With the recent glut of self-help books based on the works of great authors, I’ve been amusing myself with mock proposals, my favorite so far being Six-Pack Abs With Charles Bukowski. Another idea is a more generalized “exercise with the authors!”-type encyclopedia. Charles Dickens would have the first entry. From Jane Smiley’s Penguin Lives biography:
It was in this period [1838ish] that he took up the habit of long, vigorous daily walks that seem almost unimaginable today for an otherwise very busy man with many obligations. At a pace of twelve to fifteen minutes per mile, he regularly covered twenty and sometimes thirty miles. Returning, as his brother-in-law said, “he looked the personification of energy, which seemed to ooze from every pore as from some hidden reservoir…”
I think of this often as last year I received a fancy GPS-style watch with which to track my walking/jogging (or “wogging”). It was a very generous present, but it’s taken a lot of illusion out of my life. For example, pictured above is an overlook I walk to quite a bit that, if you asked me before, I would have told you was roughly a four-mile walk but which turns out to be more like two.
(If you have any similar “authors who exercise” tidbits, please feel free to share by email.)