The Book Show S3 #6 (On The Move with Jon Day & Bill Bryson)

This week The Book Show is travelling, going places, getting there – and looking at how we move around.

Graphic designer Paul McBride and Design history lecturer Mary Ann Bolger explain how getting from ‘A to B’ involves quite a lot of reading – we just mightn’t always realise it.

Wayfinding is the term used for how we navigate our way around airports, for example. We hear how type and font and use of international icons is crucial in assisting our journey around airports. Have you ever wondered why the sign for the bar is a martini glass, for example?

Jon Day used to be a bicycle courier in London and his thought-provoking essay, Cyclogeography (Notting Hill Editions) is a fascinating glimpse into a sub-culture as well as a cultural study of cycling, mapping and bicycles. How have these machines changed our relationship to our own bodies? Why do maps enslave rather than liberate us? Looking back on the history of cycling, bike racing, couriering as well as examining the work of writers such as Flann O’Brien and Samuel Beckett, Jon Day travels about his city from ‘A to B’ via Z and K.

Sinéad jumps into a taxi to hear about The Knowledge – a type of study every taxi driver has to complete in order to know their way around. How do taxi drivers (almost) always know where to go? London cab driver Samantha Dillon explains how learning off the A-Z has helped her memory as well as her learning difficulties.

Bill Bryson’s travels are well documented in his many books and he himself has even been played by Robert Redford on the big screen! His Notes From A Small Island came to light 20 years ago and was a memoir of his journey through the UK, his adopted home. Now, a UK citizen, Bill returns to his front yard with The Road To Little Dribbling which takes a look at Britain, its places and people, as it is today.

Bill reads a little from the book and talks to Sinéad about his adventures in travel and why he has never written about Ireland and possibly never will! He says that wherever he travels he’s always happier in a community but says there are also advantages to his position as ‘outsider’. He tells Sinéad about his 1996 book, A Walk In The Woods, where he hiked across stretches of America’s 3,300 KM Appalachian trail with his friend – and was filmed by Ken Kwapis in 2015.