The Facebook ’10 Books That Stayed With You’ Meme Post

libraryBooks

This week I got ‘tagged’ on a ’10 Books That Stayed With You’ post, and wanted to quickly

“List 10 books that have stayed with you in some way. Don’t take more than a few minutes, and don’t think too hard. They do not have to be the ‘right’ books or great words of literature, just ones that have affected you in some way.”

OK, before I start I admit to peeling four of the books from my ‘Ten Days You’ list of ‘Four Books’ … I mean, why not, it is only three months old, right? And then I found I had been tagged way back in the early days of the blog, and wrote about it here. Interesting that there are similarities and differences in the list.

So here we go!

1. ‘Cat’s Cradle’ by Kurt Vonnegut – this book I would call my all-time favorite. Like most Vonnegut works it is a fairy easy and quick read – deceptively so. I have read this book 20 or more times since around 1980, and I don’t think I have read it the same way twice: it is funny, bitter, sardonic, twisted, anti-government, anti-religion, pro-spirituality, pro-human, both pro- and anti-science, and so more. I cannot recommend it enough.

2. ‘Foundation Trilogy’ by Isaac Asimov – while like so many sci-fi series there is a ton that this trilogy gets wrong, so much that has been changed as technology advances … the human side of the stories and the thrilling chase and mystery aspects are all consistent with what could really happen. It is interesting to juxtapose some of the events of these books with some anti-science movements in our own country today.

3. ‘100 Years of Solitude’ by Gabriel Garcia Marquez – Getting through this book the first time early in high school is something I still remember (not assigned, just pleasure reading my sophomore English teacher thought I would like) – the sweeping story of a town as it rises and falls, told through the history of a single family, if funny and sad and touching and engaging throughout. It really is an epic piece of modern literature, and I always love stepping back into that world.

4. ‘Star Wars Thrawn Trilogy’ by Timothy Zahn – It was either this or the ‘Jedi Academy’ trilogy by Kevin Anderson, but this is better written, has a better villain and of course introduces Mara Jade. Starting a few years after ‘Return of the Jedi’, it pits an Imperial Grand Admiral against the fledgling New Republic. Even without the Star Wars mythos these are enjoyable books.

5. ‘Night Watch’ by Sergei Lukyanenko – these books by Russian author Sergei Lukyanenko captures great character studies and tales of the human spirit in the context of magic and mystery, all set in post Cold War Moscow. The series has ups and downs, but having just re-read the first couple I was reminded of how well it mixes intriguing storytelling and quality writing.

6. ‘The Plague’ by Albert Camus – Danny is reading ‘The Stranger’ right now, another of my faves, but I love this one more! It is an amazing tale of the human spirit in the face of crushing despair, and a very hopeful and positive take on the essence of existential philosophy.

7. ‘Harry Potter’ series by JK Rowling – I have been flipping back through these recently, re-reading the series for the fourth or fifth time overall. And aside from the epilogue of the final book (that I always hated that) the series has held up well. Sure the books starting with Goblet of Fire could have used tighter editing, but overall they are a great series.

8. ‘Guerrillas’ by V. S. Naipaul – Naipaul was recommended to me by my 11th grade English teacher, Mr. McLellan who called him ‘the best living writer’. This book is not a happy, fun or easy read – yet it is incredibly compelling.

9. ‘Winesburg, Ohio’ by Sherwood Anderson – Anderson (no relation) transports you to a small town just after the turn of the century. While there is a central character, the stories are told through the loneliness and despair that permeates the people of the town and the town itself.

10. ‘Fahrenheit 451’ by Ray Bradbury – although technically dated, the heart of this book is the character study of the interface of people and information and freedom. And it remains interesting because of that – I love looking at the stuff he got wrong about the future, and yet there are things that seemed wrong that are becoming more true with time (The Family, for example).

Tag, You’re It! Either post your list here, on Facebook, or your own blog!

Sunday Runday, Paleo Guest Post #2, Weekly Recap and my ‘Four Books’

20140608-103912-38352235.jpg

Happy Sunday! This weekend has been gorgeous, and as Harold notes the great weather has spread throughout the northeast, which has made for excellent running conditions and also made doing ANYTHING outside much more fun! I hope you have been taking advantage of the great conditions – if the weather has been favorable for you!

Paleo Journey Part 2 at The Gluten Free Treadmill

On Friday Laura posted the first part of my ‘Paleo Journey’ guest post, which got some excellent comments.

Today completes the series, and hopefully provides some context around how Paleo relates to ‘eating in the real world’. Like so many other things, it is about finding what works for you and going with it! I think our diet will largely be ‘modified Paleo’ for the foreseeable future.

Check it out and let me know what you think!

My Running Summary

This was a bit of an odd week, as after my killer hills on Sunday I decided to take Monday off and really just let the remainder of the week go by feel. I had two mornings in a row where I slept in, but then ended up with evening runs. Of course, the temperature was about 70F and dry, so 5PM was very bearable. Let’s look at how I did:

Sunday: 12.5 miles of ‘hill repeats’ – exhausting and awesome all at once
Monday: Rest Day – end of the ‘RW streak’
Tuesday: 9.5 miles
Wednesday: 9 or so miles for National Running Day
Thursday: 8.75 miles after work (first Saucony Kinvara run)
Friday: 9.25 miles after work
Saturday 10.5 miles on the Catharine Valley Trail

I was surprised to total up my week and see I had done just over 59 miles. I was quite ready on Monday for this week to end up in the 40s, which would have been fine – but instead I kept the miles going … but did it on my terms. My schedule was favorable to get in a couple of evening runs as I noted – something that barely ever happens. Take it where you can get it.

I also really loved my trail run on Saturday. Sara had a guest post on trail running (from Jenny of Jenny’s Fitness). The Catharine Valley trail has an entry point just 10 minute drive from my house … no more excuses.

10 Day You Challenge

OK, so now I am up to Day 7, and the task is to name four books. Oh great – no pressure: just name four books that are meaningful and provide some context on who I am and what I think. Ugh – I have read and loved thousands of books through the years. High school I was loving Sartre and Camus and Dostoevsky and Heller … since then I have read pretty much everything from Zahn’s classic Star Wars EU trilogy to Naipaul and loads of YA stuff (sorry Slate, but I love Harry Potter and Divergent and Fault in Our Stars).

One of the last books I eliminated from the list was ‘Ulysses’ by James Joyce. That book is a double edged sword – noting it immediately sounds pretentious, but it is a book I really love. I’d read it in high school, but have great memories re-reading it while traveling for work on my first job and sitting in a small restaurant on a warm day soaking in sun and reading. Oh well, here is the list:

Day Four: Seven Wants

1. ‘Cat’s Cradle’ by Kurt Vonnegut – this book I would call my all-time favorite. Like most Vonnegut works it is a fairy easy and quick read – deceptively so. I have read this book 20 or more times since around 1980, and I don’t think I have read it the same way twice: it is funny, bitter, sardonic, twisted, anti-government, anti-religion, pro-spirituality, pro-human, both pro- and anti-science, and so more. I cannot recommend it enough.

2. ‘Foundation Trilogy’ by Isaac Asimov – while like so many sci-fi series there is a ton that this trilogy gets wrong, so much that has been changed as technology advances … the human side of the stories and the thrilling chase and mystery aspects are all consistent with what could really happen. It is interesting to juxtapose some of the events of these books with some anti-science movements in our own country today.

3. ‘100 Years of Solitude’ by Gabriel Garcia Marquez – Getting through this book the first time early in high school is something I still remember (not assigned, just pleasure reading my sophomore English teacher thought I would like) – the sweeping story of a town as it rises and falls, told through the history of a single family, if funny and sad and touching and engaging throughout. It really is an epic piece of modern literature, and I always love stepping back into that world.

4. ‘Night Watch’ by Sergei Lukyanenko – these books by Russian author Sergei Lukyanenko captures great character studies and tales of the human spirit in the context of magic and mystery, all set in post Cold War Moscow. The series has ups and downs, but having just re-read the first couple I was reminded of how well it mixes intriguing storytelling and quality writing.

How was YOUR running week? How about your eating? And any books you’d like to share?

Hey Divergent Fans – Allegiant Is Out Today!

Allegiant-Veronica-Roth

I had heard good things about the YA book Divergent, and so when it came up on one of those Amazon $1.99 deals a few months back – I jumped. I tore through the book in 2 days on one of my last Kentucky trips and thoroughly enjoyed it.

At the same time Amazon had a deal on the second book Insurgent along with a pre-order deal on Allegiant … so I ended up with all three books for about $10 total.

Insurgent took me two weeks to read, because it didn’t keep me glued to my Kindle the way Divergent had. I found it was overall a good story but dragged at times and was fraught with pacing issues that disengaged me from the story. But at the ending there were several things that set up an intriguing finale.

Some draw the rather obvious comparisons to ‘Hunger Games’, which is definitely there – but without all of the angsty Twilight-esque romance triangle to bog it down. I am hoping that unlike Hunger Games – where MockingJay was a very weak book that felt terribly rushed – the finale of this series is actually worth reading. I’ll let you know soon enough!

I had just started Neal Stephenson’s ‘Snow Crash’ when Lisa was looking for a new book and so I dropped that to start ‘One Way Bridge’, a highly reviewed recent release. Well … now it looks like I’ll set THAT aside as well!

You can grab the ebook from Amazon, Barnes & Noble or iTunes – it is $6.99 at all sites (compared to $11.75 for hardcover)