Photograph by Dee Heddon
The Walking Library is delighted to be making a new Walking Library for Forest Walks. Commissioned by the National Forest. Over the past few months, we have invited suggestions for The Walking Library for Forest Walks, issuing the following prompts to inspire the imagination:
- What book transports you from your arm chair to the imagined forest?
- What book would help you see the forest for the trees?
- What book would provide seeds for thought and future forests?
- What leaves would you want to turn and share?
- What forest stories stretch both legs and minds?
We are delighted that we have received nearly a hundred suggestions and are now in the process of building up the library with a range of exciting and diverse reading materials, including fictional novels (Richard Powers’ The Overstory , Thomas Hardy’s The Woodlanders (1887), A.A.Milne’s Winnie-the-Pooh), ‘nature writing’ (Sara Maitland’s Gossip from the Forest and Robin Wall Kimmerer’s Braiding Sweetgrass), factual and practical guides (Jo Schofield and Fiona Danks’ The Stick Book: Loads of things you can make or do with a stick and Rob Strachan’s Mammal Detective) and collections of poetry (The Bees by Carol Ann Duffy and The Peace of Wild Things by Wendell Berry). The library will be donated to The National Forest Company.
Walking with The Walking Library for Forest Walks
We had planned to take the library out for walks as part of the National Forest Walking Festival in May 2020 and again at the Timber Festival in July. Unfortunately, Covid-19 restrictions made this impossible. We hope that we will be able to do so next year. In the meantime, we took the Library on its first digital turn by responding to photographs sent to us by The National Forest Company. We matched books with landscapes, as we would do on an actual walk, sharing and recording extracts prompted by the environments captured in the photos. You can join us on these virtual walks by clicking the video links below. We have also written a blog post about our virtual walking library for The Ecologist.
I hope it’s not too late to suggest a book! I just finished reading Canadian novelist Michael Redhill’s award-winning “Bellevue Square” of 2017, set in the urban, Kensington Market neighbourhood of Toronto. It tells the story of bookstore owner Jean Mason and her doppelgänger, and is a thrilling and sometimes terrifying careen, mostly on foot, through the streets of the city, and simultaneously into the labyrinths and mirrors of Jean’s psyche. I’m suggesting it because it creates a powerful sense of the wildness of the mind, loose in an unhinged, busy city.
Thanks Barbara.. I will add this to the catalogue.