View all 5 comments. Jul 30, Kevidently rated it really liked it. When you're a big fan of a prolific novelist, it's sometimes difficult to picture them enjoying other stuff. You tend to have this image of them, hunched over typewriters or keyboards, pounding away at whatever novel comes next. When they're not writing, they're reading, absorbing the work of so many others so that it recombines and reconfigures and adds and subtracts and becomes something brand new.
When Stephen King releases On Writing, it makes sense. I wasn't prepared for a book on race-walk When you're a big fan of a prolific novelist, it's sometimes difficult to picture them enjoying other stuff.
I wasn't prepared for a book on race-walking by Lawrence Block. I love Block. His three recurring-character series focusing on Keller the hit manScudder the PIand Bernie Rhodenbarr the gentleman burglar have managed to fill the Spenser-sized void in my life for the past few years. More, I've liked Block's books about writing - his approach to the craft and how he's worked to perfect it. When, in his latest newsletter, Block entreated fans to take a listen to the new audio version of his memoir about footraces and let him know what we thought, well, I was game but skeptical.
I don't care about running races. I live in Boston and the Marathon is interesting, but I don't really pay that much attention. How was I going to care about a long book, whose audio version wasn't even read by Block himself, about a subject I care nothing about? Here's why: because it's not a book about race-walking a sort of hybrid type of racing that's not running but not quite the power-walking, eithernot really.
It's a book about experience, and determination, and self-will. It's also a book about an old writer who considers himself, questions his origins as he explicates them, but, almost paradoxically, refuses to ponder deeply the reasons why he races, and why he walks.
Block's brilliance in this book is in not bogging the work down with detailed descriptions of the same sorts of races over and over. Once we understand what race-walking is, and what a standard race Step By Step (Radio) - Keith Lawrence And Mystro - Step By Step (Vinyl) half-marathon, or marathon is, we move along; subsequent similar races are summed up. We're here for the surmounting achievements, the way that Block, in his upper 60s, pushes past his own barriers and wins on his own terms.
There's also a lengthy, alternately serious and hilarious segment focusing on Block and his wife Lynn's walk across Spain via the Camino de Santiago. Block brings his trademark wit and casually nonstop storytelling to this section; one of my favorite parts was in how Block and Lynn maintained their sobriety by holding impromptu meetings daily, and during stressful moments along their journey.
If you're a fan of Matt Scudder, you know how important the meetings can be; for some reason, I never quite connected Scudder's sobriety with Block's; here, it makes perfect sense. The meetings become an integral part of Block's denoument, as Step By Step (Radio) - Keith Lawrence And Mystro - Step By Step (Vinyl).
Near the end of Step By Step, Block finds himself losing touch and verve with the things that brought him the most pleasure, especially the three Rs: writing, reading, and racing. I won't say what the outcome is, or exactly how the meetings play a part, because Block is better at telling it than I am at summing it up.
That's another thing: Block's writing - always accessible and exciting and often plain-spoken - is simply magnificent here.
The fact that he can make that interesting and not feel bogged down in numbers is a testament to the quality of the man's prose. One thing about the audio: it's always a little weird listening to the audiobook of a memoir not read by the author.
That said, narrator Michael Bonner gets you past those preconceptions very quickly. He has his own take on Block's pauses and asides that are almost immediately charming, and by the time you're on the Camino, the tenor of Bonner's voice has woven into Block's recollection so well that you forget it's not Block speaking to you.
You don't have to like racing, or walking as a sport, to like this book, though it may help. You don't have to like Lawrence Block's novels to like this book, Step By Step (Radio) - Keith Lawrence And Mystro - Step By Step (Vinyl), though it will give you some flavor and a sense of his greater struggle with writer's block. All you have to like is a tale well told, and on that measure, Step By Step is anything but pedestrian.
Considering how well Mr. Block spins a story, I was a little disappointed in the lack of throughline in his memoir. I can't say it lacked insight, but I'm used to reading memoirs in which the author mines their emotions and I didn't feel that in this book. Racewalking was the central theme, but that alone didn't seem enough. The ending also left me wanting. It was if he tired of writing the book and so he simply ended it.
While I can relate to that feeling, abandoning your reader is never a good Considering how well Mr. While I can relate to that feeling, abandoning your reader is never a good idea. Still, there was much pleasantness in this book which is part travelogue, part sports diary, part memoir. I related to much of his racing and training experiences and envied his ability to travel anywhere he wanted to run a marathon or an all-day race.
I also envied his writing productivity and general ability to simply sit down and finish a book! Then again, he was under contract for most of the books he mentioned and a deadline does wonders for productivity. All in all, I'm glad I read about the many adventures racewalking has brought to his life and I hope he has many more. Aug 14, John Marr rated it liked it.
Block's memoir of his career as an amateur runner-turned-racewalker is a lot better than it sounds. But, except for when he walked a famous across-Spain pilgrimage the highlight of which is a rabbit fucking a chickenhe's writing about walking around in circles.
Enagagingly, wittily and well, but ultimately, it's just about walking around in circles. All I can say is that when Block was ready to give up racewalking, so was I. May Step By Step (Radio) - Keith Lawrence And Mystro - Step By Step (Vinyl), Tammy rated it really liked it. A witty and entertaining memoir that will be enjoyed by walkers and non-walkers alike. Tons of humorous tidbits made me laugh aloud frequently, which is really saying something since I think I might be humor-impaired. Racewalkers and runners will especially enjoy the race and training stories, though no one could fail to get a kick out of one of the tales about the Anchorage Midnight Sun Marathon ah, but I will not spoil it for you.
You need to read this one! Sep 15, Christine rated it really liked it Shelves: memoir. I enjoyed this book, but I think it does require a slightly indulgent reader. Much of the book details Block's obsession with long distance racewalking, a topic I wouldn't have necessarily chosen to read about. But his distinctive voice and humor kept me reading. I think fans of his other work would enjoy this book, and it's refreshingly NOT an oversharing alcoholic's diary or something.
Aug 10, Louise rated it liked it. Too much of the book focused on the art of marathons and ultramarathons, injuries, and exhaustion. I was disappointed the author's memoir did not talk more about enjoying nature, hiking, and absorbing the world around him as he walked. Oct 07, Laurie rated it it was amazing. Block walks, at home in New York or on the pilgrimage trail to Santiago de Compostela. Either makes for unexpectedly fascinating and moving pun unintended Mar 17, Jean Weso rated it really liked it.
The author is a serious racewalker, and writes heartwarming about his adventures walking in hour races, marathons, on a pilgrimage through Spain, and about everywhere else. Dance to the '80s sounds of urban heartbreak and life in the big city. Blend Share. Please rate song:. Ban artist Ban song. Channel settings Rename channel.
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