In his first book, Simon Armitage decides to walk the Pennine Way as a modern troubadour, reading his poetry in exchange of money and a warm bed every evening. I found the history of the places and the people he meets on the Way very interesting. He tells you all in details, how the public valued his reading to the quality ( or not) of his lodgers. If you’re not afraid of the weather up North, the walk could be worth a try?
In the second one, he chose to do the coastal walk from Somerset to Cornwall. I found myself more interested by this book because of the setting in South-West. I thought I could even try. I was expecting picturesque and grandiose landscape thanks to the Coast but the description was quite quickly turned down by all the tragedies the sea brings to his ears as well as all the pollution that makes his daily walk a questioning on our responsibilities and our impact on the environment. I would probably still do it, but with a bin bag to pick up any litter on my way…
If I had to compare both books I will say the first one is full of first time experience ( first walking gear, first night at strangers place, etc.) and is a lot funnier. The second one feels like the poet had a mission to let his readers know about his surrounding, but the poetry produced on the way is richer of the experience.
– Reviewed by Emilie Bioud, Keynsham Library Assistant