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Walk the Lines: The London Underground, Overground

3.93  ·  Rating Details  ·  286 Ratings  ·  44 Reviews
As a lifelong fan of London, Mark Mason embarks on a mission to 'conquer' the capital once and for all. The only way to truly discover a city, they say, is on foot. Taking this to extremes, Mark sets out to walk the entire length of the London Underground - overground - passing every station on the way.

Over the course of several hundred miles, he comes to understand a spra
Hardcover, 384 pages
Published July 14th 2011 by Random House Books
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Nov 02, 2015 Tripfiction rated it liked it
Travelogue set in London (finding London’s soul?)

There isn’t exactly a dearth of books about London. You don’t have to spend hours scouring bookshops or sitting in front of the computer if you want to find out about its history, its people, its rivers or its architecture – indeed I guess you could stock a small British town library (remember them?) solely with books about, or set in, England’s capital city.

So what inspired Mark Mason to add another one to the pile? Well, he tells us in the Intro
Ian Brydon
Aug 31, 2014 Ian Brydon rated it it was amazing
Over the last year or so I have taken to walking around London, completing staged routes such as the Capital Ring and London Loop, and have marvelled at the wealth of interesting sight and the variety of neighbourhoods. I am, however, a bit of a lightweight walker compared to Mark Mason who seems to think nothing of covering thirty five miles in a day. Nowadays I get tired just driving that far!

Mason lived in different parts of London during his twenties and thirties and, like so many of us, had
Anders Hanson
Feb 10, 2016 Anders Hanson rated it it was amazing  ·  review of another edition
Every so often you read a book that feels as though it was written especially for you. That's just how I feel about Walk the Lines. Over the last few days I have been exploring London by vicariously walking the route of every London Underground line through the efforts and writing of Mark Mason, and it's been fascinating.

Sometimes when I rate a book highly I wonder if it's just because I find the subject enthralling or whether it really is a good book, but I'm fairly clear with Walk the Lines t
Dec 29, 2014 Patrick rated it it was ok  ·  review of another edition
The one adjective which kept occurring to me as I read this book was pedestrian. I’m sorry to begin this way for two reasons: one, because it makes for a dreadful joke; and two, because I really don’t like that word. It’s a designation which belongs to an overcrowded vehicular age, and it has always seemed to me ridiculous that we should invent a category of people who are only doing what comes naturally to almost everyone on the planet. Not everyone drives a car or rides a bicycle, but everyone ...more
Nov 07, 2015 Steven rated it really liked it  ·  review of another edition
Shelves: kindle
Great fun and I imagine that anyone who, like me, loves maps, London, trivia, the idea of striving to complete what some would see as pointless challenges (but which aren't really pointless at all!) and/or shares at least some of the author's sense of humour and sense of wonder is likely to find it hard to put this down!

It's a very personal account and the philosophising as he walks along, while thought-provoking at times, gets a bit much after a while. However, it feels authentic - he muses on
Jan 16, 2016 Christopher rated it really liked it
I have lived in London for 4 years and prior to that had made many visits - I think the reader needs a reasonable amount of prior knowledge or experience of London to enjoy this book. Much is made of the hidden and quirkier aspects of places around the city, as well as musing on the prejudices/parochialism of its inhabitants. The pace and 'value' of the book begins well, with lots of interesting morsels about all parts of the first line the author walks (the Victoria line), but this fades over t ...more
Apr 11, 2014 Diana rated it really liked it  ·  review of another edition
I had a surprising amount of fun reading this book, which chronicles Mark Mason's adventure walking the tube lines. The book is largely a diary of Mason's thoughts about London and walking, but it includes several generous portions of interesting interviews with London characters and fun facts about the tube and the city. I totally ate up the London trivia, but I think what sticks with me most from this book were the discussion about maps and walking in cities. I come from a city where walking i ...more
Daniel Villines
Sep 29, 2015 Daniel Villines rated it it was ok
London is not a very big place, at least the parts of London that I want to see. Beyond Kensington Palace to the west and Greenwich to the east, the rest of London resembles the satellite sprawl of any big city. And that is how this book reads.

For virtually every Tube line, Mason begins his walk in some remote, end-of-the-line suburb, describes the sprawl as he approaches the heart of London, and then continues past the city into the suburbs again towards the opposite end-of-the-line. This book
Mar 15, 2014 Michelle rated it really liked it
Shelves: read-it-kept-it
The London Underground (Tube) is the bane and benefactor of every Londoner's life. You may bitch about it, but you can't live without it. But there are places on the Tube line you've never been, you have your fixed routes across town, to and from work, friends' places, the city centre, but what about those lines you never use, and what really goes on above ground when you are hurtling along in a tin can underground? Mark Mason sets out to follow the map of the London Underground above ground, wa ...more
Jul 12, 2011 Becky rated it it was amazing
I was contacted by Random House with the offer to review this book. As I love going to London, i thought this book sounded really interesting so I accepted. I received a copy of the book in exchange for an honest review.
Mark Mason decides the best way to conquer London would to be to walk the entire Tube system overground. Dividing the lines up he walks from station to station. Picking up conversations, observations and facts about his surroundings.
Each Line is a new chapter and has a map of th
Jim From YAYeahYeah
Sep 01, 2011 Jim From YAYeahYeah rated it really liked it
I was sent this book by the publisher in exchange for a fair and honest review, by the way.

Mark Mason, lover of all things London, sets himself a mission. To walk the length of EVERY one of the capital’s eleven Underground lines – but to do so overground. Travelling 403 miles, learning more facts about London than you could ever imagine, and meeting a variety of people – including the Krays’ biographer – and find out that the legendary Circle Line pub crawl (drinks in 27 pubs, one for each stati
Shaz Goodwin
Jul 11, 2011 Shaz Goodwin rated it liked it
The synopsis is exactly what you get on this journey walking the streets that run alongside the London Underground – but above ground.

There is so much interesting information shared – I found it fascinating. It’s not just historical information (which I love) but insights into the businesses, shops, architecture and residents that populate those streets that the author walks. He can tell how affluent an area is and how much a part of the hub of London a place is. In a way, this book reminds me o
Dec 08, 2011 Maureen rated it really liked it
Shelves: london
Walk the Lines: The London Underground, Overground is precisely what the book is about. Mark Mason decided to walk the entire length of the London Underground, overground.The author shares details about how he completed his unusual challenge and in the process, he provides a comprehensive view of London that entertains as well as informs.

Starting with the Victoria Line in the first chapter, the author shares tidbits of information such as where you can find Little Ben (a replica of Big Ben),why
Gavin Felgate
Aug 14, 2013 Gavin Felgate rated it really liked it
Mark Mason's book charts his efforts at walking along the routes taken by the London Underground lines. During the book he talks about everything he sees, including notes about the geography of the areas he visits and random things that he observes on the way, as well as including fascinating historical facts (plus some very geeky ones regarding individual stations), plus he talks about various people he interviews on the way, such as the actor who voiced the "Mind the Gap" announcement heard of ...more
Apr 25, 2016 Margaret rated it it was amazing
I took my first ride on the Underground when I visited London last year, and promptly fell in love with it.

Mark Mason's wonderful book is a walking tour of all the lines above ground. Some took three days to traverse on foot!

This book is a wonderful homage and love letter to the Underground system, and London in general.

There is so much marvelous trivia in this book on people and places, that it is the sort of book you keep to dip into again and again.

It will also be a memory jogger for those w
Gerard Hogan
Aug 16, 2015 Gerard Hogan rated it really liked it
Mark Mason had a crazy idea, why not walk the London Underground, above ground? His partner thinks he's mad but it is a brilliant premise for a London travel book.
It's a simple idea but well executed. My favourite was the overnight jaunt along the Jubilee Line (only line to intersect all the others) where he hits central London as the city is waking up. It's beautifully described by Mason.
There are a multitude of facts for all London trivia fans to enjoy which I lapped up eagerly.
A treat
Dec 27, 2015 Richard rated it liked it
An enjoyable enough read but somewhat mundane. I couldn't help but feel that Mark's friend Richard, who clearly has a good knowledge of the tube and its history,might have written a more informative and interesting book on this subject. There was a lot of unimportant trivia such as what Mark had to eat and drink during his rest-stops which I could have lived without.
James Cridland
Aug 26, 2011 James Cridland rated it it was amazing
Interesting book - a clever and interesting coming-together of an interest in the London Underground, of maps, and of London itself.

This is full of great and interesting anecdotes about London; there's some fascinating information in it. Of course, he says little about the parts of London that I'm most familiar with - as is always the way in these types of books - but there's enough in here to open the eyes of anyone who's lived in London for long enough.

Some parts don't quite work - his circle
Peter Gates
Dec 15, 2013 Peter Gates rated it liked it
I love London and enjoy quirky books, so I thought this was going to be a really good read. In parts, it was. However I didn't get what I was expecting. I had assumed I would get an insight into London; present day and past. But what I got too much of was rather tangential stuff about the author and the journey, and his mate. I'm sorry to say, as I got further and further into this book it became more and more of a challenge, such that like all long tedious train journeys where people won't stop ...more
Jun 01, 2014 Steph rated it really liked it  ·  review of another edition
I liked it. I bought it for my Beloved's birthday and he liked it but found it got a bit same-same towards the end. I found that also but overall, a good read, chock full of interesting things and people and new thinks about some parts of London I know well and others, not at all. Based on this book I would be inclined to ready more of Mark Mason's work.
Julie Creffield
Feb 28, 2014 Julie Creffield rated it really liked it
Loved this book and had to keep putting it down because of all the juicy facts I wanted to absorb!!
Mar 31, 2016 Stoic_quin rated it liked it
Interesting enough read. I'll stick with my walking more fun routes.
Jul 15, 2015 Peter rated it it was amazing
Shelves: london
Full of great London trivia as you might expect, but also surprisingly deep philosophical insights into what makes the city (or indeed any city). I suppose walking over 400 miles gives you a lot of time to think about these things, and it shows. Also Bill Drummond makes a surprise appearance, which is never a bad thing.
Mar 23, 2015 Emma rated it it was amazing
Probably the best book I'll read this year. Very well written.
Jul 12, 2012 Nia rated it really liked it
Really engaging and packed with tidbits of information that are genuinely interesting. Made me want to walk the lines myself! It gives a different picture of London that is punctuated with meetings with people like a city planner, a taxi driver and a rockstar, to name a few. There's a good degree of personal insight, as well as insight into the workings of London, both geographically and societally. A good read!
Jan 05, 2014 Louise rated it really liked it
Mason's book has a unique selling point - he follows all the London Underground lines but instead of looking at station buildings or trains he has interactions, adventures, conversations and experiences above ground in this engrossing and clever book which will appeal to transport nuts as well as those who enjoy books similar to those written by Bill Bryson.
Jun 25, 2014 Duncan rated it it was amazing  ·  review of another edition
Immensely enjoyable read. I love the whole London tube and this book really brought the city to life in a whole new manner.
John Dodds
Mar 13, 2013 John Dodds rated it it was amazing
I enjoyed this book a lot. The concept is simple: the author's thoughts and feelings as he walks the 403 miles of the London Underground network, following the lines above ground. I found the author engaging and the book taught me a lot of new things about a city I have lived in for nearly 30 years.
Feb 28, 2016 Kim rated it liked it
I wish Mason had revealed more about the people he met during his undertaking than about himself. But I did learn a lot about some places in London, including in my own neighborhood, where there is a bridge from which Mary Wollstonecraft apparently once jumped in an attempt to drown herself.
Alexandra Vieira
Aug 21, 2013 Alexandra Vieira rated it really liked it
Great book for people who love London and want to know more about it. The underground is truly an amazing structure. Mark Manson is a decent writer with some strokes of very good writer here and there when the city particularly inspires him. Would strongly recommend it
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Mark Mason's previous non-fiction includes The Importance of Being Trivial, Walk the Lines, The Bluffer's Guide To Football and The Bluffer's Guide To Bond. He is also the author of three novels, and has written for most British national newspapers (though never about anything too heavy), and magazines from The Spectator to Four Four Two. He lives in Sussex with his partner and son.
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