September Slipped Away

September was a cool month. On the 10th I ran a half marathon (2:10:16), was able to get to Monhegan (and introduce the island to some new people), and get to a lot of reading:

  1. Curse of the Pogo Stick by Colin Cotterill
  2. Life and Death in Shanghai by Nien Cheng
  3. Absalom, Absalom! by William Faulkner
  4. Consul’s Wife by W.T. Tyler
  5. Tears of Autumn by Charles McCarry (AB)
  6. Life and Death of Edwin Mullhouse by Steven Millhauser
  7. Four-Story Mistake by Elizabeth Enright
  8. Best Game Ever by Mark Bowden
  9. The Trial by Franz Kafka
  10. Which Side Are You On? by Elaine Harger (ER)
  11. Which Side Are You On? by George Ella Lyon (for fun)

AB = Audio book
ER = Early review


July on Deck

July. Summertime. Lots of music (starting with you guessed it, Phish). Lots of running (hopefully all outdoors). Lots of travel, lots of play. Plenty of reading:

  • Milk in My Coffee by Eric Jerome Dickey (in honor of National Cow Appreciation Day on the 14th. I kid you not.)
  • Disco for the Departed by Colin Cotterill (#3 – to continue the series started in May in honor of Rocket Day)
  • The Last Battle by Cornelius Ryan (#3 – to continue the series started in June for D-Day)
  • Cranford (AB) by Elizabeth Gaskell (in honor of Swan Upping. If you don’t know about this day, check it out. It’s fascinating. Or you can wait for my review when I’ll explain the practice.)
  • Black Faces, White Faces by Jane Gardam (in honor of Gardam’s birth month)

As an aside, I have read the last two Cotterills in a day each, so I know I need to add at least one or two more books to the list. I’m off to the great unknown for vacation so when I get back I’ll probably have to revisit this list.

Also, I should note that I won another Early Review book from LibraryThing, but since its not here yet I won’t promise to read it. 😉

 


Stop Drop and Reload

Has anyone else noticed this? My reading has gotten out of control. And when I say out of control I mean Out.Of.Control. Case in point: in 2013 I only read four books off the Challenge list. Natalie Merchant, my sister, my job and a friend all made book recommendations that I took. Four books. In 2014 I read ten books off the Challenge list. Five were all about running and five were gifts or recommendations. Ten books. In 2015 I read fifteen off Challenge list books. Fifteen books! We are only 2 1/2 months into March and already I have read nine off-Challenge-list books. This has GOT to STOP. At this rate I will never, ever finish the Challenge list. I keep spending time with books I shouldn’t. I’m pulling my hair out. You just can’t see me.

As of right now I am currently reading two books that are not on the Challenge list. Both are books that should have been Early Review books. So, here is the plan: I am going to finish up those books (In the Sanctuary of Outcasts by Neil White and Why the Grateful Dead Matter by Michael Benson) and then return to reading from the list as much as possible. I need to stop reading titles not indexed in the Lust books, drop books that have nothing to do with the Challenge and reload the ones that do. The end.


Nancy Clark’s Sports Nutrition

Clark, Nancy. Nancy Clark’s Sports Nutrition Guidebook, 5th Ed. Champaigne, IL: Human Kinetics, 2013.

Nancy Clark’s Sports Nutrition Guidebook is jam-packed with all sorts of information, including eating disorders (anorexia & bulemia), which is something I didn’t encounter with other nutrition-for-athletes books I have read. While a great deal of the information is useful I also felt there was a great deal of repetition and common sense “fillers” that took up space (like her comment on plastic water bottles which has nothing to do with sports or nutrition, just her opinion). I enjoyed the clean and well organized chapters but didn’t try any of the recipes in the back. Although I initially borrowed this from a library, this is the kind of book I would buy to keep on my personal library shelves in order to refer back to it again and again.

Reason read: the Toronto Half Marathon is less than a week away. Talk about getting some last minute advice!

Book trivia: while most of the illustrations are interesting and well-meaning, some are downright goofy.


New Rules of Marathon and Half-Marathon Nutrition

Fitzgerald, Matt. The New Rules of Marathon and Half-Marathon Nutrition: a Cutting-Edge Plan to Fuel Your Body Beyond “the Wall.” Boston: Da Capo Press, 2013.

Reason read: So. I have this little run of 13.1 miles in Toronto in less than two weeks. I’m just now thinking I should research nutrition for this jaunt.

As much as I love books that are designed to make me a better anything my eyes glaze over when the information becomes too out-of-my-league. Take, for example Fitzgerald’s recommendation that runners should know “basic” information: body weight and V02 max. I can jump on a scale and figure out BMI, weight, fat % and bone density… but V02 max? I’m a middle-aged housewife just looking for a little more information on nutrition for runners. Obviously, The New Rules of Marathon and Half-Marathon Nutrition is for consumers who are much more hardcore about running than I am! But having said all that, there was a plethora of take-away information that I could (and probably will) use. Pre-race nutrition was especially helpful, as was the nutrition training plans and the chart of diet quality guidelines.

Author fact: Fitzgerald has written a few other books about running, nutrition and the like.

Book trivia: Kara Goucher, two-time Olympian, wrote the foreword for New Rules. Ryan Hall, also an Olympian, endorsed the book as well.


Silly Rabbit Comes Early

Month five of the Challenge. I have made a decision. I have come to the conclusion that I don’t like this big long list with book titles crossed off. While the list of books finished looks impressive I’m not liking the overall concept. I will stick this list thing out for this year, but come December we’re doing something different. Don’t know what yet but definitely something different. Here are all the books for the year with the books for April in bold:

  1. Dragon Reborn by Robert Jordan (DNF)
  2. In a Strange City by Laura Lippman
  3. By a Spider’s Thread by Laura Lippman (AB)
  4. Recognitions by William Gaddis (DNF)
  5. Maus by Art Spiegelman
  6. Lady Franklin’s Revenge by Ken McGoogan
  7. Brief Wondrous Life of Oscar Wao* by Junot Diaz (AB)
  8. Walk in the Woods by Bill Bryson
  9. Eugene Onegin by Alexander Pushkin
  10. Shadow Rising by Robert Jordan
  11. ADDED: A Good Doctor’s Son by Steven Schwartz
  12. ADDED: Drinking: a Love Story by Caroline Knapp
  13. ADDED: Ancient Rome on 5 Denarii a Day by Philip Matyszak
  14. ADDED: Nero Wolfe Cookbook by Rex Stout
  15. ADDED: Treasure Hunter by W. Jameson (ER)
  16. Maus II by Art Spiegelman (Jan)
  17. ADDED: The Dew Breaker by Edwidge Danticat (AB)
  18. ADDED: In Xanadu by William Dalrymple
  19. ADDED: The Assault by Harry Mulisch
  20. Wild Blue by Stephen Ambrose
  21. Shot in the Heart by Mikal Gilmore
  22. Greater Nowheres by David Finkelstein/Jack London
  23. ADDED: Alma Mater by P.F Kluge
  24. ADDED: Old Man & Me by Elaine Dundy
  25. ADDED: Dud Avocado by Elaine Dundy
  26. Good Life by Ben Bradlee
  27. Underworld by Don DeLillo
  28. Her Name Was Lola by Russell Hoban
  29. Man Who Was Thursday by GK Chesterton
  30. Fires From Heaven by Robert Jordan
  31. Finnegan’s Wake by James Joyce DNF
  32. Herb ‘n’ Lorna by Eric Kraft
  33. Polish Officer by Alan Furst – AB
  34. Lord of Chaos by Robert Jordan (Mar)
  35. ADDED: Walden by Henry David Throreau
  36. ADDED: Reservations Recommended by Eric Kraft (Mar/Feb)
  37. ADDED: Selected Letters of Norman Mailer edited by J. Michael Lennon – ER (Feb /Mar)
  38. Chasing Monarchs by Robert Pyle (Mar)
  39. ADDED: Saturday Morning Murder by Batya Gur (Mar)
  40. Bebe’s By Golly Wow by Yolanda Joe (Mar)
  41. Lives of the Muses by Francine Prose (Mar)
  42. Broom of the System (David Wallace (Mar)
  43. Crown of Swords by Robert Jordan (Apr)
  44. ADDED: Little Follies by Eric Kraft (Apr/Feb)
  45. ADDED: Literary Murder by Batya Gur (Apr)
  46. ADDED: Bob Marley, My Son by Cedella Marley Booker (ER)
  47. ADDED: Night Flight by Antoine de Saint-Exupery (Mar)
  48. ADDED: Southern Mail by Antoine de Saint- Exupery (Mar/Apr)
  49. ADDED: Measure of All Things, the by Ken Alder (Apr) AB
  50. Two Gardeners by Emily Wilson (Apr)
  51. Royal Flash by George Fraser (Apr)
  52. Fifties by David Halberstam (Apr)
  53. Binding Spell by Elizabeth Arthur (Apr)
  54. Crown of Swords by Robert Jordan (DNF)
  55. Path of Daggers by Robert Jordan (DNF)
  56. ADDED: Where Do You Stop? by Eric Kraft (May/Feb)
  57. Murder on a Kibbutz by Batya Gur (May)
  58. Flash for Freedom! by George Fraser (May)
  59. Murder in Amsterdam by Ian Buruma (May)
  60. Petra: lost city by Christian Auge (May)
  61. From Beirut to Jerusalem by Thomas Friedman (May)
  62. Jordan by E. Borgia (May)
  63. Coroner’s Lunch by Colin Cotterill (May)
  64. Cutting for Stone by Abraham Verghese (May)
  65. Flash at the Charge by George MacDonald Fraser (May)
  66. ADDED: What a Piece of Work I Am by Eric Kraft (Jun/Feb)
  67. Castles in the Air by Judy Corbett (Jun)
  68. Battle Cry of Freedom by James McPherson (Jun)
  69. Thirty-three Teeth by Colin Cotterill (Jun)
  70. Millstone by Margaret Drabble (Jun)
  71. Winter’s Heart by Robert Jordan (DNF)
  72. Crossroads of Twilight by Robert Jordan (DNF)
  73. At Home with the Glynns by Eric Kraft (Jul/Feb)
  74. Disco for the Departed by Colin Cotterill (Jul)
  75. Sixty Stories by Donald Barthelme (Jul)
  76. New Physics and Cosmology by Arthur Zajonc (Jul)
  77. Grifters by Jim Thompson (Jul)
  78. Complete Sherlock Holmes by Arthur Conan Doyle (Jul)
  79. Snow Angels by James Thompson (Jul)
  80. Ararchy and Old Dogs by Colin Cotterill (Aug)
  81. ADDED: Leaving Small’s Hotel by Eric Kraft (Aug/Feb)
  82. Flashman’s Lady by George MacDonald Fraser (Aug)
  83. Possession by AS Byatt (Aug)
  84. In the Footsteps of Ghanghis Khan by John DeFrancis (Aug)
  85. What Just Happened by James Gleick (Aug)
  86. Game of Kings by Dorothy Dunnett (Aug)
  87. ADDED: Inflating a Dog by Eric Kraft (Sep/Feb)
  88. Curse of the Pogo Stick by Colin Cotterill (Sep)
  89. Flashman and the Redskins by George MacDonald Fraser (Sep)
  90. Queens’ Play by Dorothy Dunnett (Sep)
  91. Robber Bride by Margaret Atwood (Sep)
  92. Mysterious Affair at Styles by Agatha Christie (Sep)
  93. Beautiful Struggle by Ta-Nehisi Coates (Sep)
  94. Then She Found Me by Elinor Lipman (Oct)
  95. Merry Misogynist by Colin Cotterill (Oct)
  96. Disorderly Knights by Dorothy Dunnett (Oct)
  97. Flashman and the Dragon by George MacDonald Fraser (Oct)
  98. Dark Hills Divide by Patrick Carman (Nov)
  99. Love Songs from a Shallow Grave by Collin Cotterill (Nov)
  100. Flashman and the Mountain of Light by George MacDonald Fraser (Nov)
  101. Pawn in Frankincense by Dorothy Dunnett (Nov)
  102. Andorra by Peter Cameron (Nov)

DNF = Did Not Finish; AB = Audio Book; ER = Early Review


Thomas Jefferson’s Creme Brulee

Craughwell, Thomas J. Thomas Jefferson’s Creme Brulee: How a Founding Father and His Slave James Heming Introduced French Cuisine to America. Quirk Books, 2012.

How I would love to step back in time and follow Thomas Jefferson around! I just find him to be such an interesting character. I definitely agree that he is the most cerebral of our founding fathers. Despite Benjamin Franklin’s eye for invention I find  that Thomas Jefferson was more downright curious. He wanted to learn all that he could about the world around him.

But, enough of that. Onto the book review: This was a disappointment. I honestly expected the subject matter to match the title of the book on several different points. For starters, the obvious one – food (specifically bringing French cuisine to America). I didn’t see enough supporting evidence to believe that it was Thomas Jefferson who actually introduced the cuisine to America. Only a small handful of recipes prove that recipes like macaroni and cheese were introduced. Then there is the subject of James Heming. James Heming might have been the one who did all the work – taking the culinary classes, practicing the recipes at Jefferson’s elaborate dinner parties, and training the next cook to take his place so that he might experience freedom, but it is on Jefferson Craughwell focuses the most. Even then the focus isn’t primarily on his bringing French cuisine to America, it was on everything else.