Wednesday, April 11, 2018

Books I've Been Loving

There's nothing better than to get a little bit of free time to yourself, make a smoothie, grab a snack, and sit down with a good book in hand. Ever since I was little I've appreciated the escape a good story can bring. I remember when I was 3 or 4 years old, looking out the window of our rusty blue VW Rabbit, and wondering what the billboards that passed by in a whir outside said. I was so excited to go to school so I could learn to read, and ultimately to understand what everybody else already knew.

Books have always been there for me. They helped me escape the reverberating words of the mean girls at school; I could imagine myself in a completely different universe, flying through space, or deeply involved in drama as it played out in the pages of whatever author I was into that week.

As we become busier and other priorities come to the forefront of our lives, reading can sometimes take a backseat to other activities. About a year ago I decided to read more, and that coupled with so many "new" running books I had no idea were out there, gave me seemingly unlimited choices in material. It's been slow going, and I am just getting started, but here are three of my favorites if you are looking for something good to read:

Run Fast. Eat Slow. is actually a cookbook by pro runners and longtime friends Shalane Flanagan and Elyse Kopecky. This is a book I didn't read from beginning to end, but one that I will pick up from time to time when I want a great recipe suggestion or to read a small bit about nutrition and healthy living. So far all the recipes I tried came out so well, and I am excited to make more. I'm never very excited when it comes to cooking, but the recipes are easy to read and understand, and I never feel bad because everything's so good for you. It's nice to see what pro athletes like to eat on a daily basis (they include their favorites in this book), and has been overall a great reference.

Fast Girl is a memoir from one of my favorite runners, Suzy Favor Hamilton. It chronicles her life as a kid all the way through adulthood, from pro runner to Vegas escort and back again. Suzy is an amazing person, she's open and honest and vulnerable in a way that really allowed me to identify with her, even though we had different experiences and lives. She's honest in a way that most people aren't, unabashedly discussing her and her family's struggle with mental illness, how her illness manifested itself, and differences in thinking about and reacting to situations both before and during treatment. She makes no excuses for who she is, and while she isn't afraid to show her insecurities and vulnerabilities, there remains her constant search for happiness and self love that kept me turning page after page until the very end. I highly recommend this book.

Once A Runner, by John Parker Jr. is a book that was written in 1978, but is as fresh as if it were published yesterday. The book's fictional protagonist, Quenton Cassidy, has been a runner almost his whole life. This is the first book in a three part series, each one an amazing read. It begins with Quenton on a high school track in the evening, watching the recreational runners jog past. His memories in the book open the reader up to his amazing life, his struggles and his triumphs. His character is one the reader will fall in love with, and is so well written you feel like you know him and the other characters in the book. The whole time I was reading this book I couldn't put it down. This is definitely a must have.

These books have been my current picks. I'm currently busy reading a few more, and will review those soon. Most are running books, but I have a few wildcards in there (gotta switch things up, right?!). Keep smiling, keep running happy, and keep reading!

Do you have any suggestions on a good read? 

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