Thursday, April 25, 2013

Once a Runner--#19 finished

This is probably the most classic runner book out there.  Written in the 1970s, it is funny how it still holds up today in many ways.  It really gives someone a little insight into running, especially training at a high level--really good stuff.  I was never really good at track back in high school but I now kind of wish I could have read this book back then.  At the time I thought I was in good shape but looking back, I had no clue.  Oh well, there was only one family that was running year round and 5 or more nights a week, so even if I would have read the book it probably wouldn't have changed me.

Fun book and at this point I will keep it.  I can see myself grabbing it again down the road to read or loaning out.  I do have the sequel that author wrote years later so might try to read that in the coming months.

Tuesday, April 23, 2013

Life of Pi--#18 finished

I haven't seen the movie yet, will probably wait for the video since I think it has gone through the dollar movie theater here.  This was a book that came through PBS and I think it was part of a deal back a couple years ago before the movie was made.  Since the movie, the book has had a kind of renewed popularity and I figured it was time for me to read.

Overall I liked it, interesting story and the ending makes you think that that is just what it was a story.  I think the short quick story he told at the end about his mother & a cook is the real story but he cannot believe in that reality, especially as a child, so the story with the animals & especially the tiger became his reality.  I am interested to know how or if the movie even touches on this.  The book is very slow at the beginning laying groundwork that I am not really sure some of it adds to the story.  This book took me much longer than normal, now I did pickup others & read during it also, but it didn't keep my interest enough to drive through it.

Glad I read it but really other than now wanting to sort of see the movie, I doubt much sticks with me.  I have posted it on PBS and there are 5 WL for it so should be moving off shortly, I hope.  I am still reading Once a Runner and should be finishing it soon.  Also reading Miss Morissa by Mari Sandoz and just started a short story book Throw like a Girl.  I hope I can find another book to start tonight as well.

Monday, April 15, 2013

Breath, Eyes, Memory--#17 finished

An emotional book about a family in Haiti and the troubles they are going through. It is from the point of view of the daughter, who was conceived through a rape in Haiti.  This daughter's face does not resemble the family and is one of the many things that has caused nightmares for the mom.  The mom moves away to New York while the daughter is a baby with the daughter being raised by an aunt in Haiti.  At 12 mom sends for the daughter and the mom's nightmares which have never stopped, returned with a vengeance.  Mom has also had to fight through breast cancer.  Mom still has in her mind the need to check her daughter's virginity and this causes a split between them and pushes daughter to a man who becomes her husband.  Lots going on in the book.

A good read and interesting story.  I have posted it on PBS but there are a couple hundred copies already on the system so probably not moving.

Thursday, April 11, 2013

Enough--#16 finished

This is a book by Juan Williams that discusses problems in black America.  It was written after Bill Cosby became vocal about problems he was seeing with the poor black population in America and asked what happened in the time since the Brown decision.  The book talks about the reaction both positive and negative to this and basically comes down on Cosby's side of things.  I thought it was a very good read and pointed out many things that seem to be common sense.  This whole issue kind of came to a head with Katrina and has now fallen out of the news I guess.  I think President Obama's election also affected it in that black issues have mostly fallen out of the news--reparations, complaints on No Child Left Behind, the rap and movie violence(except when a tragedy happens) and the poor underclass.

The book mentions and even quotes the then Senator Obama but he is a minor character and doesn't really come off on either side.  I think this is kind of telling in that it shows how little involvement Obama had with the African American/black movement on a major scale.  He certainly was not part of the civil rights movement being too young for that.

Oh well, I think the book points out some very good things about how people, all peoples not just black, can avoid a life of poverty--it even steps them out.  1. Get a high school diploma, college degree even better, 2. no children until at least 21 and married and working a job to support your family and 3. be good parents.  Those really are simple ideas and they should be on billboards and commercials.  Book talks about how some may want to keep and underclass so there will be government handouts and leaders can talk about these topics rather than actually solving them.  I would hope not, but have to understand not everyone sees things the same way.

I have already posted the book on PBS, there is 1 copy ahead of it, but I would expect it to move at some point.  I might add a 4th book, not sure yet.

Saturday, April 6, 2013

The Extra Mile--#15 finished

This is a book by ultra runner Pam Reed, who won the Badwater Ultramarathon 2 years in a row, beating everyone, men runners as well.  She is a pretty amazing runner, a kind of freak of nature--in that she runs and runs putting just enormous miles in and not getting injured and able to bounce back almost immediately.  The book came out in '06 I believe so it is a little dated in that I am not sure what she has done since then.  At the time of the book she was around 45 so her time as an elite runner was probably shortening.

The other really interesting thing about her was that she has battled anorexia from high school into her late 30s.  She says it is still with her but she is controlling it.  Kind of makes you wonder and she mentions this in the book, that her experience with anorexia may have helped condition her body to perform with little food like what happens in ultras to a degree.  Obviously she says she would never wish anyone to have or go through anorexia.

I will be posting it on PBS at some point, there are only 3 WL for it at this time so probably won't wait too long before posting.  I am still reading Life of Pi, but it has been ignored for a few days again.  I have also started Enough by Juan Williams and still working slowly on Memory Eyes Breath.  Not sure if I will look for another one, might wait a day or so to get some more read on these first.

Monday, April 1, 2013

Enemy at the Gates--#14 finished

This is William Craig's history of the Battle for Stalingrad in WWII.  This book does a great job of letting you know the devastation but even reading it, it is really beyond comprehension.  The toll on  lives--both soldiers and people living in areas was immense.  The toll on the buildings and land and cities and bridges, etc is just amazing.  This book really gives you the sense of how fortunate we in the USA really have not had a war fought on our land other than our Civil War.

This book does a good job of finding the history of the decision makers on both sides, Hitler & Stalin but also drilling down to individuals on the ground and generals in the Kessel.  It really is an extensive work.  I also like the fact that at the end he updates some of the people talked about in the book, updating us with what happened to them.  The book was written in the early 1970s so there were still survivors.

This book is one of my keepers so I will not be passing it along.  I kind of have a thing about Russian and this book fits right in line with that.  I am still slowly reading The Life of Pi and Breath, Eyes, Memory and have started Pam Reed's book on her Ultra running--can't think of the title right now.  Might look to start a 4th tonight or within next couple of days too.

Running update

A quick post on my running.  I was going to do a half marathon on 3/24 but instead it was cancelled because of a major snow storm.  It hasn't been rescheduled yet and I haven't found another race that I want to do.  Anyway that was a Sunday, on the Wednesday after Forest Park had it's path clear so I decided to do 2 laps there for 12 miles.  I thought about continuing till I did a half, 13.1 but with no water and legs being very sore, decided 12 was enough.  It was a slow 12 with the 12th being very slow.  I would have gotten through a half but I really am not in shape for one right now.

I did a very slow 2.5 on this last Sunday, Easter--I had eaten too much for lunch and I can never run good on a full stomach.  Oh well was glad to get the run in at least.  So at this point nothing is scheduled but I do want to continue to get my running in.