Wednesday, July 31, 2013

Dual Book Review

A Walk in the Woods-Bill Bryson

Read this on recommendation from a friend due to the recent AT hike. Bill Bryson had me laughing literally out loud (LOL for rillz) on average 40-50% of the time I was reading. He sounds like an incredibly average person and he makes everything that happens to him relatable. The characters he describes on the trail are people that I have met. His reactions to various mishaps, my reactions. The history of areas around the trail was unexpectedly eye-opening. Such as a town on fire in Pennsylvania. The craziness of Mt. Washington. Very entertaining, really captures the feel of the Appalachian Trail.

Eat & Run-Scott Jurek

Like most people, I first became aware of Scott Jurek after reading Born to Run. Since that time, I have followed his career along with the ultrarunning scene in general. I'd watched some interviews and he seemed like a down-to-earth guy. Which is why I was surprised when the first few chapters were hard to read. The writing was pretty dang terrible and self-indulgent. Kind of like this blog, actually. Knowing that there was more to the story than terrible writing, I pressed on and flew through the chapters were he actually started talking about running. Knowing his background, I ate up these chapters and the details of his training. He is clearly someone who was/is completely dedicated to running at the expense of almost everything else. He is also a vegan and includes recipes throughout the book and how his diet has helped him run. I've resolved to have a "vegan Thursday" weekly tradition partially because of this. His descriptions of the transcendent, mystical aspects of running probably sound completely ridiculous to many readers. While I was aware of this and wanted to ridicule those passages, I couldn't help but relate. Running is downright spiritual sometimes. I think most runners know this and enjoy hearing about someone else who has experienced an unexpected endorphin rush at the pinnacle of despair or reveled in the beauty of their surroundings amidst great physical anguish. For me this book helped solidify my vision of why I run and has helped me enjoy every moment more, including the excruciating ones. Worth reading, don't expect a literary masterpiece.

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