I received a copy of In Praise of Paths from Greystone Books in exchange for my honest review. All opinions are, of course, my own.
In Praise of Paths: Walking Through Time and Nature
Torbjørn Ekelund is 49 years old and lives with his partner and their two children in Oslo, Norway. He is an editor in an online magazine called Harvest, which publishes articles about our relationship with nature and the environment.
Ekelund is also a writer, and he is delighted that his books have been translated into English. First In Praise of Paths, which is out now, and then A Year in the Woods, and The Boy and the Mountains, which are scheduled for release in 2021.
Read my interview with Ekelund on my other blog, Wild Hearted.
Publication Date: May 5, 2020
Publisher: Greystone Books
Famous First Words
“On mistaken point, at the mouth of the fjord on the southeastern point of Newfoundland, Canada, is a track, a footprint.”
AN ODE TO PATHS AND THE JOURNEYS WE TAKE THROUGH NATURE, AS TOLD BY A GIFTED WRITER WHO STOPPED DRIVING AND REDISCOVERED THE JOYS OF TRAVELING BY FOOT.
Torbjørn Ekelund started to walk – everywhere – after an epilepsy diagnosis affected his ability to drive. The more he ventured out, the more he came to love the act of walking, and an interest in paths emerged. In this poignant, meandering book, Ekelund interweaves the literature and history of paths with his own stories from the trail. As he walks with shoes on and barefoot, through forest creeks and across urban streets, he contemplates the early tracks made by ancient snails and traces the wanderings of Romantic poets, amongst other musings. If we still “understand ourselves in relation to the landscape,” Ekelund asks, then what do we lose in an era of car travel and navigation apps? And what will we gain from taking to paths once again?
My Thoughts & Takeaways
Do you enjoy hiking, nature, and, even more simply, just walking? If not, do you desire the inspiration to start?
Ekelund’s book is both simple and deep in ways you probably didn’t expect something could be. This book beautifully and succinctly describes the simple act of going for a walk. The author takes along a metaphorical path through paths that have much personal significance, others that have historical significance, and everything in between. Along the way, Ekelund divulges on walking, nature, and the human connection to it.
As I briefly read through previous reviews as I often do after finishing a book, I found two common types: the “couldn’t love it more” and the “it didn’t do it for me.” All I can say is I’m glad I fall into the former category. Perhaps one must have to have already found an appreciation for walking and nature to enjoy it or perhaps we as a society are too far gone to see the simplistic importance that Ekelund describes so wonderfully. I hope not.