Running (and Walking!) Book Reviews
Running Book Club
I’ve read a couple of running related books before, probably the most well known being the genius Murakami’s What I Talk About When I Talk About Running, and I have a very well thumbed copy of Hemmo’s Running Like a Girl, which I would always recommend to new runners. However, I haven’t come across new running-lit inspo for a while so jumped at the chance to take part in The Runner Beans (aka blogger Charlie Watson’s) book club.
Charlie asked for votes for her running book club on various titles from fellow avid readers and the winning read is Lisa Jackson’s Your Pace Or Mine? (‘YPOM’). If you want to join in, there’s going to be a facebook chat on Charlie’s page in the next week or so (I understand more details to follow on her facebook page).
I have to admit that when I first delved into its pages, I thought YPOM seemed like almost too much of an easy read (if there is such a thing) with large text, lots of photos and snippets from other contributors. That probably wasn’t helped by the fact that I read the reams and reams of stellar soundbite reviews at the beginning of the book from everyone who’s anyone in running, including from the likes of Nell McAndrew and Liz Yelling, so I was probably expecting a literary masterpiece. However, once I relaxed into it I found YPOM really inspirational and charming.
By way of background, Lisa’s running CV is super impressive. Lisa began running in her thirties and wracked up over 90 marathons (and a handful of ultra marathons and a triathlon) by her forties - sounds like the actions of an elite, time-chasing athlete. However, Lisa’s USP is that she is so normal. Her book takes us through her coming last in 20 of her 90 marathons, the people she met along the way and their stories, and her own personal family heartbreak. It is incredibly warming. We all put so much pressure on ourselves as runners to hit certain times and I found it humbling to read about Lisa’s incredible achievements that have nothing to do with being the fastest runner out there. Lisa has made me think more about how walk-running a marathon in 6-7 hours is just as heroic as running one in 3.5 hours. I’ve also never considered running in fancy dress before reading YPOM and now I’m thinking that’s a must do soon!
Definitely one to smash through by the pool, get inspired and read about tens of other people’s running experiences. I’m interested to hear what everyone else in the book club thought about this one.
The Willoughby Book Club
Last July, when thinking about presents for Dan’s birthday, on my friend Becky’s recommendation, I signed Dan up to a six month book subscription service through the Willoughby Book Club. On signing up, you set out what books/themes/authors your giftee is into and they get a hand picked book every month – amazing! To my surprise, the Willoughby Book Club completely nailed Dan and every book sent through was SO him, it’s been absolutely brilliant (and geekily exciting waiting to see which one was about to come through!).
I swiped one and just finished Levison Wood’s Walking the Nile whilst on holiday (did I mention I’ve just been on holiday?!) and it’s such a treat for travel and history fans. I unwittingly picked it up because I am a big fan of the Walking The... TV series and Levison in general is so engaging – Dan and I went to a talk he gave at Waterstones and I think everyone there walked out with a new man crush.
Although stealing glimpses of the mental and physical pain Levison experienced walking day in, day out for nine months, this book is far more about documenting the history of the exploration of, and civil unrest, in many of the African countries which the Nile (and therefore Levison) passes through. In case you are wondering how he passed the time, I asked him at the talk and apparently he's a fellow audiobook fan.
If you fancy joining, or signing up someone lucky, to the Willoughby Book Club, you can click through here for 10% off when you spend more than £40. (NB: this is not sponsored content or an ad, I really thoroughly recommend this subscription service for book lovers out there!).