Friday, 27 November 2009
A BOOK FOR CHRISTMAS
Richard Askwith's book Feet in the Clouds - a tale of fell-running and obsession - Aurum Press ISBN 1-84513-082-0 at 8.99p is the Poet in Residence - Bard on the Run book tip for the winter fireside. It's what it says on the box but it's also more. It's an insight into the human psyche. A study of what makes mountain top fanatics, in this case those craggy athletes the fell-runners, really tick. And what keeps them ticking. What's the motivation? Why the obsession? It's certainly nothing to do with money, as in most other sports. Richard Askwith shakes the nuts in the box. Takes off the lid.
Until 20-odd years ago several great fell-running champions were ostracized for winning twenty pounds here and there and were deemed professionals. At the same time doped-up gladiators known as track sprinters were running all over the globe as AAA amateurs and earning millions.
What others say:
A minor masterpiece - Sunday Times; One of the best books about the extremes of sporting endeavour that you will ever read - Independent on Sunday; A truly superb book - Westmorland Gazette; A wonderful, funny and surprisingly moving tale - Daily Telegraph; A book to stir the spirit - Independent; A book you don't want to put down - Conserving Lakeland.
If Feet in the Clouds is much too energetic for your post-lunch fireside armchair there's always this: Genteel Messages by Gwilym Williams ISBN 978-1-906357-17-7 (5.25p plus 2.00p&p via Poetry Monthly Link with PayPal). The 2008 Purple Patch Awards Best Individual Collection and now 12 months in the Poetry Monthly Best Seller List.
Can't decide? Then why not try both? I found my copy of Feet in the Clouds at Borders. And why did I buy it? Because it was there.
°the top picture (courtesy of Clayton-le-Moors Harriers) shows runners descending Ingleborough in the annual 3-Peaks of Yorkshire Fell Race.