Books to Give to the Runner in your Life

books, running, triathlon

Eighty percent of my Christmas wish list is made up of books. Almost every year my parents ask for what I want for Christmas and I just send them my Amazon wish list, which is approximately a million pages long. I actually try to go through it and get rid of books occasionally.

Anyway – there are a lot of great new running books out this year and I want to read them all. One thing I have noticed about athletic books is that though they seem niche, the advice really is applicable to anything. I found Matt Fitzgerald’s How Bad Do You Want It? It was not only helpful for running, but for writing and finishing my dissertation. Running advice equals life advice.

So here are the running books I would give to a fellow runner (or to be honest, the books I would like to receive this year).

The Happy Runner : Love the Process, Get Faster, Run Longer by David and Megan Roche. Read an excerpt here.

Strong: A Runner’s Guide to Boosting Self-Confidence and Becoming the Best Version of You by Kara Goucher. File this one under a book that will be helpful not only for running, but for life.

The Trail Runner’s Companion: A Step-by-Step Guide to Trail Running and Racing, from 5ks to Ultras by Sarah Lavender Smith. I have not seen many (if any at all) trail running books for those running shorter distances — eventually I would like to run an ultra, but I think it will be another year (hello, baby C!) for that. I want something for trail running for where I’m at now.

North: Finding My Way While Running the Appalachian Trail by Scott and Jenny Jurek. I know. I have not read this yet. It is basically a travesty.

Run Fast. Cook Fast. East Slow.: Quick-Fix Recipes for Hangry Athletes by Shalane Flanagan and Elyse Kopecky. I love the original cook book and probably make something out of it at least once a week. That said, it takes a long time to make the recipes. I’m looking forward to cooking out of this one for hopefully some less time-consuming goodness.

Fast-Track Triathlete: Balancing a Big Life with Big Performance on Long Course Triathlon by Matt Dixon. I loved my first triathlon. It will probably be a long time before I’m able to do a long one (would like to do a few more sprints, before moving onto Olympic, then maybe half-Iron–life is long, right?), but in the meantime I’d like to flip through this book and plan.

What running books are on your Christmas list this year?

xo, Ali

Books on my To-Read List

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There are a lot of them. I have been pretty good at not buying new lately. We barely have the space for our currently amount of books and most of them are going into storage. I cannot “Marie Kondo” my books. The best I can do is try to avoid buying anymore, at least, not until we have a bigger place and more shelf storage.

Here are the recent additions to the “when I’m done with my dissertation, I will read these books” list.

  • Brazil: A Biography by Lilia M. Schwarcz and Heloisa M. Starling. Frankly, I probably would never have paid much attention to Brazil if I did not end up marrying a former Brazilian. Many of the dinner table conversations when visiting my in-laws are discussions of political corruption and life in Brazil. This biography seems like an interesting primer on the country.
  • The Marquis: Lafayette Reconsidered by Laura Auricchio. I love reading about the French Revolution. Previously my reading has mainly featured the more extreme components, but I would be interested in reading more about Lafayette. My favorite story about this French Americanophile: He was buried with soil from the United States so that he could say he was buried in a free land.
  • Twilight of the Gods: A Journey to the End of Classic Rock by Steven Hyden. I came to classic rock early in my life, but already well-past rock’s hey-day. I love music, but aside for love of certain bands and albums, I do not actually know too much about it. I do not ever expect to become a music expert, but it would be nice to know more about these bands and music I always have playing in my earbuds.
  • The North Water by Ian McGuire. Strangely, I have never read Joseph Conrad’s Heart of Darkness, but my favorite books explore loss of humanity while exploring nature. In this case, it is the arctic. Not to mention, one of my favorite books is Moby Dick and I love anything nautical and involving whaling.
  • The New Paris by Lindsey Tramuta. It has been a year since I have been in Paris and I miss it. We were only there for five days on our honeymoon and it is the first city that I’ve never lived in, but still feel a sort of homesickness for. Given that I’ve only had a taste of the moveable feast that is Paris, I want to see more, do more, eat more, and drink more. Before I go, I will be sure to read this book.

Happy reading!

xo, Ali

2018 Favorite Books So Far

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I finished my 20th book of the year this morning. It was a celebratory moment in itself because said book was A Dance With Dragons by George R. R. Martin which means finally, finally, FINALLY I have finished the Game of Thrones series. It has taken me since September 2017 with moments of pure reading enjoyment and pure reading hell (Brienne chapters are the worst). I will probably want to re-read them again before the next (and final) season of the show comes out, but until then I’m glad to finally be done with the series. Fare thee well, Westeros and Essos. Hello…well, I’m not sure what I will read next, if I will even start a new series at all.

If I was only reading about the trials and squabbles of those frisky folks on King’s Landing, I probably would have been finished with the series much sooner, but I find it difficult to be book-monogamous (also those Brienne chapters, my GOD!). I usually have several going at once, although I do try to make sure they are not all in the same genre.

Here are a few of my favorites so far in this year (in no particular order):

  1. The Outrun — Amy Liptrot This one might be a favorite, not for the year, but all-time. I keep going back to it, just to read paragraphs of her description of the Scottish Orkney Islands. I have this one on Kindle, the sooner I can get it in hardcover the better.
  2. Why Bob Dylan Matters — Richard F. Thomas Part of my “learn more about music, not just listen to it” project. It provides a great defense of Dylan’s Nobel Prize for Literature, and more importantly, made me appreciate Bob Dylan more and the long tradition he comes from. Plus, it was a healthy reminder that I really need to read my classics.
  3. 168 Hours : You have More Time Than You Think — Laura Vanderkam Some good tough love. Most of her advice is common sense and fairly obvious, but I always need a reminder.
  4. Just Kids & M Train — Patti Smith Scanning through my high schools journals last year, I read something I wrote with an adorable pretentiousness back in 2005: “I want to live a life of art.” And proceeded to explain how I was going to that. I know I am not the first person to write something like that, nor will I be the last. Reading Patti Smith reminded me of these younger ideals and challenged me to continue to hold them. Art is not something you try to fit in, cramming in the hours, but a way of existing and being in the world. I will put these on the “read every year” pile.
  5. The Call of the Wild — Jack London Never in my life would I ever think that a story about a dog would become one of my favorites. Jack London writes like an American.
  6. How Bad Do You Want It? — Matt Fitzgerald I am a sucker for inspirational tales of resilience. The thing is, even though this is a book specifically about endurance in competitive sports, every lesson in here could be applied to graduate school. I think it will make not only my running better, but how I dissertate and everything that is to come after.

I keep track of all my reading on Goodreads. I’m a sucker for the lists and challenges. Plus, those percentage bars that show me how closer or far I am from finishing a book are a type-A dream.

What books have been your favorites this year thus far?

xo, Ali