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BBC revisits Laurie Lee’s As I Walked Out One Midsummer Morning

Next week’s BBC Radio 4 Book of the Week will be Laurie Lee’s account of walking in Spain, As I Walked Out One Midsummer Morning. The show marks the centenary of Lee’s birth on 26th June. The memoir was published in 1969 and is the sequel to Cider with Rosie. The author leaves rural Gloucestershire […]

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Village in the Jungle, Leonard Woolf’s forgotten colonial masterpiece

The BBC writes about Leonard Woolf’s forgotten Sri Lankan novel, The Village in the Jungle, saying it has been unjustly ignored. Virginia’s husband published the book in  1913 and it is notable because it is the first novel in English literature to be written from the indigenous point of view rather than that of the […]

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The finest literary locations

Put away your passport and forget about the luggage. The literary world is full of fictional locations that can all be visited with the simple turn of a page. From the outdoor life of farms and villages that are not what they seem to lonely islands and lakes full of mysteries, these books will take […]

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The vintage travel books of H.V. Morton

Last month I picked up my first H.V. Morton book, A Stranger in Spain. I had learned a little about Morton from my research for our 50 Essential Travel Books feature so a shelf of his work proved irresistible to someone who enjoys thoughtful travel writing. Flicking through the book, I knew I had to buy […]

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No Picnic on Mount Kenya – from prisoner of war to mountaineer

No Picnic on Mount Kenya – it’s one of the great travel tales of the 20th century but it seems more like an adventure story. In 1938 Felice Benuzzi graduated from law school in Rome and joined Italy’s Colonial Service, who posted him to Ethiopia as part of Italy’s occupying force. World War II kicked off […]

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Writers inspired by walking

Found on old edition of the New York Times from April and while browsing the travel section, I found a list of eight writers who walked. Or rather found literary inspiration through their walks. William Wordsworth – a fellow poet Thomas de Quincey believed Wordsworth walked over 180,000 miles during his lifetime and spend most […]

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The Book of Canoeing

I don’t have much say. It’s Monday and I’m worn out after a four-day trip of outdoor adventure, so I’m just going to show you this lovely book from 1935. The Book of Canoeing: How to Buy or Make Your Canoe and Where to Take it by Alex R Ellis covers canoeing on canals, rivers, […]

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150 years of the Tube – Beck’s map, a wartime wood engraving, history & posters

The first journey on the London Underground was made 150 years ago, on 9 January 1863. The carriage was pulled by a steam train so imagine the smoke and dirt on that journey. The Daily Telegraph has a round-up of the Tube’s cultural impact but surely the Tube has always been a friend to booklovers […]

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The greatest bicycle manual ever written

The excellent Peter Harrington blog, The Cataloguer’s Desk, considers the greatest bicycle manual ever written, Archibald Sharp’s Bicycles and Tricycles: An Elementary Treatise on their Design and Construction published in 1896. By the 1890s bicycles were incredibly popular, and there was need for a comprehensive guide to their design and maintenance for the general public. In […]

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Jack Kerouac’s 63 days on a mountain-top

On the Road author Jack Kerouac spent 63 days as a fire lookout on top of a mountain, Desolation  Peak, in Washington State in the summer of 1956. A lady from the New York Times travel section recently hiked up to the top and enjoyed the view enjoyed by the writer. A fire lookout is someone […]

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