Geoff Nicholson (Kirkus)

Book-related and General Links:

    -REVIEW: of The Surprising Science of Walking by Shane O’Mara (M.R. O’CONNOR, UnDark)
    -ESSAY: A New Hiking Book Sketches Griffith Parks’ Trails and Complex History Brought to you by the man behind Modern Hiker: griffith park hollywood sign LA's favorite public space gets the treatment it deserves in "Discovering Griffith Park" (REUBEN BRODY, MAY 15, 2020, Inside Hook)
    -PODCAST: Episode 159: Dollop: Pedestrianism (The Dollop, August 24, 2016)
    -ESSAY: The Crisis in American Walking: How we got off the pedestrian path. (Tom Vanderbilt, 4/10/12, Slate)
    -ESSAY: Sports doping, Victorian style: Athletes in the 19th century thought nothing of fortifying themselves with coca leaves, cocaine, alcohol or strychnine (Vanessa Heggie, 19 Jun 2012, The Guardian)
    -ESSAY: America wakes up to walking: 'Think of it as a patriotic duty': With more Americans experimenting in radical pedestrianism than ever before, the country is asking itself: could 4,000lb metal boxes powered by petroleum not, in fact, be the most prudent way to travel in cities? (Dan Rubinstein, 22 Jun 2015, The Guardian)
    -ESSAYS: ‘Would that all journeys were on foot’: writers on the joy of walking: Will Self, Fran Lebowitz, Helen Garner and others share their love letters to urban pedestrianism (The Guardian, 9/18/18)
    -REVIEW ESSAY: Books by walkers: a literary stroll (Barbara Lane, January 24, 2020, SF Chronicle: Datebook)
    -ESSAY: Why Walking is Good for You (Cyndi Freiman, readers Digest)
    -REVIEW: of Robert Macfarlane – The Old Ways: A Journey On Foot (Scottish Review of Books)
    -ESSAY: Can walking 100 kilometres around the Isle of Wight be the ideal summer vacation? (Oliver Moore, June 18, 2018, The Globe and Mail)
   
-SONG: OH, DIDN'T HE RAMBLE - Jelly Roll Morton - Sidney Bechet - 1939 (You Tube)
    -ETEXT: Pedestrianism; or, An Account of the Performances of Celebrated Pedestria, by Walter Thom (Project Gutenberg)
    -VIDEO: The art of walking: How this everyday act can bring you inner peace (Erling Kagge, 20 March, 2020, Big Think)
    -ESSAY: On Solitude by Michel de Montaigne: Get off Netflix and self-isolate with this : It discusses, without didacticism, the merits of being alone. Never more relevant (Lucy Sweeney Byrne, 4/10/20, Irish Times)
    -ESSAY: For the full life experience, put down all devices and walk (John Kaag & Susan Froderberg, Aeon)
    -ESSAY: Not enough space to social distance? Why cities should ban cars and make streets walk/bike only (Andrea Sandor, 4/08/20, CityMetric)
    -ESSAY: The coronavirus lockdown has changed my relationship to walking (Cazz Blase, 4/08/20, CityMetric)
    -ESSAY: Route 3: What I saw on the road through New Jersey. (Ian Frazier, 2/16/04, The New Yorker)
    -ESSAY: Heaven’s Gaits: Adam Gopnik on the history, pleasures, and perils of bipedalism. “Why people walk is a hard question that looks easy.” (Adam Gopnik, August 25, 2014, The New Yorker)
    -ESSAY: A Twenty-Four-Thousand-Mile Walk Across Human History: A journalist’s effort to retrace, on foot, the path blazed by Homo sapiens. (Paul Salopek, June 17, 2019, The New Yorker)
    -ESSAY: The Search for England’s Forgotten Footpaths (Sam Knight, The New Yorker)
    -ESSAY: Step by step: Join walkers on the path to physical and mental benefits (Sam McManis, 3/19, 10, The Sacramento Bee)
    -ESSAY: THE INVENTION OF HIKING,/a>: Follow the Frenchman who remade the woods surrounding a royal estate into the world’s first nature preserve (ELAINE SCIOLINO, May 2020, SMITHSONIAN MAGAZINE)
   
-ESSAY: Walking Is Making a Major Comeback: Many of us have long dismissed this gentle, approachable activity for more adrenaline-pumping forms of exercise. We've been missing out—big-time. (Gloria Liu, Jun 8, 2020, Outside)
    -REVIEW: Book Review: The surprising science of walking: In “In Praise of Walking,” even the most mundane walk is rife with scientific and spiritual significance (M.R. O'CONNOR, JUNE 13, 2020, Salon)