This was a riveting work of non-fiction by McDougall. The story of the runners of Tarahumara who are able to run ridiculously long distances with speeThis was a riveting work of non-fiction by McDougall. The story of the runners of Tarahumara who are able to run ridiculously long distances with speed and little fatigue is almost the stuff of legend, and this coupled with the arching tale of a race involving a cast of American runners, Tarahumara runners, and the author makes for a quick and interesting read. McDougall uses every trick of the non-fiction genre too, by mixing things up and discussing running shoes controversies, theories and coaching strategies of running, individual character profiles, and many interesting tales of ultra-runners through the ages. His argument that humans are "born to run," while perhaps not entirely persuasive, is intriguing and good food for thought for a culture all too accustomed to food without thought and/or any kind of exercise at all.
I believe this could be a very useful text in the high school classroom. There is some bad language which intermittently makes appearances, but the content of the book is challenging, full of cool facts, and written in a really accessible tone. A teacher could use excerpts from the book as well and bring up any number of issues to discuss like the life of the Tarahumara, the way in which the Tarahumara were exploited as runners and people at some points in history, the corporate cover-ups of shoe manufacturing, Mcdougall's claims that running can make someone a better person, the barefoot running movement, the claim of running's enjoyable aspects, and what all this could mean in our lives and exercise routines.
It is important to keep in mind that this text is written from a runner's perspective. So, McDougall stacks the deck often in his favor to argue the case for runners and ultra-runners of most stripes. Even after this strong read, I find myself doubting the sanity of running these brutal 100 mile races, but - hey - that's just me! A cool read that I highly recommend....more
This is a long love letter to the NBA. I don't always agree with Simmons, and he often brings his fan bias to the table... but he loves and knows baskThis is a long love letter to the NBA. I don't always agree with Simmons, and he often brings his fan bias to the table... but he loves and knows basketball. This is an easy read for those of us who grew up in the golden age of the NBA and want to believe that it could be someday be great again. It is funny, silly, and, at times, beautiful... like a perfect jump shot. ...more
A book for the birds! Obmascik pulls off an interesting and entertaining account of competitive birders in the Rushmore of birding years. This is veryA book for the birds! Obmascik pulls off an interesting and entertaining account of competitive birders in the Rushmore of birding years. This is very good non-fiction writing that balances informative writing about birds (what I enjoy most about the book) with character sketches of the folks that obsessively chase them down. While I do not always especially like all the characters, Obmascik is generous and attempts to tell their story sympathetically and accurately (giving some insight into their obsession)... competitive birding is a little insane, though, and it appears that some of the competitors may be equally insane.
I had to read this book over a long period because of those pesky university classes, and I think that as a result I lost a little momentum in the last third of the book. But, I thoroughly enjoyed the book and have recommended it to several of my friends. My wife and I have taken to birding recently... but I doubt we'll tackle the competitive aspects of our new hobby!