In 2009, I set out to read at least one book a month. No real strategy to it, but more than I’d read in a long time. I’m just not a bookworm…or a movie buff…or even a music junkie (anymore). When I lay down at night to read, I typically get about five pages done and then I’m toast. Sometimes I even feel guilty about sitting down to read! Shouldn’t I be doing something productive?? Believe me, that guilt is beginning to alleviate as the months pass. Reading IS doing something productive. It might be educational, humorous, romantic, pragmatic, spiritual, or down-right fluffy entertainment. All of those induce some level of productivity for the mind and body. They all also encompassed my reading selections for 2009.
“Three Cups of Tea” by Greg Mortenson
I had to balance my 2008 Danielle Steel novel by reading a non-fiction book about the power of one human being’s spirit to make a positive change in the world. It’s the story of a mountain climber who vowed to build schools in remote Pakistan after villagers cared for him after a near-death climbing experience. This one was a bit hard to get into (probably still in Danielle Steel mindset), but was tough to put down once this man’s compassion began to sink in. If only the world’s problems could be fixed like this…
“My Life on the Run” by Bart Yasso
If you’re a runner, you are familiar with Yasso and his infamous Yasso 800 training techniques. This was a very interesting memoir written by a running legend. He tells great race stories, injuries, rates his favorite races and discusses what a love affair running can be (as brutal as she can also be).
“No Limits” by Michael Phelps
Clearly feeling the need to get inspired during Ironman training, this book was also an interesting, easy-to-read book by Phelps (and whoever really wrote it). I read this during his pre-bong days, but took away a lot of inspiration. You really get a glimpse of the sacrifices that an athlete at his level must endure (and the calories they get to eat!)
“4 Blondes” by Candace Bushnell
And back to the fluff! From the writer who gave us “Sex in the City,” 4 Blondes is basically just that…”Sex in the City.”
“The Engine 2 Diet” by Rip Esselstyn
Hard to imagine that this book would’ve had the most profound impact on me in 2009. Who ever thought I would really engage in any type of vegan lifestyle?! Yet, here I am almost one year later and still loving the overall effects of this lifestyle (not a “diet”). The only downside is being the high-maintenance one at restaurants. Beyond that, I’ve enjoyed shopping, cooking and feeling the energy that comes with a plant-based whole foods lifestyle.
“Moose” by Stephanie Klein
Ironically and humorously, this is a book by Austin Author about growing up fat as a teenager and enduring summers at fat camp. While I never went to fat camp, I was a self-conscious chunkster and totally related (laughed and cried) and some of her most horrific and awkward moments. I highly recommend this book as it is both funny and poignant. FYI–the author is skinny as a rail now.
“Fitness Swimming”by Emmett Hines
One in a never-ending series of books I read every so often about the sport that remains a mystery to me. The illustrations were good and some of the descriptions about proper technique were good reminders. Bottom Line–the written word can only get you so far. You have to actually get your ass in the water and practice.
“There’s a Slight Chance I Might Be Going to Hell” By Laurie Notaro
OK-If I could write like someone, I’d want it to be this author. She’s funny as hell, self-deprecating and so damn smart. When I read her books (“Autobiography of a Fat Bride, ” Idiot Girls Series…), I picture myself as the main character. Basically, she’s a mess, but always succeeds. Put any of her books on your list for a good laugh.
“The Overachiever’s Diary” by The Army Swim Team Coach
Sounds boring as shit, doesn’t it?! This was actually one of the most profound and well-written books on swimming I’ve ever read (and I’ve read a few). It’s basically a compilation of his emails and lessons to his athletes–things to remember, things to focus on in the water, body positioning, and visual techniques to think about (kick like Barbie Doll, swim quietly, etc). Again, nothing beats actually getting in the water, but I refer to this book a lot almost as a reference guide. In other words, it’s permanently on our bathroom bookshelf.
“Keeping Faith” by Jodi Picoult
A brilliantly written book about surviving tragedy and keeping faith…through the eyes of a child. Very powerful book, especially if you are a strong believer in the Divine. I plan on reading more of Picoult’s books this year as I’ve already read a few in the past.
“Losing My Religion” by William Lobdell
Again, an ironic turn to my selections… This non-fiction book written by a former LA Times Religion writer (and fellow Ironman Triathlete) discusses how he went from a born-again Christian to an atheist by reporting on religion (or lack thereof) in America. He discusses various scandals throughout all religions and how the ugly truth eroded his faith.
“Once a Runner” by John Parker, Jr
I wasn’t crazy about this book, but definitely understood some of the nuances of how a sport like this and the goals you can set dictate EVERYTHING in your life…to the point of obsession.
“Then We Came to An End” Joshua Farris
Perhaps I was foreshadowing my resignation from the ad agency. This book is about an ad agency that appears to be crumbling. Accounts are being lost, people are being fired, ideas seem stale, and people’s office chairs are being stolen. It was an episode of “The Office” with a bit of bittersweet sadness. (FYI–The agency I used to work for is kicking ASS and not falling apart) 🙂
“Wishful Drinking” by Carrie Fisher
I read this in about two hours in the Denver Airport. Pretty hysterical memoir about Carrie Fisher’s f*cked up life. It’s honest, outrageously funny and sad all at the same time. Who knew that Princess Leah had electroshock therapy for manic depression? Growing up in Hollywood doesn’t sound fun, but it made for a good book.
“The Shack”By William Paul Young
After his daughter is murdered, the protagonist returns to the scene of the crime and meets God. Comedy ensues from there! Just kidding…it was an interesting read, but I didn’t personally find it “life changing” like millions of others have. Lots to think about and it attempts to explain why bad things happen to good people.
“Official Book Club Selection” by Kathy Griffin
I’m a sucker for Kathy, what can I say? I loved reading about her childhood, her endless attempts at stand-up, her realization that she never was and never will be “the pretty one,” and I loved reading about celebrity gossip!
“Born to Run” by Christopher McDougall
This is the new “It” book in the running community that challenges everything we ever believed about running and shoes. I was inspired by the story, the science and the love that these runners have for the sport. It truly made me want to run a 100 mile trail race immediately!
“Where Are You Now” by Nora Roberts
So, I bought a quick paperback trashy novel so I could read on vacation. It was perfect fluff!
“Honeymoon” by James Patterson
Ha Ha…Another fluff piece read on vacation in about two days! Mystery, murder, sex, and one bitchy anagonist!! Loved it 🙂
“Letters from Medjugorje” by Wayne Weibel
In June of 1981, the Virgin Mary appeared to six teenagers in Medjugorje, Yugoslavia. She still appears to this very day. These are letters of people who’s lives have been transformed by these powerful visits. I always need some faith rejuvenation. This book did it!
“The China Study”by T. Colin Campbell
As I continue my vegan journey, this book became a must-read. In a quick nutshell, it explains why the Chinese are healthier than Americans even though they eat more carbs and calories overall…more plant-based foods, less meat, etc. It draws a direct correlation to diseases like heart disease, cancer, diabetes and other diseases to the standard American diet.
“Dog On It” by Spencer Quinn
Hubster picked it up on a whim and it was one of the best books I read all year. Written from the perspective of Chet the Dog, this humorous book takes us on a journey about what it must really be like to be a doggie dectective!
“Twilight” and “New Moon” by Stephanie Meyer
Not much else to say. So far, I’m Team Jacob all the way!!!