Posts tagged with "Non-Fiction"
Book Discussion Sets
Posted by Ultra Violet on 09/14/12
Eat & Run
Posted by kensey on 07/15/12
"Eat & Run: My Unlikely Journey To Ultramarathon Greatness" is written by Scott Jurek, who first came to widespread public attention in Christopher McDougall's hugely popular "Born to Run." You may remember him as the ultramarathoner who lets out a loud howl before the start of every race. I had the pleasure of hearing McDougall and Jurek speak (and howl) a few months ago at Fleet Feet Sports in Chicago, where the duo was promoting Jurek's book. Because the authors were together, I was primed to think that these books were related. Excited for a narrower but deeper continuation of "Born to Run," I eagerly picked up "Eat & Run," only to find out that they were nothing alike.
"Eat & Run" is best described as a memoir with recipes. Jurek grew up a traditional Minnesota boy and through endurance running and changing life philosophies, became a vegan. He credits both his vegan diet and his mental toughness for his ability to regularly run 50 to to 100-mile races. For the memoir portion, he recounts his struggles with his mother, who suffered from multiple sclerosis; and his father, with whom Jurek has a tough relationship. And of course he tells stories of the difficulties he's faced on various ultra trails and overcoming them to achieve personal bests. The poignant memories of his parents are the most moving part of the book. A time or two, he gets philosophical to the point of being unrelatable. Regardless, it's still fascinating to get a glimpse into the mind of someone who can run nine-minute miles for a hundred miles straight.
The main difference between Jurek and McDougall is that McDougall is a writer and Jurek is not. McDougall often made compelling points whereas Jurek is simply an interesting person. Despite feeling mislead about how similar these books would be (am I the only one who thinks even the covers look similar?), I'd still say Jurek's book is worth reading. "Born to Run" made me want to get out and run a marathon despite not having run an entire mile since high-school gym class. And while Jurek's book did not inspire such a feat, it did at least make me feel I could give lentil burgers a chance.
Encyclopedia Of The Exquisite
Posted by Ultra Violet on 02/24/12
If you love fun, bizarre historical facts, this is the book for you. It has brief entries about things throughout history that were created for beauty's sake. Some are small things like origami, some are entire buildings or magical gardens. Particularly interesting are the stories about chopines and the art of hot air ballooning. This is a great bedside reader since you can pick it up and read a single entry without a big investment in time. A most enjoyable read!
Posted by mingh on 03/10/11
Moby-Duck : the true story of 28,800 bath toys lost at sea and of the beachcombers, oceanographers, environmentalists, and fools, including the author, who went in search of them
One of the longest titles in years, but it really does describe what happens in the book, with some divergences along the way. Is it possible for a bath toy to travel from south of the Aleutian Islands, through the Bering Strait, through the North Pole and over to the coast of Maine? An adventure that takes Hohn from one coast to the other and over the North Pole.
Hohn investigates the event that caused the bath toys to be dispersed into the sea in January 1992. But he also looks at what else humans leave in the sea from cruise ship trash to fishing boat debris and everything else that might wind up on shore. He investigates the North Pacific Convergence which has created an area known in marine world as the "garbage patch," south of the Hawaiian islands. In all of this reportage, Hohn also talks to the major players working to eradicate it, study it, or downplay its significance.
It was fascinating to learn how the oceans work, how some groups are doing good work to study and keep the oceans clean, and others are just making it worse. How the bath toys continued to be discovered as many as ten years later. And how it seems that whatever unnatural product we throw into the sea will rightfully come back to us on our own shores.
Plato and a platypus walk into a bar-- : understanding philosophy through jokes
Posted by Ultra Violet on 06/08/11
This little gem of a book could be read cover to cover or you could just open to any random page during a free minute. Brief history of modern thought interspersed with jokes, anecdotes and cartoons. This would make a great conversation starter at one of your more intellectual cocktail parties.
You Had Me At Woof
Posted by Pam I am on 04/07/11
The cover picture was enough to get me to pick up this book and the title says it all. For anyone who loves dogs or has loved a dog in their past this is a must-read! Julie Klam documents how she learned life's most important lessons from her dogs -- the secrets of love, health and happiness. This book is funny and touching. Plus, look at that great cover!