Tuesday, November 3, 2015

So many books, so little time! #thefitfam #thefitdish


It should be no secret to any reader of this blog that I love to read. After all, I host a monthly running book club! Before I dive into this week's post, I have to ask, have you read this month's book? We're reading my newest boyfriend's book, My Life on the Run: The Wit, Wisdom, and Insights of a Road Racing Icon by Bart Yasso. Holy moley! has he lived a life! If you haven't read this book, you need to. It's a real page-turner. I met Bart at the Chicago Marathon, and let me tell you what a nice guy he is! He agreed to an interview, and I'll be sending him questions later this week. Let me know if there's anything you want to know. He bares all in the book (literally) and I'm sure he won't hide anything from us.

Ok, back to the topic at hand.

Actually, yes, I always read books...
Yes, I love to read, but I don't just read books about running. I read just about anything and everything that sparks my interest. Quite often, I pick up a book just for pleasure. What I really like to read are books that inspire me, and those books span the genres. When Jill and Jessica posted this prompt for this week's The Fit Dish link-up, I thought it would be fun to feature books that I like outside of running and fitness.


One genre that I can't get enough of is historical fiction from the WW2 era. You would think that after reading multiple books set in war-torn, Nazi-occupied Europe, I would have my fill. But creative authors continue to come up with new twists on an old story. One of my most recent faves is The Nightengale by Kristin Hannah. Hannah is well known for her books in the "chick-lit" genre, and because of that, I was reluctant to pick this one up. But Hannah does write smart fiction, and this far exceeded my expectations. Her perspective as an author of women's fiction makes this story about women during this fascinating yet horrible time in history very readable, and she does a fantastic job telling their story.


I grew up reading the Little House series by Laura Ingalls Wilder. In fact, I couldn't get enough of those books. I thought I had an obsession until I found someone more obsessed than me. Wendy McClure's book The Wilder Life: My Adventures in the Lost World of Little House on the Prairie is a hilarious chronicle of her pilgrimage to all the places Laura lived. I even went to meet the author at a book reading! Right now I have A Wilder Rose by Susan Wittig Albert, a fictionalized story of Laura's daughter Rose, in my Kindle to read library. Probably due to this Little House obsession, I also like reading stories about other pioneering women. One of the most recent stories I read was Paula McClain's Circling the Sun, a story about a young woman growing up in colonial Kenya. Raised by her father, the heroine is a strong, bold woman who makes herself known as a horse trainer. This was a fascinating read.


I do love a good thriller. Gone Girl hooked me and wouldn't let me go. Too bad the movie didn't live up to the book (but does that ever happen?) One book that I've recommended lately is The Bullet by Mary Louise Kelly. A young woman develops wrist pain and seeks medical attention. An MRI reveals a bullet lodged in her neck! I was inspired by her tenacity as she attempts to put the pieces together and figure out what happened. Lots of twists and turns in this one.


There have been some "chick-lit" books that come to mind--well-written stories about life that I've enjoyed. JoJo Moyes does a great job with that--if you haven't read Me Before You, you are missing out on a moving, inspiring, and well-written story. Recently, I read The Knockoff by Lucy Sykes and Jo Piazza, which is the story of a veteran magazine editor who returns from a leave of absence to find that her young assistant has been promoted to digital editor and is plotting her demise! This is all about ageism and staying relevant, and you know that is something I think about a lot! The story was cleverly written and at times jaw-dropping, but it's everything that The Devil Wears Prada wasn't. Purely fun, but with a bite--Imogen doesn't back down.


I would be remiss without mentioning any fitness books that have inspired me--after all, this is a running blog! The book that started it all for me, probably the best book ever written about running, and the book that set me on my journey to do more than just run around the neighborhood being Mrs. Kravitz was Born to Run: A Hidden Tribe, Superathletes, and the Greatest Race the World has Never Seen by Christopher McDougall. This is an adventure story, but it is so much more--I learned a lot about the marketing of running shoes as well as the sport of ultra running. I can honestly say I will never do an ultramarathon, but I continue to be inspired by those that pursue those distances. I certainly look at running shoes with a much more skeptical eye than I did in the past and I've learned not to jump on the latest trend in running shoes bandwagon--remember Vibram five fingers? And now we have the opposite trend--Hokas. This is a must read for any runner.

Finally, are you on Goodreads? Goodreads is social networking for readers! There are book reviews and ratings by other readers; groups you can join (my book club is on Goodreads), and you can connect with other readers! This is a great site. You can connect with me if you want under my name Wendy Rivard; you can join the Taking the Long Way Home Book club there too!

Are you drawn to a particular genre of book? What books inspire you? Any recommendations? Are you on Goodreads?

60 comments :

  1. Great suggestions! I actually loved the Gone Girl Movie, maybe because I saw it a year after I read the book. I'm adding The Nightengale and The Bullet to my list! I have not figured out Goodreads. I am on it, but don't know what to do with it!

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    1. I really like Goodreads--both for the social aspect but also for all the great book recommendations I get from my friends!

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  2. I wish I had more time to read. These are some great suggestions, thanks.

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  3. So many books that I want to read...literally do not have time, need to make time though!!! I miss reading!

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    1. I always read before I go to bed. I'm boring tho, I can't dish about all the TV shows.

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  4. I wish I had more time to read. I've started Bart Yasso's book but havent had the chance to finish it yet. I met him at the Runner's World Festival and he was super nice!!

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    1. I just finished it last night! So good. Stick with it, it is worth it!

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  5. I loved Gone Girl! I read it in about 2 days. I love when a book really hooks me. My favorite genre is true crime. I also love rereading books I used to read in high school. I loved the author Christopher Pike, and recently reread most of his books. They are just great, mindless, "fall asleep to" books. Reading is really the only thing that helps me fall asleep.


    I don't read a lot of books about running. It's weird, it just doesn't interest me!

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    1. There's so many good books about running! I don't read the technical ones--I read the stories.

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  6. Born to Run is the only book on your list I've read. I've met Bart a few times and I'm always surprised by how he's not what you would expect. He's a brilliant business man but at heart a man that just loves to run.

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    1. Reading his book gave me a whole different perspective of Bart. Meeting him, he's so humble. You'd never know he did all this amazing stuff!

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  7. oh the bullet sounds interesting. and you know there's a sequel to me before you called after you that was recently published? i want to read it but need to wait because me before you just wrecked me. good list and i can't wait to read bart's book! i got to high five him around mile 8 during mcm. such a great guy!

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    1. A sequel? I must check that out! Thanks!

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  8. Gone girl was a great book....more so because it kept my interest. I have to make more time to read!

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  9. I'm also a big historical fiction fan. Have you read Pillars of the Earth by Ken Follett? That's one of my favorites. Thanks for all the suggestions! Adding a few of these to my reading list.

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    1. I haven't but my mom and sister have read that one! They loved it!

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  10. I think your new boyfriend needs to invite you to the RW Running Festival next year. I'll be your date. ; )

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  11. I have YET to read "Born to Run"! Does that make me a non-runner?:( Jk...I gotta read it soon, though. Need some motivation!

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  12. I read A LOT!! Thanks for the suggestions. I am always looking for new books to read. Just read Water Walker by Ted Dekker. Am now reading After You by JoJo Moyles.

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  13. I tried to friend you on Goodreads but it asked me your dog's name??

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    1. That doesn't make sense! I'll look for you.

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  14. I LOVED The Bullet! Almost forgot about that one, because I read it before it was published; SO GOOD! My signed copy of My Life on the Run is one of my faves; such a great read, and I really need to read it again. Great selections, Wendy!!

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  15. Heading to amazon right now to add The Bullet & the Knockoff to my wish list :)

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  16. Great books!

    Clearly I need to step up my functional reading game!!! I am such a "chick-lit" kinda girl...it just helps me get away.

    I need to do better and other types of reading too -I guess.

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    1. I like to throw those chick lit books into the mix for the same reason you like to read them! Sometimes it's nice to just read!

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  17. I'm greatly looking forward to reading Bart Yasso's book. I have it in hand. Your enthusiasm for B.Y. is contagious.

    I was asked by James Lee Burke to read and review an advance copy of his latest novel to be released December 5. That (a huge honor but also a heavy task) and half marathon training have consumed me these past few months/weeks.

    With my training in literature and as a writer, I am a voracious reader of wildly eclectic taste. Like you, I don't watch T.V., preferring to save whatever free time I have for reading, writing, and needlework. Oh. Running, too!

    I am not familiar with the many of the books on your list but they all appeal. I must look into them.

    What books inspire me? So many. Here are a few:

    Den of Lions, by Terry Andersen, on how he coped with being a hostage in Iran for several years.

    Unbroken, by Laura Hillenbrand. I'm sure you've heard of this one, recently made into a feature movie. Louis Zamperini is one of the bravest, strongest, most resilient people who ever lived. When you think that he cannot possibly bear any more, he does. By the way, he was an Olympic runner in 1936. One of the best books I ever read.

    The Perfect Mile: Three Athletes, One Goal, and Less Than Four Minutes to Achieve It by Neal Bascomb. A non-fiction book about three runners and their attempts to become the first man to run a mile under four minutes. Beautifully written, Bascomb gets to the heart of each man's personality, passion, and motivation. Yes, another running book. One of the counselors with whom I work loaned it to me. I took it out of duty, and blew through it in a couple of nights. Marvelous.

    The Kite Runner, by Khaled Hosseini. A good friend twisted my arm to read this. I thought I would hate it. I was wrong. I went to a book event and hears Dr. Hosseini speak. Believe it or not, he was very funny. Warm, witty, and a great storyteller.

    Shadow Divers by Robert Kurson, about diving for artifacts in a WWII German U-boat. "No, thank you," I said, when my reading pal asked me to join a book group and read this. How boring this must be. Wrong again. Edge-of-your seat story, heartbreaking. Two sets of divers battle to get there first, one treating the U-boat with respect as a gravesite, the other wanting to scavenge for its riches. It solves the mystery of a U-boat that disappeared and tells how the divers worked to locate the families (in Germany) of those who perished. Awesome.

    I could go on for days, but offer one more, from one of my favorite writers (One whom I've met multiple times and is one heck of a nice guy), Chris Bohjalian. I have several favorites, but since you have a particular fondness for WWII historical fiction, you might enjoy his, "Skeletons at the Feast." If you like that one, I highly recommend what he calls, "The most important book I will ever write." The Sandcastle Girls, about the Armenian genocide.

    Now I need to jot down all those you suggested. My TBR list is becoming a book in itself! :)

    Very enjoyable post. I love to talk about books and writing.
    Thanks, Wendy

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    1. I almost added Shadow Divers to this list. One of THE BEST books I've ever read. I haven't read The Perfect Mile but it is on my to read list. And I've read all of Chris Bohjalian's books!

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  18. Oooh these are great! I'm a historical fiction nerd so I just added a few of these to my wish list! I'm also into anything about pioneers/early american history too! Not really about pioneers, but have you read The 19th Wife? It's about mormons and goes from modern day fundamentalist LDS (the "cult" people who live out in the dessert and marry like 50 women) all the way back to the start of the mormon religion. It's so fascinating!

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    1. I'm going to add that one to my to read list! Sounds fascinating!

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  19. Some awesome recommendations here! The Bullet sounds right up my alley. Hoping to get my hands on the Yasso book soon...still so in awe that you got to meet him!

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    1. What a great guy...and he was on the Chicago marathon course. It could have been a hallucination, but I swear he called my name at mile 12!

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  20. Thanks for these recommendations! I'm generally drawn to nonfiction stuff, especially in the success/inspiration/blogging realm. I just finished reading "How to Blog for Profit without Selling Your Soul" and really enjoyed it!

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    1. That sounds interesting! I've been reading a little bit about that on the blogs. I never want to lose my voice!

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  21. There's so many great books out there! I wish I had all of the time in the world to read them all!

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  22. That Bart Yasso book is one of my sister's favorites! I would enjoy the "knockoff". I like that kind of chic lit, plus I work for a magazine myself!

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    1. Oh, for sure you'd love The Knockoff! I didn't expect to like it as much as I did, but it was really good!

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  23. Thanks for that list. I loved the Nightingale...will have to check out some of the others! (I also have Yasso's book and Born to Run - also very good)

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  24. I love to read....and in the last year I was reading too many running books and didn't have time to read non-running books, so I decided to take a break from running books.... I loved The Paris Wife.... and Me Before You... my favorite ever book is The Kite Runner by Khaled Hosseini... and of course you probably know that I am currently obsessed with Tiny Beautiful Things by Cheryl Strayed.... I've read Born to Run and quite a few other running books....did just by Fast Girl by Suzy Hamilton after hearing her podcast on another mother runner but haven't started it yet....that will be my next running related book...it's waiting on my shelf:)

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    1. Fast Girl is going to be featured in the book club coming up! Would you consider doing a review and linking up with me?

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  25. So many books and so little time is right! I loved Little House on the Prairie too so I need to check out your Wilder recommendation!

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  26. Such a great list...and it's hitting me that I am ashamed that I haven't read 'Born To Run,' So silly. well....definitely reading soon - thanks for the reminder. : ) And, I can't say how thrilled I was to see #thefitdish and #thefitfam in your title. So awesome. Wendy, I truly look forward to your posts every week - you share such great insight every time. Cheers to #fitfamlove : )

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    1. Oh, thanks Jessica! And you need to read Born to Run....

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  27. Gone Girl hooked me too, but I didn't like the ending!
    I use to reading Laura WI - those prairie adventures always seemed so appealing.

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    1. I've read one of Gillian Flynn's other books and it wasn't nearly as good as Gone Girl!

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  28. Great list of books! The Bullet looks great! I am ordering it now!

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  29. I love historical fiction as well, so I'm super excited to check these out!

    I should've thought to include my GoodReads account in my post so that I could find more friends + book suggestions! :P (I apparently can't add you unless I know the name of your dog! :O )

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    1. I will add you...I don't know why you need to know my dog's name!

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  30. I love WWII fiction!!I get sucked in every time but haven't found one recently. I'll have to check this out. I really wish I read more, I love to read, but can't seem to find the time these days!

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    1. There is one advantage to having teenagers--I have plenty of time to read since they only want to be with their friends!

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