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Again to Carthage

really liked it 4.00  ·  Rating details ·  2,592 ratings  ·  180 reviews
John L. Parker, Jr.’s first novel, Once a Runner, is the cult novel for runners. Self-published in the late 1970s, and for years sold out of the trunk of the author’s car at running events, it went on to sell over 100,000 copies and achieve legendary status among runners.

It perfectly captured the intensity, relentlessness, and sheer lunacy of a serious miler’s life. Kenny
Hardcover, 344 pages
Published April 1st 2008 by Breakaway Books (first published October 1st 2005)
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really liked it Average rating 4.00  · 
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Jan 16, 2008 rated it it was ok
Recommends it for: hardcore runners
Parker really blows it this time- his book is a literary jumble, with lots of extraneous characters and a rambling plot. The writing is pretty mediocre, almost laughable... until you get to the race description, which is awesome. You have to suffer 300 pages to get there. Not sure it's worth it. ...more
Pete Jennings
Mar 13, 2008 rated it liked it
Recommends it for: Runners
I know it seems like blasphemy to only give three stars to any book about Quenton Cassidy, but only about 3/5ths of the book is any good, so it seems appropriate. The first half is slow-moving, and hardly mentions running in any way. Parker is clearly trying to show the new world of Cassidy, which would be fine, if it was interesting at all, or if we found any reason to care about this new cast of characters. Maybe someone who is as into fishing as Once A Runner fans are into running, would appr ...more
Jan 23, 2011 rated it liked it
Shelves: books-i-own, 2011
As a runner I really enjoyed reading this book. What I find interesting about Parker's writing is that instead of just telling what happens to the characters he instead paints a picture and right when you start to wonder where it's all going it suddenly all makes sense.

It's not a quick read as the writing doesn't lend itself to reading quickly but it's beautifully written and like I said I love all the parts that talk about what it means to be a runner. A really good book that made me want to p
Jonathan Nichols
Dec 02, 2012 rated it really liked it
Parker's sequel picks up after Quenton Cassidy has become an olympian and now has to go back to something he has been avoiding: life. After establishing himself as a respectable lawyer though, he finds that there is something missing: his life simply is not challenging enough. After reconvening with his old friend Bruce Denton, Cassidy goes after his dreams one more time in an effort to qualify for the Olympic Marathon. Readers will be pleased to hear that Parker adheres to his nonchalant style ...more
Mar 15, 2012 rated it liked it
I loved "Once a Runner" but I found this one harder to get through. I had to force myself through some chapters that were entirely uninteresting to me. I love the main character, Quenton Cassidy, I think the author's writing is clever and often very funny, I love the running stuff, and the ending was good. But the writing seemed too self-indulgent, like the author figured his first book was so successful that he could put whatever he wanted in the second one and people would automatically love i ...more
Nate Dern
Jul 17, 2020 rated it it was amazing  ·  review of another edition
A book that long distance runners will enjoy and probably nobody else

And that’s okay. I read Once A Runner as a high school miler and this book as an aging marathoner wannabe. I recommend others do the same.
Mar 26, 2013 rated it really liked it
I have just finished it and I think it is a good book. It is worth reading his "Once a Runner" first since "Again to Carthage" is a sequel to it. Moreover, Parker does not spend time introducing the characters and somewhat assumes that the reader is familiar with the first novel. OaR achieved a cult status among people who enjoy the sport. OaR is out print but copies are scanned in and available on the Internet.

"Again to Carthage" is a more complicated book than OaR. The characters are given a b
Jordan Hanlon
May 08, 2012 rated it really liked it
I finally got around to read the long awaited follow up to the cult classic Once A Runner by John L. Parker Jr. (here is my book review in case you missed it). Once A Runner was one book that I thought did an amazing job act really engulfing you into the mindset and body of what it is like to be a runner. John L. Parker Jr. did an amazing job at evoking what it is really like to be a runner and specifically a track runner. It was one of those books that drew you into the characters so much that ...more
Bree Taylor
Mar 26, 2018 rated it it was amazing
Shelves: 2018, sports
I listened to Once a Runner on audiobook about 6 years ago. And it changed my life. Legitimately, it changed how I looked at running, runners, and the running community. Too long ago to admit, I picked up the novel at a running store with the intention of reading through it again. I mentioned it casually to a running friend of mine who promptly asked, "Did you read the sequel?"

This is that sequel. I'm glad I had 5 years between books. I have since become tangentially familiar with the intense de
Apr 13, 2008 rated it liked it
Recommends it for: Runners
Recommended to Danielle by: Review in Runner's World
As a runner, I liked the storyline and cast of characters. As a reader, I was entertained most of the time but annoyed often enough that I can't really recommend it. As a writer, I was appalled at the poor editing. Parker's prose is straightforward, so what's with the run-on sentences throughout the book? I know that fiction doesn't necessarily follow standard written English, but this strikes me as laziness, not style. Someone should have also caught Parker's habit of repeating stock phrases an ...more
Nov 14, 2010 rated it liked it
If you aren't a runner I don't think you could possibly enjoy Parker's books. The banter of group runs, the methodical, repetitiveness of training, and the agony of a long race are where Parker is at his best. The rest of the book felt almost like a story of his life (from what I can tell of his personal bio, his non-running life seems a lot like Quentin's).

I read Once a Runner many years ago, and in my head, that remains the better book. Of course, I was doing a lot of running then, and so I m
Glenn Pawl
Feb 10, 2011 rated it really liked it
I really liked "Once a Runner" and this sequel is just as good. As others have stated, it's not for everyone. If you've enjoyed the pain and the pleasure of doing endless intervals, long solitary runs, and marathon racing, you'll connect with this book. I read a negative review on Amazon where the individual stated that the book didn't inspire him to get off the couch and start running. Those are the ones that just won't get it.

Only negative was the chapter devoted to one of his former college
Jan 22, 2011 rated it really liked it
Shelves: running
The sequel to Once a Runner, this book initially seems like a cheap attempt to sell two novels for the effort of one book. However, this book grew on me. Again, John Parker draws parallels with the real world, both in events of the Cold War, and in the power trips of the athletics governing bodies.

This may not be the novel for someone into masterpieces of fiction, but it was an easy read and kept my interest.
Jan 10, 2013 rated it really liked it
At first I didn't like this book very much. I was annoyed by the detail given about the weekend fishing trips and such. Once Cassidy goes to NC to attend a funeral, though, the story shifted. And then the earlier details fit perfectly into the rest of the story.

It's a corny book about running. But, I enjoyed it. It's also better written than Once a Runner. If you're a runner dork, I think you'd like both books.
Jul 25, 2013 rated it it was ok
pretty disappointing. the first half of the book was pretty bad--boring self-indulgent irrelevant ramblings about fishing and lawyers, all leading very obviously to the part where quenton starts running again. once it got to that part it was pretty good, yes, it was, but not as good as OAR. felt a bit forced. and way too many references to weight/body fat. hopefully racing the rain will be good.
Apr 19, 2013 rated it really liked it
As the follow up to Once A Runner, I loved this book as well, if not more because its focus on distance running. Like a long run itself, it ambles and glides over seemingly random and at times odd events that lead to a collective ending worth the read.
Jan 18, 2019 rated it really liked it
This is by far the best of the series, but unfortunately the author did not get better at writing in any elegant manner. I will admit, I'm a terrible writer, and I have no excuse for it because I constantly am writing in my career (career student, that is). I really have no right to criticize another's writing, but I'm also notoriously hypocritical so here it goes. Parker is describing a very emotional exchange between two characters that's supposedly powerful and moving, which involves one char ...more
Jan 30, 2019 rated it it was amazing  ·  review of another edition
Again to Carthage, the sequel to Once a Runner (the greatest running novel EVER), is a worthy successor to the original work. Starting shortly after Quenton's return from the Olympics, we are dropped into his day-to-day life as a lawyer in Florida. The objections from many reviewers is, I believe, absolutely unwarranted regarding the first half of this book's depiction of Quenton's life. The reader NEEDS to see his life through his eyes. There is little introspection for the first 100 pages. Whe ...more
Oct 26, 2017 rated it liked it
Not a particularly good novel in absolute terms, and not as good as "Once a Runner". Reads a bit disjointed and disorganized, and the author may be going through the motions. Some affectations familiar from "Once a Runner", such as frequent name-dropping of American runners/coaches of the era and anecdotes of athletes' horseplay, become a trifle irritating here. Still, if you liked "Once a Runner" you'll want to read "Again to Carthage". However, I wouldn't recommend the book to the general read ...more
Jul 09, 2018 rated it liked it
As I read somewhere else, the dates make no sense. When did he run the 1,500 at the Olympics? What year is it? Who else was running then and now? Weren’t they contemporaries?

I loved Once A Runner. I usually love running and biking books, but this one didn’t do it for me.

Thank you to other reviewers who recommending skipping the first half of the book. I did appreciate the Vietnam chapter about his former teammate early in the first half.

Oskar Martinet
It probably shouldn’t even get 2 stars. So many unnecessary characters, speaking so many unnecessary words, and so many events that are barely related to Cassidy’s running career.

Now the two stars are for the marvelous craft of describing racing a marathon and the aging athletes psyche. Man did those hit close to home.

My take. Skip the fluff. Find the running parts. Read the original.
Apr 11, 2020 rated it really liked it  ·  review of another edition
No one writes about training as well as John.
No one can write about the race as well as John.
Most of the book was an average 5 or 6. But the chapters with training and races again hit it out of the park. A decent 8 overall from me. Not as good as the 11 for 'Once a runner', but fairly good nonetheless.
(Everything on a 10 point scale)
Chip Scarinzi
Apr 28, 2020 rated it really liked it
Must-read for anyone who has endured the "trials of miles." Some may find Parker's writing to be a bit meandering, but mostly, it's a brilliant story of an aspiring marathon runner during a time when such pursuits were fairly uncommon. An enjoyable book - I just wish there were more stories of the great Quinton Cassidy out there. ...more
Feb 27, 2017 rated it liked it
Probably the weakest of the three books. The first half passed slowly - it was very heavy on the introspection, and a little tiresome. The second half picked up a bit more. If you're in it for the racing like "Once a Runner", you'll be disappointed - the races are few and far between/ ...more
Wild Brian
Aug 06, 2017 rated it liked it
Very slow to start in my opinion. Was half way through the book before we get to hear of Quentin running. But the second half was very good and enjoyable to read. All in all a good read. Not on par with "once a runner" though but didn't expect it to be. ...more
coe booker
Mar 23, 2020 rated it really liked it
This review has been hidden because it contains spoilers. To view it, click here.
Jul 15, 2020 rated it really liked it
Shelves: sport, fiction
This review has been hidden because it contains spoilers. To view it, click here.
Eric Lenser
Sep 08, 2020 rated it liked it
It has its moments but overall a weaker novel than its predecessor. Tries to do too much and weave in philosophical, romantic, and other passages, forgetting it's a running novel and dragging throughout. The Olympic trials court trial scene might be the best in the series, though. ...more
Cory Scott Rutledge
Another great one

A fitting sequel to Once A Runner, definitely gives into the dream of being able to pick your sport up one more time and compete.
Zachary Everson
This review has been hidden because it contains spoilers. To view it, click here.
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John L. Parker Jr. has written for Outside, Runner’s World, and numerous other publications. He was the Southeastern Conference mile champion three times, and the United States Track and Field Federation national champion in the steeplechase, and was the teammate of Olympians Frank Shorter, Jack Bacheler, and Jeff Galloway on several championship cross-country teams. A graduate of the University o ...more

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