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Pedestrian Crossing: Recommended Reads About Walking

As I wrote Straggle: Adventures in Walking While Female, I entered a world of books in which others walked faster, farther, and better than me. But I was encouraged by what Rebecca Solnit wrote in Wanderlust, that it is “the most obvious and the most obscure thing in the world, this walking that wanders so readily into religion, philosophy, landscape, urban policy, anatomy, allegory, and heartbreak.” Walking can give us a new perspective on what ails us, and no doubt some things can be solved by walking it out, walking it off or walking away, but it depends on who’s doing the walking, as well as where and how. Straggle is a book that emphasizes the delicate art of walking in a sometimes painful body with a trauma history. Like most people, I’m a package deal; when part of me walks, all of me walks. Many books about walking lean toward adventure or distance hiking, but my recommended books have been written about the importance of knowing where you walk and experiencing who you are as you go.

 

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Walking can give us a new perspective on what ails us, and no doubt some things can be solved by walking it out, walking it off or walking away, but it depends on who’s doing the walking, as well as where and how.

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Walk on Over: 8 Books about Walking and Place

Mobile is Tanis MacDonald's uncivil feminist reboot of Dennis Lee's Civil Elegies and Other Poems; an urban lament about female citizenship and settler culpability; an homage to working and walking women in a love/hate relationship with Toronto, its rivers and creeks, its sidewalks and parks, its history, misogyny and violence. How do we, in Lee's words, see the "lives we had not lived" that "invisibly stain" the city? What are the sexual politics of occupying space in a city, in a workspace, in history? How can we name our vulnerabilities and our disasters and still find strength?

In this recommended reading list, MacDonald suggests some literary walking companions.

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Sheep’s Vigil by a Fervent Person, by Erín Moure

Moure’s translation of Portuguese poet Fernando Pessao’s O Guardador de Rebanhos is such a work of beauty. Transposing sheep to cats and the fields of Portugal to the grid of streets around St. Clair and Vaughan Road in Toronto, Moure finds the underground creek system in the sewers, and follows history, geography, and the flow of …

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