San Marcos Greenbelt Alliance •  107 E. Hopkins St. Suite 121A; San Marcos, Texas 78666

The Loop


Outside / In at the San Marcos Public Library: Wanderlust: A History of Walking

Our Outside/In column features books about ways to discover, enjoy, protect, and advocate for natural areas and the protection of wildlife, prairies, woods, and watersheds.  We feature both new and classic books about hiking, biking, birding, outdoor travel, and other inspiring topics which will make you want to get up, go outside, and breathe some fresh air. Best of all, these books are yours for the borrowing from one of our favorite indoor spaces:  the San Marcos Public Library.

Wanderlust: A History of Walking


By Rebecca Solnit
Published by Viking Press, 2000

SMPL Call Number: 796.5109 SOL

Walking, says award winning essayist Rebecca Solnit, is “the state in which the mind, the body and the world are aligned.” Unfortunately, our speeding culture discourages people from taking the time to walk. If this happens, we risk losing a critical tie to ourselves as well as our communities and landscapes.

Solnit observes that walking is good not only for the exercise it affords but because it “allows us to be in our bodies and in the world without being made busy by them.” Her entertaining portraits of famous walkers like Henry Thoreau, John Muir, Aristotle, Rousseau, Wordsworth and Baudelaire’ suggest that the best thinking is indeed done by walking around. Solnit’s own memoirs of wandering on foot across the hills of California and England and down the busy streets of Europe’s great capitals offer inspiration to anyone who rails against the soulless supremacy of automobiles in the modern age. 

This pleasing and enlightening history of pedestrianism unfolds like a walking conversation with a particularly well-informed companion. Solnit’s book captures, in the ease and cadences of its prose, the rhythms of a good walk. Full of learned asides and juicy historical tidbits: it is a fine addition to the literature of rambling.

–From reviews in Kirkus & Library Journal.  Submitted by Stephanie Langenkamp, SMGA Outreach Committee Member and retired SMPL librarian.

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