Monday, February 6, 2012

Reading Update

Here's an update on books I've read so far in 2012...
and a list of what I'm currently reading.

Books I've Read

  • Born to Run by Christopher McDougall - I've heard a couple of people talk about how this book has changed their idea of running, and I see why. While at first the book appeared to simple be a chronicle of McDougall's journey to uncover a hidden tribe of Tarahumara Indian ultra-runners in the Copper Canyons of Mexico, it slowly becomes a critique of everything we know today about running, from shoes to posture to the proper fueling of your body. He invites the reader along as he trains for a 50-mile trail run against some of America's best ultra-runners and members of the Tarahumara Indian tribe. In between chapters on the progressing tension of the race, he also researches the habits of the best runners in history, analyzing the philosophy of barefoot racing, the evolution of running, and the hidden levels of endurance most people never realize they can reach. It's a good read, especially for anyone interested in running or running methodology. 

  • The Hunger Games by Suzanne Collins - I read this book when it first came out back in 2009, and re-read it during the week between Christmas and New Year since my husband bought me the trilogy for Christmas. In 2009, when I was still an English teacher, my students and I loved this book. I had multiple copies in my classroom library, and I could not keep them on the shelves for more than a day. The students absolutely loved the story, and all the English teachers were reading right along with them. I even used portions of the book to teach tone, sentence structure, and word choice. So re-reading it brought back a lot of great memories of my teaching days, and reminded me of all the wonderful co-workers I've been blessed to work alongside. It's so easy to get caught up in the plot of this book, to take an entire day snuggled up in a blanket with Katniss and Peeta saying just one more chapter until you've finished the entire book in a single sitting and stare longingly at Catching Fire until your husband says it's time for bed. Hypothetically speaking, of course. 

  • Catching Fire by Suzanne Collins - Yep, read this one too. Some say it's the strongest of the series, and I might agree. The plot definitely strengthens and the character development is much stronger in this second book. I don't want to give too much away lest someone be in the midst of reading the first book, but this is where you really struggle with the Peeta vs Gale issue. At first, I was all for Peeta. Who wouldn't love a baker's son who risks his life (literally) for a girl who doesn't really seem to love him or really even care for him deeply at all? I can see why any girl age 12-25 would fall madly in fiction-love with Peeta. But then there's Gale, the handsome, rugged, brooding teenage boy who comes back to challenge the feelings of his childhood friend and risk his own life in the process. And so the fun begins.
  • The History of Love by Nicole Krauss - This was our January book club read. It's got a plot line that's eerily similar to Jonathan Safran Foer's Extremely Loud and Incredibly Close in that both novels star curious adolescents who set out on an adventure in New York City to discover hidden family truths and, along the way, meet old men with memories of WWII who have suffered the deaths of long-lost sons. Oh, and both are set to be released as movies in 2012. Oh, and Foer married Krauss just before publication of her book. As for the book itself, I was immediately drawn to the writing style, which shifts dramatically between chapters as multiple perspectives move the plot along. If you aren't paying close attention it's easy to get lost in the shifting stories, but it's also easy to float through the chapters, eating up the curious details of Alma Singer and Leo Gursky's seemingly unrelated lives. 

  • Food Rules by Michael Pollan - I read this on a road trip to Dallas a few weekends ago. It's got a pretty simple premise: eat food, not too much, mostly plants. But Pollan fleshes out the meaning behind eat statement, explaining what "food" is and is not, underscoring the importance of plants and plant-based foods, and identifying ways to stay in tune with your body's true hunger cues. Really good read. 

Books I'm Reading

  • The Four Loves by C.S. Lewis - This is our community group book for the next month or so. Each week we read over a chapter and discuss it together over a great meal. So far I've been blown away by the connections Lewis makes between our worldly desires and our innate need for God. When we walk further from God, we fill the void with things of this world, and yet, those things can never replace our need for God. So we find more and more things to fill our time and our thoughts with: politics, food, people, nature, etc. We try to control, manipulate, and draw affection out of them in the hopes that they'll make us feel good and happy. But it doesn't work, and we're left frustrated. Lewis is an amazing writer, and I am excited to continue working through the book with my community group.

  • The Graveyard Book by Neil Gaiman - This fun young adult novel is our February book club choice. I've only just started on it, but I can already tell it's going to be a good read. 

So what are you reading?


  1. Oh my goodness, I haven't read "The Four Loves" in years, but I catch myself thinking about it every so often. Such a good one. I'm currently reading "Game of Thrones" and "Mrs Dalloway." Up next: yet another Bronte biography, "In Defense of Food" (Pollan twins!), and I may hop on the Hunger Games bandwagon. This is such a good list!

  2. I'm reading our blog right now! :) Love it, what a great space you have here! Thanks so much for your kind encouragement on twitter; love traveling this road together. Bless you girl!


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