Surprise! I read some books! I try to always be reading something, just sometimes I don’t work as hard to finish the books I have on my nightstand. With these two books, both gifts, I flew through the pages. (I like them so much that I’ve already gifted them to others!)
Run The World by Becky Wade
My mom gave me this book as a gift when we spent some time together during the summer. It’s a memoir of Becky’s once in a lifetime post-college trip around the world to see how everyone else runs. Becky visited 9 countries and delves deep into the nitty-gritty of the running culture in each location that she visits. She stays with locals, she sees the big deal places and the little interesting places, she eats the local food, and she really tries to wrap her head around why people there run like they do.
As someone who hyper-analyzes everything about running, I appreciated the fact that Becky looked at such diverse running communities. Her trip lasted a year, so she spent a good long time in each place. She really embraced what made each community unique. I love the idea of throwing my type-A approach to the wind and running by feel in Ethiopia, sprinting through a mall in Sweden, or enjoying a bath house in Tokyo after a long run.
While I would have loved to hear a little more of the gritty side of the trip (there have to be some negatives, right?), I imagine that Becky focused on the positive as part of being a good guest. My only other thought is that I wish she would have acknowledged her privilege. (How much of a left-wing hippy does that sentence make me sound like?) The trip was funded by a grant and not out-of-pocket but something about a trip to a poor village in Ethiopia makes me feel…oogy. I don’t think Becky needs to apologize, just acknowledge. But really, that’s a nit-picky of me. The book is fantastic.
You will love this book if you like travel and you like running. Or if you just like running. Probably not if you just like travel.
My favorite part was reading about London. It was at the beginning of Becky’s trip and she was full of gusto. It’s also a place I’d love to visit. (The closest I got was a layover at Gatwick Airport, which actually isn’t that close at all.)
Rating: 4 out of 5 stars!
Here Be Dragons by Annmarie Kelly-Harbaugh and Ken Harbaugh
Annmarie sent me this book after reading my post on Military Spouse Book Review. She saw that we were kindred spirits, and I’m so glad she did! (Thank you, Annmarie!)
The book bills itself as a parent’s guide but I think it’s so much more universal than that. Annemarie and Ken narrate alternating chapters as they recount their journey from college co-eds to a family of five in the span of 17 years with 11 (yes, 11!) moves in the middle of it all. Annmarie worked as a teacher with challenging students and her husband was in the Navy. They both eventually moved on from those careers, but you can tell that they answered a calling to forge a difficult path. I really loved that! Hat tip to people who choose the tough road. They shared their wisdom through all of life’s changes and challenges, and that’s what I was needing to hear right now. (Not to mention, the writing is beautifully lyrical; you don’t need to be going through a tough time to appreciate it.)
Part of me wished that they shared more about their marital struggles. That’s probably just because I can’t relate to parenting struggles, and for all I know, there weren’t that many marital issues. Besides, it would be particularly tricky water to navigate if you are writing a book with and still married to a person and you are re-telling fights from years past. I admire the way the Harbaugh’s approach life and writing. I kind of what to be Annmarie. (In a Freaky Friday way, not in a creepy Silence of the Lambs way.)
You will love this book if you are in the military or a family member, if you live a topsy-turvy life, or if you appreciate a well-told tale.
My favorite part was everything about the family dog! The book is so not about the dog, but I read that last chapter with tears in my eyes, nodding my head, and petting ol’ Geronimo. I also really enjoyed the section about the family’s struggle after their second child was born. I could relate to the haze that can temporarily settle over your life and cloud out everything else.
Rating: 4.5 out of 5! This was a can’t-put-down book for me, and I can always use more of those on my nightstand.
What’s everyone else reading these days? I have a new book lined up, but it’s kind of scary and I can’t do scary right now. Suggestions please!