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The Lost Art of Walking [Kindle Edition]

Geoff Nicholson
3.9 out of 5 stars  See all reviews (14 customer reviews)

Print List Price: £8.00
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Book Description

Walking was once the only way to get around but now we just walk to the bus stop, station or car. Or we walk as a lifestyle choice - trekking holidays, charity walks, urban explorations. Geoff Nicholson's The Lost Artof Walking brings pedestrianism back to the centre of life by musing on his own walks, reflecting on writers, artists, musicians and film makers who take walking as a subject, and by looking at some of the great walkers in history - the competitive, the adventurous, the philosophical, the merely eccentric. The book takes us far further than most would consider walking distance, from the Oxford Street of de Quincey's London to the mean streets of Los Angeles, from the concrete canyons of New York City to the seven hills of Sheffield, by way of the British seaside and the deserts of America, Egypt and Australia. Along the way it describes encounters with nude walkers,labyrinth walkers, psychogeographers, among many others. The Lost Art of Walking is discursive, imaginative, full of insight and sometimes downright hilarious.

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About the Author

Geoff Nicholson is the author of twenty books, including Sex Collectors, Hunters and Gatherers, The Food Chain, and Bleeding London, which was shortlisted for the Whitbread Prize.

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Customer Reviews

Most Helpful Customer Reviews
11 of 11 people found the following review helpful
4.0 out of 5 stars Packed full of interesting information 7 Sept. 2011
By Shazjera TOP 1000 REVIEWER
The book starts with, what I thought, was a very interesting introduction. It hooked me in and made me want to keep reading.

I found myself becoming involved in the theories of why we walk on two legs and the way we view walking. I've always liked things like this - studies show this and that and then someone else has a counter-theory or there are new findings. I think it would be a good topic to debate! There's even a brief dip into the environment argument and health benefits.

I have to confess that I never realised how many words are associated with walking or thought about my own style. My favourites have to be strolled; mooched; sauntered; shambled, hiked and marched. What do the first four say about my style do you think?

I also have to admit that I've never noticed all the walking written into novels but on reflection in my recent meanderings I've walked through many fields and alongside ditches/riverbanks - I've sauntered along dusty roads in India and along High Streets.

I am intrigued by the thought of letting the environment guide you - to let your feet take you where they will with no destination in mind and by the label psychogeography. I can understand having different walks to solve different problems (as Ian Sinclair does) as when my husband and myself walk (or should that be stroll) we choose places for how they make us feel.

The walks themselves are connected with popular people ie Richard Long, Captain Barclay, Guy Debord, to name a few. The author intersperses these walks with his own experimental challenges that parallel these and also with his own personal anecdotes. At the end is a mini biography, which Geoff Nicholson also relates to walking. There is a bibliography and online resources.
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3 of 3 people found the following review helpful
3.0 out of 5 stars Like walking - An uneven terrain 10 July 2012
By Deborah Swift VINE VOICE
I enjoyed some parts of this book enormously, others were not so successful. I guess the thing about this book is that walking is the glue that holds together this travelogue, and like all travelogues its success for you depends largely on whether you are familiar with, or are interested in the place he is describing. The part I enjoyed most was actually the closest to home, where the author described his home stomping-ground of Sheffield.I found this part of the book much more revealing than his walks in LA or other parts of the world. But I yawned over the authors lengthy ruminations about Sax Rohmer and Richard Burton which strayed too far from the walking path for me.The front cover promises The History, Science, Philosophy, Literature, Theory and Practice of Pedestrianism - a lofty claim and one not quite substantiated by this series of anecdotes.That said, there is probably something in this book for everyone, so definitely worth a try if you are a walker of any kind.
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3 of 3 people found the following review helpful
This is a stimulating and thought provoking book about a subject that is familiar to just about everyone. What is particularly interesting is the means of approach taken by the author; rather than putting walking into the extreme sports category he examines the everyday, in some cases seemingly mundane trips that he takes on foot. Location plays a big part in the text, almost making where the walking is taking place as important as what is being done. References and explanations are clearly explained and thoroughly elucidated and the author provides the inspiration for more wide ranging reading on the subject. I've yet to replicate his walking experiments (or feats of endurance) and I probably never will, that said it is good to have had the opportunity to learn from a patient and good humoured teacher. Having read this book my daily steps have taken on a different resonance. Highly recommended.
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18 of 20 people found the following review helpful
By Thomas Cunliffe TOP 100 REVIEWER VINE VOICE
Geoff Nicholson is best known as a writer of fiction who occasionally forays into writing non-fiction books about subjects which interest him - The Lost Art of Walking being one of the latter. This book is both an anthology of walking and walkers, while also being a set of personal stories aobut Geoff's walking life.

Geoff isn't one of those serious walkers who kit themselves up with serious equipment and attempt record-breaking distances or timings. But walking is a vital part of his life, even though it often he has "strolled, wandered, pottered, mooched, sauntered and meandered". He's certainly done some serious stuff too - a chapter on desert walking describes a more committed type of walking than many of us would attempt, but on the whole, there is more in this book about walking around cities than in the great outdoors.

Geoff is interested in psychogeography which Joseph Hart describes as "a whole toy box full of playful, inventive strategies for exploring cities...just about anything that takes pedestrians off their predictable paths and jolts them into a new awareness of the urban landscape". And I think that's quite a good description of this book too - the range is vast but certainly focuses on urban walking, the deliberate launching out on a walk through a city with no other purpose than to see something new and to be open to any new insights that come at you along the way.

The book covers a vast range of walking topics. There are chapters on particular cities - London, Los Angeles, New York, in which he describes his own urban walks. He includes more thematic chapters such as "Eccentrics, Obsessives, Artists", and "Music, Movement and Movies".
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Most Recent Customer Reviews
4.0 out of 5 stars Four Stars
still currently reading this and enjoying it. Will review on my blog (about walking)
Published 1 month ago by J. Connelly
4.0 out of 5 stars Good book
Interesting read
Published 11 months ago by Ab
5.0 out of 5 stars Funny, discursive and self-deprecating.....
The subtitle to this book is: The History, Science, Philosophy, Literature, Theory and Practice of Pedestrianism. This makes it all sound much more grand and serious than it is. Read more
Published on 27 May 2013 by Wynne Kelly
2.0 out of 5 stars Not really......
I worked my way slowly through this book over a much longer time than I would have normally taken for 250-page book. Read more
Published on 17 Nov. 2012 by Stewart M
1.0 out of 5 stars The Lost Art of Walking
If, like me, you are looking for a serious work on walking, don't be taken in by Nicholson's sub title: "The history, science, philospohy, literature, theory and practice of... Read more
Published on 20 July 2012 by Nigel Rayment
3.0 out of 5 stars Doesn't meet its potential.
While it is a VERY thorough piece of research it misses so many opportunities of being a good read. I'm comming at this as an avid reader and enthusiastic walker. Read more
Published on 2 Feb. 2012 by paintkaz
5.0 out of 5 stars Geoff Nicholson walks the walk (and the talk is great too)
One of my favourite ever books is Charles Sprawson's The Haunts of the Black Masseur. It's a book about swimming - the whys, hows and wheres and whens, swimming as a pastime, as a... Read more
Published on 22 Jan. 2012 by Niko Nezna
5.0 out of 5 stars Great read even if you are a couch potato
I was given this and thought "huhhh" but having taken the plunge I was hooked. It's an easy,gentle and full of interest. Read more
Published on 5 Jan. 2012 by tipperary
5.0 out of 5 stars Walking, better than drugs
If there's one thing this book leaves you with, it's a sense of permanence which our psychographic trails will leave behind, long after we have passed, through the beautiful art of... Read more
Published on 20 Nov. 2010 by Medicine Fiend
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