Saturday, 17 November 2012

Book review. Walking Home

Hello and Good Morning, it's dull, damp, and miserable here at the moment, but there are signs of it brightening up. The mist has lifted, and you never know, the sun might make an appearance a bit later. So let's crack on with this book review before lunch.
I picked this out as something I would be interested in having walked bits of the Pennine Way myself, little bits I might add, not great big chunks of it. Well ok, dipped in and out of it during my trips to Yorkshire and Derbyshire. Simon is a poet, not a walker, so it interested me to read his perspective on the countryside he was passing through.
I call him a poet, but he is in fact quite a lot of other things. He writes for radio and television, writes novels, translates, teaches, and has been awarded a string of honours and awards for his work. You can read about him on his web site.
The book. I am not a fan of poetry, I cannot understand half of it, to me it is like a jumble of words thrown into a pot and fished out at random. When I read it I can't make sense of it. I vaguely remember the poetry I leant at school, the word at the end of every line rhymed with the line before it, or the one before that. It flowed in a natural way, it sort of rolled off the tongue like flowing honey. Poetry which doesn't rhyme trips and falls over itself as it is spoken, tumbling out in no particular order. That's how I see it.
If you like walking you will like this book. If you like reading about other people's travels, you will like this book. If you like poetry you will love this book, because the whole book is like one huge poem. I struggled with the poetry part of it but ploughed on because I was enjoying the references to places where I have been myself. At times the author takes a literary diversion and includes references of previous trips to other places. A bit like his thoughts running away with him. Some passages seemed to be like extra padding, not absolutely necessary.  
Even though it was easy reading there was a lot of big words which I wasn't too sure about. Simon is a very clever man, far better educated than I ever will be. He crafts his words as would a sculptor or a master craftsman would. He walked this path from North to South, most people do it the other way round. He gave poetry readings at pre arranged venues along the route, asking for donations rather than charging an entrance fee. He did very well out of it, and after taking out his expenses still had quite a bit of profit left over. The figures are detailed in the book.   
There is a short video about his trip here in the Guardian newspaper. It's interesting to meet the man.
In fact there is loads of stuff about him on the www, a very clever man.
Toodle pip


  1. You are criticising your lack of education but you are commenting about the book like a true pro! Phrases like " He crafts his words as would a sculptor or a master craftsman would" are truly descriptive words themselves!

    I think I'd like the book too and will look out for it. I've also done some stages of the Pennine Way.

    If you ever get hold of it try Wainwrights "A Pennine Journey" which was his own journey from Settle to the Roman Wall, just before the outbreak of War. All he took was a lot of maps, a couple of pairs of socks and a couple of hankies for the whole journey! Fascinating reading. (If you can't find it you can always borrow mine)

  2. Have you ever thought of hiking the Appalachian Trail in the States, it's on my bucket list to at least set foot on it and walk at least a mile!!! I am not a big walker but the blogs and forums about it here: sound great.

    Gill in Canada

    1. No I haven't thought about it Gill, far too adventurous for me.

  3. I've found the best (sometimes the only) way to enjoy poetry is to hear it spoken aloud. Preferably by someone else! But if I was trying to read a book written as a poem, I would try reading pieces aloud to myself. I'm not much of a speaker, but at the very least, it would entertain the dog! ;)

  4. Well thanks for giving your thoughts on it. I'd like to read it for the walking and countryside aspects but am put off now I know it's one long poem. I will read poetry and there are some I enjoy but like you, I feel unsure how to read some poems and I don't have the kind of brain to interpret them and see the real meanings, I have a good brain for maths and science but not literature - I take what ever is written very literally and can't seem to grasp metaphors or the hidden meanings you get from poems... I need someone to point it all out to me to fully understand most poems!

  5. 'trips and falls over itself as it is spoken..' 'rolled off the tongue like flowing honey..' Hmmm, sounds kinda poetic to me.

  6. I think I should stick to writing in the mornings as my brain is more alert. If I leave blogging till the end of the day, all that comes out is a load of drivel, ha ha.

  7. I think sometimes poetry is like Shakespeare - when it is read aloud - or acted - it suddenly comes alive and makes sense...especially if it is read by the poet themselves. But don't knock your lack of education. Education doesn't make you intelligent, witty, interesting or clever - all of which can be used to describe you!

  8. Wow, the recommended book is £9.02 on my kindle.
    I nearly always go to the web site for free books for kindle.

    Not so keen on the library as I find it a hassle having to take the books back before they run out of date!

    I am reading a paper book I enjoyed so much I am reading it for about the 3rd time.
    It is called "Narrow dog to carcassonne" by Terry Darlington. It is about a retired couple and their whippet called Jim. They sail their narrow boat across the channel and down to the mediterranean.

    I sometimes wonder if it is just a good story as I cannot see a canal boat traveling the sea to France.

    I picked up the free Boots "health and beauty magazine today wile doing a little shopping.
    A free read, then will pass it on...

    from House Fairy.


Trolls will be deleted. Please include your name in your comment, or choose the 'Name' option and put your name or whatever you call yourself, in the box. Thank you.