I’ve been getting on really quite nicely with my reading this month, with twelve books read – it’s a shame only five of those have been 20BooksOfSummer project books, but I kind of knew that would happen. I only have one NetGalley book and one book for Shiny New Books that I absolutely HAVE to read next month (OK, plus my Murdoch A Month) so that should allow me to get through a few more, and I have some slim novels and running books coming up.

Clare Balding – “Walking Home”

(21 August 2017, Oxfam)

Not the second volume of her autobiography we’d really like, but a book based around her popular (but unheard by me) Ramblings radio programme, describing people she’s met and walks she’s walked along the course of presenting it, and weaving in tales of some family walks around her parents’ home village and bits of her life here and there.

There’s a lovely chapter on the London 2012 Olympics (why does even reading about the opening ceremony still make me cry?) and her torch-bearing exploits and reporting on the swimming, and also a great chapter on the Walking Cure where she explores research and practical examples of the mental health benefits of walking (something I care about sharing deeply, as I help support a local Run and Talk initiative which encourages people to walk, jog or run and have a chat). She goes to Cornwall and doesn’t walk in areas I know but does talk about the Minack Theatre, where a friend of mine works, and she generally meets inspiring and fun people and has a good old walk. There are nice maps and photos, too. There is a very sad section about the loss of her puppy which I had to skip, but otherwise sweet and engaging and a fun, pretty light read with some serious messages.

This was Book 5 in my 20BooksOfSummer project.

Shiny goodness!

I reviewed Benjamin Zephaniah’s new autobiography on here recently, but I also submitted a less personal and more measured review to Shiny New Books, which was published this week. Do click through and use it as a springboard to find more fun new books to read!

I’ve now started reading Robert McFarlane’s “The Old Ways”. When I posted my original 20 Books Pile, a few people told me they’d been a bit disappointed by this, and to be fair, I set its bulk aside for the lighter Clare Balding book when I was having a slightly taxing week. But I’ve now started it (and discovered it’s almost like a heavier, more serious version of “Walking Home” anyway, being about, well, walking, the history of walking and people he meets along the way) and I’m finding it just marvellous, lyrical, full of lovely terminology and birds and landscape. I was a bit worried it was going to be the kind of book you have to immerse yourself in with swathes of time to read it, like on holiday, but actually I’m finding dipping in at mealtimes gives a lovely escape into a different world for a moment.