Sunday, July 29, 2012

Running after Prefontaine by Scott Parker

Running after Prefontaine.  A Memoir by Scott Parker

Running has led Scott Parker on a adventure through life's ups and downs and around curves, through the woods and out into the bright sunlight.  Scott's memoir is not merely about running but it is a philosophical look at how running is a metaphor for life.  If you can run miles and struggle through the running race, you can apply that to life's challenges and push yourself to do anything you want.

Scott runs everywhere and pushes himself with minimal training (in some instance) to try marathons, as well as to run in off road trails into the woods.  He tells the reader about the perils of running, the injuries, and sometimes the defeat.  But just like life you need to get up everyday, get dressed, drink your coffee and lace up your tennis shoes and get out there and do it all over again.  "The running writer George Sheehan says, "I'm my own hero". pg. 116

You don't need to be a runner to enjoy this entertaining memoir.  I am not a runner, well I used to run until I got bursitis in my hip and so I no longer run but I have never been a runner, not competitively anyways.  I learned so much from this book especially who the running legend, Prefontaine is.   I could definitely relate Scott's philosophy to my own life and I could picture the joy he gets from running and transferred it to the joy I feel being outside, hiking or backpacking.

Scott has a creative writing style which is invigorating.  I love the changed of styles in Running for Prefontaine and frankly it is the perfect book to read before, during and after the Olympics.

Saturday, July 28, 2012

Going on a Road Trip!

                                                                               ROAD TRIP!!

Hey Everyone, I am taking my two kids (one has Whooping cough) on a road trip to South Dakota, Wyoming and North Dakota.  We will be gone about 10 days.  We are driving about 2000 miles, covering four states counting Minnesota, with five or six different places to stay, and attending one wedding.  Seeing countless sites, hopefully horseback riding and having tons of fun. My posting will be limited as will my internet coverage.

I am hoping to read two books while I am gone.  Black Elk Speaks.  Being the Life Story of a Holy Man of Oglala Sioux as told through John G. Neihardt which takes place in South Dakota and The Horizontal World.  Growing Up Wild in the Middle of Nowhere by Debra Marquart which takes place in North Dakota. 

Talk to you all soon.

Friday, July 27, 2012

Scott Parker Author Interview + Giveaway

Scott Parker Author Interview + Giveaway

Scott Parker is the author in the spotlight here on Booksnob for the month of July.  I was lucky to be able to interview Scott on his life,  his book and the sport of running.  Welcome Scott.

      1.   Tell us a little bit about yourself?

I like ice cream? My cat’s name is Mavis?
      2.  What inspired you to write Running After Prefontaine?

I used to write a lot for books like Football and Philosophy, Golf and Philosophy, Alice in Wonderland and Philosophy, and others like that, but I missed out on Running and Philosophy, which is the one that most interested me, so I sat down to write my own essay collection on running. As I worked on the book, I saw that it would work better as memoir.

3.     Can you tell us why or when you decided to become a writer?

I don’t know that it ever felt like a decision. Over a number of years, I found myself writing more and more. Eventually I accepted that someone who writes a lot . . .

4.     Some of us have never heard of Prefontaine.  Can you tell us who Prefontaine is and why are you running after him?

He was a lot faster than I am. Steve Prefontaine (or, Pre) is the iconic American distance runner. He was known for being a gutsy runner and a showman. He held many American records, won multiple national championships in college, and placed fourth in the 5,000m at the 1972 Olympics. As good as he was, it was his charisma that made him a star. He died in 1975 in a car accident with his best running years still ahead of him. He’s been the subject of two biopics (one of which, Without Limits, is very good) that have helped him remain in the public consciousness. He’s an inspiration to almost anyone who’s interested in track, and r
really any American who runs distances encounters his legacy. But that’s especially true for runners from Oregon (where I’m from). Pre grew up on the coast there and ran for Bill Bowerman at the University of Oregon. He’s a central part of why Eugene is known as Track Town USA.

5.     Do you have to be a runner to enjoy your memoir?

I sure hope not. One thing I should make clear here is that this isn’t one of those books where a great runner summarizes his accomplishments. I’m a mediocre runner who enjoys running for the meaning and sense of joy it affords. If you don’t like running, you should see parallels to activities that do inspire you, whether that’s swimming or dancing or painting or cooking. It’s one of the ongoing arguments of the book that we should pursue activities in our life that do nothing but bring us joy—but hearty joys that require work on our part, not passive joy like being entertained by something electronic 24/7.

6.     We know you like to run, but do you like to read?  What authors or books influence you?

So many. I’ll stick to memoir and mention just a few books that have been important influences for me: Dave Eggers’s A Heartbreaking Work of Staggering Genius; David Shields’s Enough About You: Adventures in Autobiography; Debra Gwartney’s Live Through This; Poe Ballantine’s 501 Minutes to Christ; Mary Karr’s The Liars’ Club; Joan Didion’s The Year of Magical Thinking; Nietzsche’s Ecce Homo. I could go on, but those are some that come to mind.

   7.  Do you have any advice to give to aspiring runners and/or aspiring writers?

My first instinct is to say no. But if pressed I would advise runners to think about why you’re running and what you hope to get from the sport. If it’s to win races, I don’t know what to tell you. That’s never really been my aim. If it’s to look good naked, good luck. If it’s to feel alive and playful and spontaneous and happy, what my book tries to do is show you that that’s available to you too. The term I like to use is the joy of running qua running. Running can be challenging, it can be a form of self-improvement, it can also be tons of fun. That’s what I want to remind people. Aspiring writers: read lots.

8.     How many miles do you usually run in a year?  How many marathons?

I ran Grandma’s Marathon in Duluth last month. Before that it had been over a year since my last marathon. That’s about average for me. I’m on the every-once-in-awhile plan. My approach to shorter runs is similar. I try to run no more and no less than I feel like it, which ends up meaning I tend to run about once a week in the winter and almost every day in the summer. That’s been my routine since moving to Minnesota three-plus years ago. In Oregon it was much more consistent season to season.

9.     In one sentence tell readers why they should read Running After Prefontaine?

It’s the best thing since toe shoes.

Thanks Scott!  If you are interested in winning a copy of Scott's book Running after Prefontaine.  Click on the highlighted link:  Running after Prefontaine Giveaway

Thursday, July 26, 2012

Rebecca by Daphne Du Maurier

Rebecca by Daphne Du Maurier

The new Mrs. Max De Winter (who shall remain nameless) can't wait to begin her life as a young bride and newcomer to the renowned Manderley mansion on the Cornish coast.  When she arrives she is put off by the housekeeper Mrs. Danvers, who is still devoted to Max's deceased first wife, Rebecca.

If you visit the mansion of Manderley you will not find Rebecca there.  You will find her spirit as she roams the hall and haunts the walls.  The second Mrs. De Winter walks in Rebecca's shadow as she gets to know her husband and her surroundings.  Rebecca and Mrs. De Winter are opposites, one shy and quiet, the other talkative and vivacious.  Of course, the current wife feels she pales in comparison to the first.  Evil is lurking in unexpected places as the house tries to keep its secrets and Mrs. De Winter is being pushed to her limit.

 Reading Rebecca for the first time is a unique and satisfying experience.  The reader reaches a point in the book of shocked contentment and the book becomes an unstoppable page turner where you just aren't sure what will happen next.  De Maurier does an excellent job of setting up the mystery, the suspense and the romance and when combined with a house that is a formidable character and with the nervousness of the nameless narrator, you have a winning combination.  Rebecca will make the reader want to stay up all night reading under a blanket, holding a flashlight.

Rebecca is a timeless Gothic masterpiece.  From the first famous sentence, "Last night I dreamt I went to Manderley again.", to its last, Rebecca is unforgettable.  A book to read again and again.

Wednesday, July 25, 2012

Chime by Franny Billingsley

Chime by Franny Billingsley

Everyone knows that witches can't cry and that they write left handed.  Briony doesn't want anyone to know she is a witch because she doesn't want to hang from the gallows, which is what happens to witches in the Swampsea.  Briony's beloved stepmother has recently died, leaving her with promises to protect her twin sister, Rose, and to keep her secret from her father.  "Stepmother was very clear.  She'd told me again and again:  Briony plus the swamp plus the Old Ones is an explosive combination." pg. 29

Briony defies her dead stepmother again and again as she hears the voices of the Old Ones and tries to find her burnt stories and piece together the events of her life.  She meets a wonderful young man named Eldric and they forge a special bond as they run wild through the swamp.  It is hard for Briony to fall in love with Eldric because she has so much self-hatred built up inside of her.  She is literally walking around wounded inside but doesn't know it.

The swamp is an interesting character as it has magical bogs, spirits, witches, ghost-children, the Quicks, the Horrors, the Hot place, a Dead Hand and the Wykes.  You must not travel into the swamps without your Bible ball to protect you because it is a fearsome place yet it draws you in to play.

Chime's narrator is a bit unreliable and confusing and the book took about 100 pages to really hook me.  That being said, Billingsley has built a strangely unique fantasy world and I adored her creative characters.  Chime is full of multiple genres and Era jumping, (What is Era jumping, you say, well here is my definition) where it seems that multiple real Era's or time periods are represented in one inventive time period in the book.  Billingsley is a master of originality and inventiveness and with a strong female lead character like Briony, who can cut her own hand for the love of her sister, she leaves readers gasping for more stories like this.

Chime leaves the reader with much to Muse upon.

If you were a color what would you be?

If you were an animal what would you be?

If you were a historical personage who would you be?

If you were a sport what would it be?

Come and play in the Swampsea with me.

Tuesday, July 24, 2012

The Homecoming of Samuel Lake Contest

The Homecoming of Samuel Lake Contest

Hey Everyone, the publishers in conjunction with TLC book tours are giving away one copy of The Homecoming of Samuel Lake to Booksnob followers who live in the U.S. or Canada.  This is an excellent book and I highly recommend it.

Here is my book review:
The Homecoming of Samuel Lake Book Review

Here is the synopsis from Goodreads:

Every first Sunday in June, members of the Moses clan gather for an annual reunion at “the old home place,” a sprawling hundred-acre farm in Arkansas. And every year, Samuel Lake, a vibrant and committed young preacher, brings his beloved wife, Willadee Moses, and their three children back for the festivities. The children embrace the reunion as a welcome escape from the prying eyes of their father’s congregation; for Willadee it’s a precious opportunity to spend time with her mother and father, Calla and John. But just as the reunion is getting under way, tragedy strikes, jolting the family to their core: John’s untimely death and, soon after, the loss of Samuel’s parish, which set the stage for a summer of crisis and profound change.

In the midst of it all, Samuel and Willadee’s outspoken eleven-year-old daughter, Swan, is a bright light. Her high spirits and fearlessness have alternately seduced and bedeviled three generations of the family. But it is Blade Ballenger, a traumatized eight-year-old neighbor, who soon captures Swan’s undivided attention. Full of righteous anger, and innocent of the peril facing her and those she loves, Swan makes it her mission to keep the boy safe from his terrifying father.

With characters who spring to life as vividly as if they were members of one’s own family, and with the clear-eyed wisdom that illuminates the most tragic—and triumphant—aspects of human nature, Jenny Wingfield emerges as one of the most vital, engaging storytellers writing today. In The Homecoming of Samuel Lake she has created a memorable and lasting work of fiction.

Contest Rules:
Leave a Comment
Fill out the form
Must be a Booksnob follower.

U.S./Canada residents only
Ends August 8th at midnight.

Good Luck!


High Summer Read-a-Thon Wrap-up

High Summer Read-a-Thon Wrap-up and Mini-Challenge winner!

I love Read-a-Thons as they push my kids and I to get extra reading time in during the day and to finish all the books on our summer reading list.  Not much has changed since my update post a few days ago as the weekend was busy and did not offer up much free time to read.  Plus my son came home sick from Boy Scout camp and I had to take him to urgent care.  Poor guy.

Luckily, Georgia and I both accomplished our reading goals.  I finished three books and Georgia, my daughter finished two.

Here are our book stats:  Georgia finished,
1.  No Such Thing as Dragons by Philip Reeve
2.  Smile by Raina Tegemeier
She started a 3rd book called One Hundred Dresses by Eleanor Estes.

Laura finished:
1.  Rebecca by Daphne Du Maurier
2.  Olive Kitteridge by Elizabeth Strout
3.  The Homecoming of Samuel Lake by Jenny Wingfield

MINI-CHALLENGE WINNER IS:  Srivalli @Valli's Book Den blog
Congratulations Srivalli. 

Each participant had to take one aspect of the book they were reading and show an illustration/picture/photo for it.  Then they briefly explained the connection to the book. 

The winner, Srivalli did her mini-challenge on Dracula by Bram Stroker.

Thanks to everyone who participated in the mini-challenge and thanks to Michelle at The True Book Addict for hosting!

Monday, July 23, 2012

The Homecoming of Samuel Lake by Jenny Wingfield

The Homecoming of Samuel Lake by Jenny Wingfield

Samuel is a preacher who believes he has a purpose in the world, he just isn't sure what it is yet.   Swan, his precocious eleven year old daughter believes in miracles and plans to get one sent her way. The Lake family just moved in with the Moses family after
something terrible happened at the Moses family reunion and the tragedy sends the family spiraling toward unforeseen changes and difficulties, making it a summer to remember.

The devil lives next door and goes by the name of Ras Ballenger.  His eight year old son Blade, is afraid of him for good reason and runs away by following Swan home.  Swan decides to protect the boy and they forge an unbreakable bond.

The Homecoming of Samuel Lake will break your heart, make you leap for joy, and bring tears to your eyes.  You will fall in love with the Lake and Moses family and become a believer in miracles.  Jenny Wingfield has created a cast of characters who you will remember for a long time and a novel you will cherish.  It is truly that good.

The Homecoming of Samuel Lake is a page-turner that will keep the reader up late into the night.  You will feel love for the characters, anxiety at what is foreshadowed, joy for poetic justice and heartbreak at the evils all of us must endure, in a world that is not fair.  Clear a spot on your bookshelf because this book is a keeper.

Make your summer a season to remember by reading The Homecoming of Samuel Lake. 

Sunday, July 22, 2012

Paper Covers Rock by Jenny Hubbard

Paper Covers Rock by Jenny Hubbard

"If you are reading this, you have happened upon it by accident.  Call me Is Male." pg. 1  Alex is a sixteen year old student at an all male boarding school, who is writing his memoir of an event that changed his life forever.  He is also trying to read the great American novel, Moby Dick while at the same time he hides his journal behind it in the school library. 

Alex feels guilty because his best friend Thomas died jumping off a rock outcropping into the river and when it came to telling the officials what happened, he lied about it.   He was right there when it happened and the lines between truth and guilt become blurred.  "Such is the nature of guilt; such is the nature of truth.  But it is also the nature of guilt to sideline the truth.  Welcome to the sidelines, Dear Reader." pg.1

"By the way, Is Male has a big crush on his teacher." pg. 8.  Miss Dovecott teaches English and she sees potential in Alex and gives him special attention.  She also has suspicions he is not telling the whole story in regards to Thomas's death.  Alex communicates with Miss Dovecott through her varied and creative homework assignments.   He tells his story through poetry, essays, newspaper accounts and letters.  He is a rock who writes excellent papers.

Throughout the novel, are quotes from Moby Dick and the narrator Alex uses them to explain his own battle and struggles.  Hubbard is a former English teacher and her natural writing ability shows as she using her creativity to craft a wonderful, smart and witty novel.  The writing is beautiful and I was enthralled with Paper Covers Rock from the very first page. 

"Read to your heart's content.  Though if you are a reader, the heart is never content." pg. 2

Saturday, July 21, 2012

Readathon Update and Mini-challenge

High Summer Readathon Update and Mini-challenge.

So far the read-a-thon is going great.

My daughter has read two books:

1.  No Such Thing as Dragons by Philip Reeve
2.  Smile by Raina Tegemeier

She has started a 3rd book called One Hundred Dresses by Eleanor Estes.

Booksnob (I) have finished two books:

1.  Rebecca by Daphne Du Maurier
2.  Olive Kitteridge by Elizabeth Strout

I have started a 3rd book called The Homecoming of Samuel Lake by Jenny Wingfield.

**I am going to Participate in MY SERYNITI'S mini challenge based on the Page 99 Test Challenge:  Here is what you do:

  • Pick a book that you have on your to read list this week.
  • Turn to page 99.
  • Read page 99!
  • Now, from that page post in comments or link back to your updates on what you think of the book. Would you continue reading based only on the page 99 test?
I picked up:  The Homecoming of Samuel Lake and page 99 was so good.  I would definitely would buy this book and keep reading.

Here is one quote from page 99 that made me want to keep reading.

"She wished she could tell the men of the family that she was scared to death of Ras Ballenger, and ask them to be on the lookout for him and protect her from him.  But she couldn't.  If she asked for help, she'd have to explain about breaking the rules, and that would take more courage than she had in her."

Happy Reading!

Friday, July 20, 2012

King Peggy by Peggielene Bartels

King Peggy.  An American Secretary, Her Royal Destiny, and the Inspiring Story of How She Changed an African Village by Peggielene Bartels and Eleanor Herman

Peggy is a secretary in Washington D.C. and at four in the morning, one lonesome night, she receives a phone call, that the spirits have chosen her to be King. King of a small ocean-side fishing village in Ghana.  King Peggy takes that vocation and chronicles her life's most significant journey within the pages of this book. 

Peggy is to be King of Otuam which is where her family is from and where she grew up.  She arrives in Otuam to find it full of problems like no running water, no hospital or doctors, bad roads, no high school and no banks.  Basically she has inherited a bankrupt village where the elder's are stealing the town's money.  Her palace is falling down around her in despair, her uncle, the late king, waits in the fridge for a proper burial she can't afford and his children neglect to help pay for.  In short, Peggy has accepted the Kingship and is not sure how she is going to help these people much less pay the bills.

Peggy is not a regular King because she is a woman.  Let it be known that she rules like any man and does not let anyone take advantage of her.  She is headstrong, savvy and smart and she goes about transforming the village of Otuam.  King Peggy is a book of hope and the transforming power of faith, love and hard work.  King Peggy will teach you about the culture and customs of the people of Ghana.  You will laugh and you will be shocked and in awe of all that Peggy has to deal with in her small village.

King Peggy chronicles her first two years as King in her memoir.  If her next two years are anything like the first two, she will have another best selling book on the way.  Peggy's story is not like a Cinderella, rags to riches story, in fact Peggy ended up spending most of her saving's to help the village.  It is inspiring to think that you can go to bed a secretary and wake up the next day and be a King.  The spirits chose Peggy for a reason and she has proved herself to be a great King.  God Save and Continue to Help King Peggy!

Thursday, July 19, 2012

Rose of Fire by Carlos Ruiz Zafon

Rose of Fire.  A Short Story by Carlos Ruiz Zafon
(From the lost fragments of The Prisoner of Heaven)

One of my favorite books of all time is The Shadow of the Wind by Carlos Ruiz Zafon.  In it, there is the Cemetery of Forgotten Books, a labyrinthine library that winds underground.  Rose of Fire is a short story that defines the origins of this labyrinth and how it came into existence.

The story begins in 1454 when a ship was sighted aground on the coast of Spain with a soul survivor tied to the helm of the ship.  On the dying man's person was a journal written in a foreign tongue.  This journal holds the key to the labyrinth as well as the key to immortality and a vial containing one of Jesus Christ's tears.

Zafon weaves in the legend of St. George's day, that occurs every year on April 23rd.  April 23rd is often celebrated by book lovers as World Book Day and in Spain it is celebrated with a gift to your true love of roses and books.  A practice we have included in my family since my daughter's patron saint is St. George.

I heartily recommend Rose of Fire as a prequel to the Shadow of the Wind trilogy.  Read alone, it is 16 pages and will get you excited to enter the exhilirating world that Zafon creates.  Rose of Fire is only available as an ebook but the good news is, that it is free!

Wednesday, July 18, 2012

A Farewell to Arms by Ernest Hemingway

A Farewell to Arms by Ernest Hemingway

A Farewell to Arms begins in 1915 when Henry, an American, volunteers to be an ambulance driver for the Italians in World War I.    Henry is indifferent and detached from the war and survives by drinking a lot of alcohol and frequenting the local whorehouse. He eventually meets a vulnerable English nurse named Catherine and begins a primitive relationship with her. 

Henry is wounded by a mortar shell and spends months in the hospital where he consummates his relationship with Catherine.  They build an awkward relationship around his hospital room and fall in love.  Henry reluctantly returns to the war and takes part in the famous Italian Caporetto retreat and debacle.  Henry fights for his survival and those under his command.

Hemingway has created a novel with unlikeable characters who struggle to find happiness and peace during WWI.  It is a tragedy told in five parts.  It is melodramatic at times but holds to Hemingway's theory that "war is permanent" and that Nature "can have only one end".  Reading Hemingway, one must acknowledge that what isn't said in the book is just as important as what is.

A Farewell to Arms depicts WWI as difficult, depressing and impossible to escape.  Although Henry escapes the war through his romance with Catherine, it seeks to find him and forever destroy the desperate peace he has found.

The greatest part of the novel for me was the Caporetto retreat as it is well written and vivid in description.  Overall I liked the book even though I didn't particularly like the characters.  I think it is interesting to analyze Hemingway because he was obviously a great novelist for his time.  It is sometimes hard to read great books as their writing style and meaning are lost on a generation who didn't experience the truths and horrors that are represented in the pages of the book.  I do believe A Farewell to Arms is a valuable and memorable piece of literature and I am glad I read it. 

High Summer Read-a-Thon Mini Challenge

High Summer Read-a-Thon Mini Challenge

Are you a participant in the High Summer Read-a-Thon?
Then you can participate in this mini challenge!

Here is the challenge:  Take one aspect of your book and show an illustration/picture/photo for it.  Then explain it briefly so we know the connection to the book you are reading.

For example:
I am reading Rebecca by Daphne Du Maurier and here is a picture of Manderley I got from Piper Maitland's blog.  Most of Rebecca takes place here at the Manderley mansion in England.

Another example:
Olive Kitteridge by Elizabeth Strout takes place on the coast of Maine.  The book is a series of short stories and the coast of Maine is frequently referred to.
Please create your post and add your link to the linky.
Prize will be a gift certificate of 10 dollars to Amazon.
I will choose a winner on July 23rd.
Feel free to leave your e-mail address in the comments.  I plan to visit all the blogs.  

Include a picture of some type, book, author and at least one sentence connecting the picture to the book.
Link up
Winner will be notified via there blog or e-mail.
Have fun! 

Tuesday, July 17, 2012

Scott Parker Guest Post + Giveaway

Scott Parker Guest Post + Giveaway

Scott Parker is July's Author in the Spotlight here on Booksnob and he has written a guest post on Writing and Running and he includes five of his favorite running books. Welcome Scott.

Running seems a natural fit for literature. The hallmarks of the sport—solitude, persistence, and equanimity—are some of the hallmarks of writing as well. Many of the writers I know do some of their best writing while running, whether they’re thinking about writing or not. The rhythms of running are amazingly conducive to producing the kind of reflection that is necessary for writing. Not surprisingly, there is no shortage of great books on running. With apologies to George Sheehan, Alan Sillitoe, JerryLynch, and many other authors I’d include in a longer list, here are five of my favorite running books.

Christopher McDougall’s Born to Run: A Hidden
Tribe, Superathletes, and the Greatest Race the World Has Never Seen
is the book that exploded the barefoot
running movement. McDougall mixes research with first-hand reporting to

argue that the shoe industry’s ascendance, which has accompanied the running boom of the past four decades, has led to an explosion in running-related injuries. The problem, roughly, is that the common thickly-padded running shoe distorts the natural running stride, which can lead to all sorts of ailments. In addition to the compelling biomechanical angle, McDougall travels to the Copper Canyons of Mexico and introduces the reader to the Tarahumara, who run miles and miles in
thin, flat-soled sandals without injury, and a cast of elite American ultra runners. It’s a paradigm-shifting page turner. See my full review of
Born to Run here.

More than thirty years before Born to Run, Thaddeus Kostrubala described the running of the Tarahumara in his sadly forgotten The Joy of Running. Kostrubala, an out-of-shape doctor in the early ‘70s, took up running for the sake of his health. He quickly noted psychological benefits in addition to his improved physical condition. It wasn’t long before he was using running in his medical practice and studying its impact on everything from depression to schizophrenia. Kostrubla’s personal and professional stories are
given here along with advice for how to find the joy of running in one’s own life.
The Joy of Running is long out of print, but used copies are out there and can be found without much trouble. See my interview with Kostrubla here.

Once a Runner by John L. Parker (no relation) is a classic of running literature. Parker self-published his novel in the late ‘70s, loosely basing the story on his own collegiate running experience at the University of Florida. In addition to capturing the challenges, intrigues, joys, and frustrations of running, Once a Runner is the best literary rendering of what it’s like to be an elite runner. As Parker himself has said, "There aren't many writers who get close to a 4-minute mile, or who got to be roommates with an Olympian, and who can tell other people what that's like."

Running and Philosophy: A Marathon of the Mind, edited by Michael W. Austin, features over a dozen essays on running by leading contemporary philosophers, including Martha Nussbaum. But don’t dismiss this book as academic. It’s written for the runner who is interested in learning about philosophy more than for the philosopher who wants to start running. And as runners know, with or without a background in philosophy, running lends itself quite easily to thoughtful reflection. Chances are in reading this collection you’ll see some of your own insights and intuitions expanded and developed.

Kenny Moore was a member of the University of Oregon track team coached by the iconic Bill Bowrerman, running distances in the late ‘60s with teammate
Steve Prefontaine. After finishing fourth in the marathon at the Munich Olympics, Moore turned to writing. His works include the
excellent screenplay to the Prefontaine biopic
Without Limits and the biography Bowerman and the Men of Oregon: The Story of Oregon’s Legendary Coach and Nike’s Cofounder. This book is essential for anyone interested in the flourishing of track as sport or in jogging as recreation in the latter half of the twentieth century. Bowerman was the central figure in both movements and he proves a fascinating study. Moore makes the most of his insider knowledge, offering a thorough and thoughtful look at this legend. Cannot recommend this one enough.

Thanks Scott.
Please comment if you know of any good running books to add to Scott's list? Please comment if you have read any of the books Scott's mentions? 

To enter to win a copy of Scott's book Running After Prefontaine please click the link:
Running After Prefontaine Giveaway

Monday, July 16, 2012

A Farewell to Arms Read-A-Long

A Farewell To Arms by Ernest Hemingway Read-A-Long-Week #4

I am participating in A Farewell to Arms read-a-long in conjunction with the World War I Reading challenge I am doing with the blog, War Through the Generations.  You can visit their website here:

I am officially behind on this read-a-long but I am happy to report that I finished the book.  Better late than never is my motto today.  I will review the book separately from the discussion questions.

Read:  Chapters 31 - 41
Pages:  226-332

 1.  In Chapter 31, as Henry is swept down the river, he refers to a “we”.  Who do you think this “we” is?

I didn't give it much thought at the time I read it but I assumed he was lost on the river with his thoughts.  The "we" then would be his body and his thoughts.  Who knows?

2.  After Henry’s escape into the river, he talks about not having any obligation to the war effort on either side, though he wishes both sides luck.  Do you think he is no longer brave/courageous or is it something else?  Explain.

I think Henry is done with the war and not willing to give his life over the stupidity of the war effort.  He is an American and feels this isn't his war and now that he has Catherine and a baby on the way is willing to escape with his life intact and seek safety with his "true love"  I still think he is courageous.  It takes a brave person to stand up for what you believe in and he does that by walking away from the war.  

3.  In this last section, it seems that some humor comes into play between Henry and Catherine.  Did this impact your feelings about the characters and/or their relationship?

I don't really remember a lot of humor but I do think Henry and Catherine became playful and flirtatious with each other.  This makes their relationship more genuine to the reader.  Henry and Catherine's relationship began to take on more importance in the story.  I definitely started to think that Henry and Catherine really do love each other, even though they are the perpetual odd couple.  I think that war affects each of us differently and Henry and Catherine have found some bit of happiness with each other and that makes me glad.

4.  What did you think of the ending? Did you think it was too abrupt?

I was definitely shocked at the ending and did not expect Catherine to really die.  It was kind of abrupt but that is how real life is sometimes.  So I thought the ending appropriate and I also thought Hemingway left the door open to write a second book that follows Henry's life.  I wonder, does Henry ever find happiness or is he eventually arrested?  

5.  What did you think of Catherine’s death and Henry’s reaction to losing her?

I thought Catherine was being melodramatic about her fear of dying so I didn't actually think she would die.  Her death was realistic as well as Henry's perception of birth.  Men really don't understand what women go through nor do they feel as attached to the child at birth, like a mother does.  I was sad Henry lost both the child and the mother.   Everyone reacts differently in grief filled situations so I just accepted Henry's reaction to Catherine's death as normal for him.  

6.  What are your overall impressions of A Farewell to Arms? 

I own a book called The Novel 100.  A Ranking of the Greatest Novels of All Time.  A Farewell to Arms by Hemingway comes in at number 73, which is why I chose to read the book and participate in the read-a-long.  Overall I liked the book even though I didn't particularly like the characters.  I think it is interesting to analyze Hemingway because he was obviously a great novelist of his time.  It is sometimes hard to read great books as their writing style and meaning are lost on a generation who didn't experience the truths and horror that are represented in the pages of the book.  I have read The Old Man and the Sea twice and I love that book and to me, A Farewell to Arms is not as good.  I do believe A Farewell to Arms is a valuable and memorable piece of literature and I am glad I read it.    


High Summer Read-a-Thon

High Summer Read-a-Thon

It's time to join Michelle and other book lovers for the High Summer Read-a-Thon which begins today.  My daughter Georgia will be participating as well.  My son is at Boy Scout camp so he is out.  The nice thing about this read-a-thon is that you set your own goals, read at your own pace and still have time to get other necessary things done during the day.  So you can read a little or a lot, it is entirely up to you.

I will be offering a easy mini-challenge this week to participants of the read-a-thon on Wednesday.  If you want to sign up for the Read-a-Thon visit Michelle at Seasons of Reading blog and sign up.

So here are my reading goals for the week.  I would like to finish two books that I have already started and complete a 3rd book and maybe start a 4th.

These are the books I want to finish:

Olive Kitteridge by Elizabeth Strout
Rebecca by Daphne Du Maurier

This is the book I want to start and complete by Sunday:  The Homecoming of Samuel Lake by Jenny Wingfield.

Georgia plans to read:  No Such Things as Dragons by Philip Reeve.