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The Old Ways: A Journey on Foot - Robert Macfarlane

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Genre: Travel / Author: Robert Macfarlane / Hardcover / 448 Pages / Book is published 2012-06-07 by Hamish Hamilton

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      13.01.2015 00:55
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      Good book about travel, writing and the art of wandering

      Robert Macfarlane's 'The Old Ways: A Journey On Foot' is a book about walking, travelling, writing and nature. The book explores how these subjects intertwine. I read this book as I am particularly interested in the poet Edward Thomas. The penultimate chapter - 'Ghost' - is all about Edward Thomas, but there are also many smaller references to him throughout the book. I read a paperback copy of the book alongside an audiobook purchased on iTunes. I don't think I would have been able to read the book without the audiobook as it was very long and I lost concentration easily, especially in parts which did not specifically interest me that much. Overall, I enjoyed the book but might have preferred a book which was half of its size. I did, however, very much enjoy learning more about my favourite poet and the landscape around us - from paths to tracks to certain geographical features. The book made me want to read some of Edward Thomas's prose writings, such as The Icknield Way and The South Country. This book was also useful to me as I have an interest in psycho-geography (the way in which landscapes appear to drift in the readers' minds when subject tot certain writers' descriptions). I ended up mentioning Macfarlane's 'The Old Ways' in my personal statement as part of my university application to study English Literature. This was not the most enjoyable book that I have ever read and although I am likely to flick through the pages where I left colour-coded sticky tabs again, I will not be re-reading the book cover-to-cover any time soon (or perhaps ever). For the aforementioned reason, I cannot give the book 5 stars, so I will give it 4 instead.

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