the wander society book coverReviewed by Alisha Churbe

The Wander Society is a call to action. A call to action, an invitation to join an anonymous organization that includes members of the literary community, as well as other famous people. The invitation is to join the society and conduct research. The first page asks a list of questions and invites you to join The Wander Society. The rest of the book describes the organization, provides quotes of inspiration, and ‘how-to’ guidance to home make items to assist you in conducting your research.

“You probably haven’t heard of The Wander Society because its members don’t want to be known.” The premise is intriguing and secretive. The Wander Society invites you to walk and explore. Not walk to the store, or to the bus for work, but to walk aimlessly without a destination. Walk around without a destination; wander through your neighborhood, city, or a park. Wander and take in everything with your senses. Look, feel, smell and hear things that you are normally too tuned out to notice. Let your “mind and soul roam.” The book is not as sentimental and spiritual as it might seem. The act of wandering is meant to experience the world through your senses rather than through your smart phone, laptop or television. It’s meant to allow time to unplug and gather your thoughts. It’s meant to give you time to think, meditate if you wish, and relax.

Smith is famous for her “Wreck This Journal” series in which a journal provides assignments on each page such as “Collect Fruit Stickers here” or “Write one word over and over“ or “Rub this page on
a dirty car.” The books are meant to boost creativity and acts of randomness. My aunt found a book of postcards by Smith and sent me one listing an “Itinerary,” a list of items to do in the closest park such as “arrange something you found in a circle (leaves, stones, etc.)” and “leave something of yours in a secret location”. Smith’s books and journals are meant to redirect energy and gives the reader ideas for
further thought and exploration.

Smith’s books are great. I really enjoy them. I read The Wander Society in a day and can’t wait to buy a copy for a friend of mine. I felt inspired and enlightened. The Wander Society is small – coming it at 175 pages with many photos and pictures. There are lists of books to read, quotes from famous wanderers, and step-by-step directions on how to knit a band, tie a few common knots, and sew the spine of your own homemade notebook.

The Wander Society is inspiring and an act needed in our society today. It talks of slowing down, taking time, imagining, and living simply.

Rating: ★★★½☆ 

Part-time fiction writer, Alisha Churbe lives in Portland, Oregon. In the rare instances when you can pry her away from books, Alisha can be found travelling in foreign countries, cooking, or hiking with her husband Michael and dog Euro.

Review copy was provided free of any obligation by Penguin Books. No monetary or any other form of compensation was received.