Family life and housekeeping, working two jobs, and going to grad school have definitely cut into my personal reading time (ah, poor me!), though both work and school profit from and sometimes require a steady diet of book and articles.
But, just for fun? Here are two pieces of literary nonfiction that I made time for and have nothing to do with my education or career. You might like them too. Both were national bestsellers and should be easy to get your hands on.
I got both through the Douglas County library (which, surprisingly, has not shunned me for moving 1300 miles from district lines). Got the first as an audio book to listen to on a long car trip, and the second in Kindle format to read in bits and pieces as I went about my day.
Born to Run: A Hidden Tribe, Superathletes, and the Greatest Race the World Has Never Seen, by Christopher McDougall
"Isolated by Mexico's deadly Copper Canyons, the blissful Tarahumara
Indians have honed the ability to run hundreds of miles without rest or
injury. In a riveting narrative, award-winning journalist and
often-injured runner Christopher McDougall sets out to discover their
secrets. In the process, he takes his readers from science labs at
Harvard to the sun-baked valleys and freezing peaks across North
America, where ever-growing numbers of ultra-runners are pushing their
bodies to the limit, and, finally, to a climactic race in the Copper
Canyons that pits America’s best ultra-runners against the tribe.
McDougall’s incredible story will not only engage your mind but inspire
your body when you realize that you, indeed all of us, were born to run."
Note, you needn't be an athlete to appreciate this book, though it might inspire you to tie on a pair of running shoes. Probably not the latest Nikes - McDougall's diatribe against an industry that has only increased runners' punishing rate of injury is quite convincing.
This book was hard to put down.
At Home: A Short History of Private Life, by Bill Bryson
"While walking through his own home, a former Church of England rectory
built in the 19th century, Bryson reconstructs the fascinating history
of the household, room by room. With waggish humor and a knack for
unearthing the extraordinary stories behind the seemingly commonplace,
he examines how everyday items -- things like ice, cookbooks, glass
windows, and salt and pepper -- transformed the way people lived, and how
houses evolved around these new commodities. 'Houses are really quite
odd things,' Bryson writes, and, luckily for us, he is a writer who
thrives on oddities. He gracefully draws connections between an eclectic
array of events that have affected home life, covering everything from
the relationship between cholera outbreaks and modern landscaping, to
toxic makeup, highly flammable hoopskirts, and other unexpected hazards
of fashion. ...His keen eye for detail and delightfully wry wit emerge in the
most unlikely places, making At Home an engrossing journey through history, without ever leaving the house."
I should probably warn you that this book is a long one. Really a series of meandering essays. It makes great bedtime reading (unless your companion objects to frequent exclamations that start with, "did you know?") But it lacks an overall plot and might not be a good choice for a long airplane trip unless interspersed with other books / activities.
This book was a pleasure to pick up.
One more thing. Both contained a bit of language and content you wouldn't want to share with young children.
What about you? Read any good books lately?