Monday, July 2, 2012

Born to Run

Born to Run: A Hidden Tribe, Superathletes, and the Greatest Race the World Has Never SeenBorn to Run: A Hidden Tribe, Superathletes, and the Greatest Race the World Has Never Seen by Christopher McDougall
On the library shelves: Adult Non-fiction
My rating: 4 of 5 stars

Christopher McDougall liked to run, but he kept sustaining injuries. After visits to numerous doctors, he went on a quest of sorts to Mexico where he met the Tarahumara Indians. He was shocked to discover the tribe runs for days on end, for FUN. They are a peace-loving people with incredible stamina who run wearing sandals made from tires.

McDougall went on to research the world of ultramarathoners, learning about the personalities and drive of those who are drawn to the sport. He also investigated the science behind human running and put forward the notion that we evolved to run.

McDougall formed a special bond with an American man known as Caballo Blanco who lived among the Tarahumara. The book culminates with a race Caballo organized between some of the best ultramarathoners and the Tarahumara. Caballo Blanco died recently, making this a timely book to read and consider. Check out this article from the New York Times.

I am not a runner. Reading this book did not make me want to take up running, but I found it fascinating nonetheless. I think the science aspect was a little one-sided and I would have liked the author to have presented more about the alternative points of view. But my book club found lots of topics related to this book to discuss including physical and mental health and consumerism. I personally really enjoyed this book--part science, part memoir, part biography--and came away with lots of interesting things to think about.

Also reviewed by: I Am A Reader, Not A Writer ~ Your link here?
Source: Library

Watch Christopher McDougall speak at TED here:

Sunday, July 1, 2012

The Fault in Our Stars

The Fault in Our StarsThe Fault in Our Stars by John Green
On the library shelves: YA Fiction
AR Reading Level: 5.5
Award:  VOYA: The Perfect Tens
Recommended for: Age 15+

My rating: 4 of 5 stars

Hazel is a 16-year old from Indiana who is terminally ill with cancer. At the request of her mother, she attends a support group to help her get out and make friends. One day Augustus Waters shows up to support group with his friend Isaac. Augustus is missing part of a leg resulting from his own fight with cancer, but Augustus is fortunately in remission now. Augustus and Hazel become friends, but Hazel is reluctant to let the relationship to progress further in an effort to spare Augustus the pain of watching her die.

I have a love/hate relationship with John Green. Fortunately, this book leaned more towards love. The prose and wit is fantastic, even if it was a little pretentious for teenagers. I felt totally invested in all of the characters, including the colorful and quirky supporting cast. Some of the life observations were moving and yet realistic in a way I really appreciated. Yes, this book is sad, but it's also uplifting and funny.

Just a word about the audiobook: I thought the reader sounded too old to be Hazel which I had a hard time getting past. I also thought her Dutch accent was horrible.

Also reviewed by: In the Pages... ~ Piling on the Books ~ Capricious Reader ~ Book Addiction ~ Ticket to Anywhere ~ Bart's Bookshelf ~ The Bluestocking Society ~ Becky's Book Reviews ~ Book Nut ~ It's All About Books ~ The Avid Reader's Musings ~ things mean a lot ~ ~ Steph the Bookworm ~ Your link here?

Source: Library Audiobook