Wednesday, July 11, 2012

Summer Reading

During the summer I have visions of laying in my front yard, spread out on a colorful quilt, under one of our many trees and losing an afternoon to a good book.

It doesn't happen. First, bugs crawl all over me. Second, Holly the crazy dog, can't lay still when she lays beside me, and spreading a quilt on the lawn means she will lay beside me. She rolls around, feet up and around, tail smacking my face, disturbing my time,my space. Third, my chore list is seldom quiet. I try to set it aside, try to embrace the new me that would have no problem spending an afternoon reading a book, but the new me is weak and frightened. The regular me is bent on keeping up with her lists. She is strong and bossy. "Groceries, cleaning, errands, weeding", she hollers, "get those things done first, then you can sit."

Those things never get done. I'm catching on to that but I'm a slow learner.


Here are some books I've read lately. Strangely, they are all non-fiction. I've tried to read some fiction lately, but I haven't found a story that has grasped my hand and led me away. I'll keep looking but in the meantime here is where I've been lately.

Born to Run

This book inspired me to buy some new running shoes. This book made me want to run 50 mile races. This book made me want to go to Mexico and run with the Tarahumara. This book told a story about running that I completely lost myself in. It took me to Colorado mountain trails, and the Copper Canyon in Mexico. In introduced me to people who make up a counter culture of long distance elite runners. It shared research from track coaches on running shoes, as well as diet information. I was there with the author all the way. I ate it all up. It was fact and story interwoven so effortlessly that I sometimes forgot that it wasn't a fiction novel.

I love running.  I think this book gave me reasons to love it more. We were all born to run. Yes, you too.

The Five Forces of Wellness: The Ultraprevention System for Living an Active, Age-Defying, Disease-Free Life

I picked this one up at our local library. It was an audio book so everytime I sat down in the van, Dr. Mark Hyman was talking to me about his belief in how food is all we need for optimal health. He talked about the need for vitamin supplements in this day and age of processed foods and corporate farming. He talked about how food in it's most natural state is always the best choice. He urged me to stay away from sugar, processed carbs and to eat nuts, fat, and greens. He said that most Americans are overfed and undernourished.

I think my grandparents could have written this book. It seems to be a return to where we all came from but what we've forgotten somewhere along the way in terms of our diet, our activity level and our community experience. Lots of information and because it was an audio book I couldn't go back and re-read parts that I would've liked to but still a very good book.

This is my latest find. I was cruising the shelves of the libary this past Sunday, and my eyes fell on this. It's a book that chronicles the author's personal journey through a diagnosis of prediabetes immediately after his father loses a leg to the disease. I'm not finished with it yet but it has me in it's grips. There is story mixed in with facts and research, stirred together to produce a riveting read. So far his message is much the same as Dr. Hyman's. We are eating to much sugar, too many processed carbs, not enough fat, and not exercising enough. He seems to have some anger issues towards the medical community and their apparent refusal to address nutrition in general, but especially in the case of diabetics. Mr. O'Connell, who was a writer for "Men's Health" magazine and an editor in chief at "Muscle&Fitness", considered himself healthy. He wasn't overweight. He exercised. He assumed those two things translated into healthy, but they didn't. 

I'll keep you posted on this one.

Two other interesting books I've read lately are the Blue Zone and Thrive, both by Dan Buettner.  Blue Zone identifies geographic locations of populations of people who live to be 100. He studies their diet, their community, their faith practices all in an attempt to teach us how to live longer. Thrive is the same concept except the places in the world he highlights have people who claim to be the happiest in the world. Again he talks about community and faith, but also safety, economy, government or lack of, and taxes. He establishes the standard he used to measure happiness but instead of explaining it to you, I think you should read it for yourself. 

So there you go. Like it or not you now have my summer reading recommendations.

Let me know if you've read any of these books and what you thought.

Happy reading!


  1. read, read,'s good for the soul. Yeah for libraries! I've just read Winning the Food Fight by Steve Willis. And Kisses from Katie by Katie Davis. Check out her website if you've not heard of her; you'll be spellbound.

  2. Brian read the "Born to Run" book and really enjoyed it. On my reading list is "Unbroken" by Laura Hillenbrand. It's about a WWII pilot whose plane is shot down over the ocean. He's then captured by the Japanese and held as a prisoner of war. Everyone that I know who has read it highly recommends it.


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