Welcome to the Reading Doctor!
We introduced this service last year and we welcome your questions again in 2021.
Read more about Dr Louise here. Send us your questions for her by emailing us: email@example.com
Many of us are rediscovering our neighbourhoods, becoming connoisseurs of the street by necessity as we engage in one of the few permitted lockdown activities: walking. In these books, some walk for exercise, some to get somewhere, some walk mindfully, some professionally, some very seriously (and not always fetishised by a Fitbit), and some feature the classic figure of the flâneur – a strolling observer of contemporary life.
· Trampers write their plans in The Intentions Book, and when Rachel doesn’t walk out of the bush as scheduled, her father can do nothing but wait for news and worry, in the novel by Gigi Fenster.
· What began as a walking book, intended to ramble and meander, linking books and thoughts and landscapes, was jolted and ruptured by an earthquake, becoming instead The Broken Book, by Fiona Farrell.
· Two children lost in the Australian outback are helped by a teenage Aboriginal boy on his Walkabout,in the novel for middle readers by James Vance Marshall.
· A pioneer in the delightfully named genre of “outdoor literature”, Robert Louis Stevenson’s Travels with a Donkey in the Cévennes narrates his 12-day solo walk through France, while recovering from a (temporarily) derailed love affair.
· What’s a lonely golem to do during her long and sleepless nights but walk the empty and deserted streets of 19th-century New York City, exploring Central Park and the alleys and rooftops which are barred to her in daylight, snatching glimpses of the lives she cannot have; The Golem and the Djinni, by Helene Wecker, is about a displaced magical creature who wants to pass as human.
· For fifteen hours a day, Michael Brandow walks around lower Manhattan exercising his clients’ dogs and musing: he offers his observations, reflections, anecdotes and social critique in Gone Walkabout.
· In the trademark, tear-jerking style which has brought Nicholas Sparks legions of fans, A Walk to Remember is the one made by a dying young woman, down the aisle, on her father’s arm.
· Conceived while Will Self was Walking to Hollywood from Los Angeles airport, this satire is structured as a triptych which is concerned with the relationship between artists and their art.
· Walking is what distinguishes social sets in Jane Austen’s Pride and Prejudice: genteel ladies take a sedate turn about the drawing room, while Elizabeth Bennet marches across the fields, muddying her hem and bringing a fetching colour to her cheeks.
· Set amongst the walking tracks on the border between England and Wales and steeped in its evocative landscape, Bruce Chatwin’s novel On the Black Hill describes the lives of the Jones brothers on their isolated upland farm.
· Plagued by insomnia, Charles Dickens would aimlessly walk the streets of 19th-century London, and his personal observations of life after hours and out of sight became Night Walks and other Essays, as well as providing material for the characters, plots and settings of novels which were unusual for their depictions of working-class life.