Saturday, November 12, 2011

What I’m Reading

I have a reading problem. I can never read just one book at a time. This disorder began when I first started reading chapter books, say age 25. No actually, when I was 7, I would carry around a stack of books – Little House on the Prairie, Stuart Little, Ramona the Pest – and read a bit of them each at a time. While I no longer carry around a stack, I am always in the middle of a few books at once. Usually one non-fiction, one fiction and one related to running/triathlons/training or spiritual growth.

Here are some titles I’ve read recently or am currently reading:

Sports/Fitness:

I am getting ready to start this book, so can’t give it a personal thumbs up/down. Ken just finished it and found it inspiring and interesting. It is an account of six non-elite individuals training to complete the ultimate of endurance events, the Ironman.

Personal Growth/Spirit:

The worn copy I have of this book is from 1955 and was handed down to me. This “journal” type book is timeless and offers simple words of wisdom on marriage, love, solitude and finding happiness.

I’ve long been a fan of Kristin Armstrong’s blog on Runners World. I think she is a gifted writer who uses running as a gateway to discussing other topics such as parenting, friendships, gratitude, stress and taking risks. A great book to have on your bedside table or to give to a runner friend.

Novel:

I love reading books about other cultures, and I’ve always had a particular fascination with India. This book also involves another of my passions – adoption. It compares Indian and American cultures while giving insight into the emotional depth of motherhood and the undying bonds between parents and their children.

I just started this book and cannot put it down. It takes place in both present day Minnesota and World War II Germany. It is a story of one woman’s experience during the war, but also delves into the lasting effects of trauma and how it impacts interpersonal relationships.

Non-Fiction:

This was a tough book to get through. Very graphic at times. I was drawn to this story because I could not understand how it was possible for a victim of a kidnapping to be held captive and never discovered for 18 years, especially when probation officers visited the kidnapper’s home over 50 times. I was also fascinated by the intense, dysfunctional and confusing relationship that a victim can develop with his/her perpetrator/abductor.

Professional Development:

I have just started working in the field of international adoption. This book is an informative and eye opening read about the process of adopting from China. The author also discusses the complex historical issues that have led to girls being considered dispensable in China and why so many baby girls are abandoned each year.

Read any good books lately? I never have a hard time finding good stuff, mostly because I take recommendations from other people. So pass along your favorites.  I want to read Steve Jobs soon. Anyone read it?

Are you a member of a book club? I used to be for several years. I got tired of feeling obligated to read a certain book each month, so I took a break.

Do you usually read more than one book at a time? I usually have two.

Would you rather watch television or read? I love my TV, especially when I’m tired. For me, it can be the ultimate mindless escape. But, reading challenges my mind and I am never happier than when I have a hot bath, a cup of tea and a book I can't put down.

SUAR

44 comments:

  1. Am very interested in hearing your opinion on I am an Ironman. I actually picked it up yesterday but was unsure..I hate it when I get a book and it isnt' what I expected..

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  2. Oh, I love this post because I LOVE to read, too. I usually have at least two books going. Right now I'm between books, but I'm about to pick up The Art of Racing in the Rain and I really want to read Mile Markers, too. I don't watch very much TV, so given the choice, I'll usually pick reading!

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  3. I have that Lost Daughters of China book. I started it a long time ago but never finished. It was a random pick at the bookstore and the majority that I got through (life got in the way and I just haven't picked it back up) were really good.

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  4. I LOVED The Secret Daughter! So good. Would really like it if Kirstin's books was available on Kindle in Canada - as soon as it is I'm getting it.

    I love to read. I would say that I watch tv more than I read, but not because I enjoy watching tv more than reading - if that makes sense.

    I have so many unread books loaded on my Kindle, I really don't need any more but a few of these titles have piqued my interest....

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  5. See, I'm just the opposite: I can only read ONE book at a time. Although, I confess that since I got the Kindle app on my phone, I have a downloaded book I read a bit of at times (it's one that I've already read), but only if I don't have my REAL book with me.

    I just finished reading Dangerous Places by Penny Vincenzi (one of my fav authors) and just started another one by her called The Best of Times.

    I've added Those Who Save Us and Secret Daugher to my embarrassingly long To Read list. I can't help it...I'm a bookworm!

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  6. The Biography "Unbreakable" is one of the best books I've read in years. Pulls you in with the story of his running, keeps you captivated with the rest of his life. Truly, TRULY one of the msot amazing books I've ever read - perfect book to start on Veteran's Dad weekend - it will leave you with a deep and lasting feeling of awe and gratitude to those who have served.

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  7. I just read You are an Iron Man, great book!!! Seth works here at our gym on base

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  8. I have often had several on the go at once, depending on my mood. Just finished The Cat's Table as I was starting Game of Thrones. I'm slowly chugging my way through Mark Twain's biography.

    The book club I'm in is more like a social club. We've been buddies for, well, almost 20 years. I dropped the other book club because it turned into month after month of trash like Dan Brown, Tom Clancy, Harry Potter. Twilight was the last straw.

    The only television I watch is what we find on DVD. I'm slowly working my way through Sanctuary, then it will be Leverage season 3, and finish off Dollhouse. If winter isn't over by then, I will probably try Stargate Atlantis again. Generally I'd rather read than watch something, but it depends on my mood.

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  9. You will absolutely love Those Who Save Us, personal guarantee. I read an loved Mile Markers, and will add the India one to my list... now! Thanks for the book recommends :)

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  10. Definitely agree about "Unbreakable". Best read I've had in a long time.

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  11. I also read several books at once. I thought I was the only one who did that. PS if you like india (and really, who doesn't?? :)), A suitable boy is a good book. White teeth is good as is Life of Pi.

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  12. I'm reading Bart Yasso's book right now. I would love to read the one about Chinese adoption. Our niece is adopted from China.

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  13. I have Unbroken on my reading list. I like reading one book at a time but find myself listening to an audio book in the car and a different audio book while I run, a fiction book, a nonfiction book, a book club book.... Drives me a little batty actually. My favorite recent read was Life Is So Good by George Dawson. Re fitness I'm reading ChiRunning and The Woman Triathlete. - Angela

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  14. I always have multiple books going; right now I count 4 in wait state, one in active. Not all that I would want to share, as it would not show me as in nice a light as yours do.

    Recommendation for non-fiction - The Emperor of All Maladies. I'm about halfway through and am fascinated. It bills itself as a biography of cancer. Heartbreaking but inspiring.

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  15. I'm trying to read one book at a time, but right now I have so many good ones, I would love to read them all at once.

    Currently I'm reading "The Jade Rabbit", it's about social work, adoption and running. I like it! :)

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  16. Recently finished "Run Like a Girl" and "Born to Run". Working on a book about the NY Marathon right now that is ok, but not anywhere near as good as the other two. I read a book this summer that was written by Michael Orr that kind of told the truth about the "Blind Side" story in his own words (and where the movie took liberties for story effect). It was an easy an interesting read I picked up at the library. Kovas did a review on "You are an Ironman" that was less than stellar so I'll be interested to see your thoughts. I have a pretty good list in my Bookworm app of other tri/running related books I want to read. I just found out I can get most of them from another library out of town so I won't waste my precious tri budget on books. I like fiction, but have been on a bit of a nonfiction run lately. Thanks for some ideas.

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  17. This has nothing to do with your post today but I want to send out a HUGE motivation shout out to EVERYONE... 1 1/2 years ago I got sober from alcohol and drugs. I started running. Today I ran the Santa Barbara International Marathon in 3:08!!

    Anything is possible in life. Don't EVER give up. Push through the tough times and ALWAYS believe in yourself.

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  18. I am such a book addict! I'm the type of person that finishes a book and buys 3 more. I used to be very strict about reading only 1 at a time, but now I have 1 book I read at home and 1 I read on the train while I commute. My goal is to read all of my "real" books by my next birthday so I can get cranking on all of the books I have on my kindle. Right now I'm working on the Lord of the Rings books and Wheat Belly

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  19. I have the same syndrome! Thought I'm so silly for doing that...i'm reading Games of Thrones while tackling Born to Run and scanning Neil Gaiman's books!

    Btw, so glad to have found your amazing site. Bought 1 shirt =D

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  20. I have about 4 books started right now.

    I am reading 'You Are An Ironman' right now and about to finish it and then jumping into 'Iron War'

    I tend to really dive head first into topics I love and triathlon right now is at the top of the list.

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  21. I love Kristen Armstrong! I have one of her quotes taped to my wall. :)

    As for my own reading.. I'm working on Unbreakable and Anna Karenina right now. I also read 2+ books at any point in time. Some books -- like Unbreakable -- are intense, and I need to take a break to keep going. (Having a Kindle only makes that syndrome worse.)

    I was a member of several book clubs before my move, but haven't found one yet in FL! So I'm psyched that one of my old book clubs just happens to have their next meeting when I'm in town for work. I don't care if I hate that book, I'm reading it and going!

    I definitely prefer books over TV. I especially prefer book-reading at the beach over almost any other passtime.

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  22. Thanks for the book recommendations! I'm reading Catching Fire by Suzanne Collins after loving the Hunger Games (have to nurture my inner adolescent self!). I recommend all books by Jhumpar Lahiri, The Privileges by Jonathan Dee, and Little Children by Tom Perotta. I also think anything by David Sedaris is brilliant and super funny.

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  23. I wish I could do the multiple books at one time thing. I love to read and have so many books lined up to read right now. Starting Unbroken next and yes, it's for my book club, but it's one I've been dying to read anyhow.

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  24. Currently Kara Goucheres book, so far I like it! Some of those books on your list are also on mine... I wish I could read faster!

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  25. Thanks for the suggestions, I love books but honestly don't have time to read. It's so sad but I have "heard" my favorite books as audio books lately. I can listen to books while driving, riding my bike, running, doing laundry etc.

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  26. I am also a book lover. I checked out You Are An Ironman from the library yesterday but haven't started reading it yet. I bought Mile Markers after enjoying Kristin's column for years. It was a great book. Gift From the Sea is another favorite and I thought about it this morning while I was running on the beach. They are doing renourishment of our beach so there are alot of shells being dredged up. I found a beautiful whole one with no chips that took my mind to the book Gift From the Sea. I just finished A Stolen Life which offered an interesting perspective from a kidnap victim. I enjoy your posts and want to recommend a good book called SEE by musician Steven Curtis Chapman and wife Mary Beth Chapman who are heavily involved in international adoption awareness and have two adopted daughters. The book is about the tragedy of Maria's death a few years ago when their 17 year old son accidentally ran over Maria when she ran out to welcome him home. It is part their story and part adoption awareness.

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  27. I read a lot of books at one time, too (minimun two) now that my kids (sometimes) sleep through the night. I just finished a Nora Roberts book (romance, don't judge). I am re-reading 1, 000 Gifts (Ann Voskamp; excellent!) because it's not a one-time kinda book. And Grace-Based Parenting. I also have a TON on my kindle but my husband is "borrowing" it right now.

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  28. I am nearing the end of "A Stolen Life" as well. It is a train wreck and i've just not been able to put it down. Seems like she got trapped in her 11 yr old thinking throughout her captivity. That she never tried to escape in all those years just goes to show the power of words and how someone can have power over a child. Wow. I used to read more than 1 book at a time but now try to read one...although, I'm also in the middle of The Other Boelyn Girl. Saw the movie and then found the book at a thrift so gave it a whirl. It's very interesting too...takes you to another time and place. Waiting for "in the garden of the beasts", a fictional book about the holocaust etc. Sounds intense.

    I will agree with another reader and say that Unbreakable is the best book I have ever read. As for running books, Born to Run was my fave and want to own it so I can pick it up and laugh and keep myself pumped about running.

    Thanks for the book ideas! I get low on ideas and then get stuck reading lame books and feel so bored. I feel reading is cheap therapy, along w/ running....3 and 5 yr old boys here, so I need to "escape"!! hhaa!

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  29. I love reading but horrible at reading for I need to finish a book I like all in one sitting.

    I just read a Big Little Life by Dean Koontz ... on how your dog's presence has an impact on your life .. I hope to finish the Room on my next business trip which seems to be the only time I catch time on my reading!

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  30. I am currently on book 3 of George R.R. Martin's Song of Ice and Fire series. Usually fantasy is not my type of read, but I'm hooked on Game of Thrones on HBO, so I had to read the books that the show is based on.
    If you like reading about Indian culture, I recommend A Fine Balance by Rohinton Mistry. That book affected me so much. It will take you through such a range of emotions. I wish the author would write a sequel because I want to know more about these characters!

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  31. Hi! I'm so happy your getting into international adoption! When I was 17 I was in China for a few weeks sight seeing with a group. I decided then (in 1988) that I wanted to adopt a girl from China. What our guides and interpreter told us about girls being given up was heartbreaking. At the time, not much was known in or out of China about what was going on internally (even when we were their in '08 adopting Maddie, we were told the people of China STILL had no clue so many of their girls were being given up). There are so many stories I can tell you- both happy, sad and horrific- that may or may not be in that book (I haven't read it).
    I also am reading a couple books at a time. Right now it's Advanced Marathoning and a sci-fi/ fantasy novel whose name eludes me...

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  32. OOoooo, great topic!
    Gift from the Sea is wonderful. I used a reading from that book in my first wedding. The marriage didn't take but people loved that reading!

    I also LOVED The Art of Racing in the Rain (told from a dog's point of view, a sweet, short read). Included in the "I also loved" list: The Red Tent and Water for Elephants. Currently reading Tina Fey's Bossypants - it's laugh out loud funny, as is David Sadaris's Me Talk Pretty One Day (another of my absolute favorites).

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  33. Wow, great reading list. I am such a reader, I love this post. Secret Daughter and Kristin Armstrong's book are both on my list...you just added a few more, so thanks!

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  34. Unbroken by Laura Hillenbrand- truly is one of the best books I have read in a very long time. Amazing biography about an amazing man. Who should have been the first american to break a four minute mile.

    Also Last Days of Summer is wonderful and very quick read. Room. The God Hater. Cutting for Stone. All my favorite reads from this year.

    non fiction- Explosive Child and 10 days to a less defiant child- those 2 books alone have just about saved my sanity. Any parent of a very, very strong-willed child needs to read those.

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  35. I read Those Who Saved Us this summer and loved it. I love anything having to do with that time period. The ending left me with something to be desired though.

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  36. This book is not easy to find and there's no kindle version, but I LOVED it, and since you mentioned you like stuff about India, "India Passion" should go on your list: http://www.amazon.com/Passion-India-Javier-Moro/dp/8176211788 It's a true story of a Spanish dancer who marries a maharaja at the beginning of the last century. It's fascinating!

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  37. Ditto Trisha - Unbroken by Laura Hillenbrand- truly is one of the best books I have read in a very long time. Amazing biography about an amazing man. Who should have been the first american to break a four minute mile.

    Unbroken was an awesome book. I read it on a flight from LA to DC a few weeks back. I just finished The Paris Wife - good book, not great, but good. Next up is Where You Left Me, a true story about a widow from 9/11.

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  38. Thanks for all the great info. I am always looking for new reads. Can someone say who wrote Unbreakable? (apologize if it's already noted).

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  39. Great recommendations! Like you, I sometimes have more than one book going at once. Usually two different genres so I can go back and forth, depending on what I'd rather read. I also need some "brain dead" moments, so I may just watch TV at night. But, most nights I'd rather get lost in a book. How are you getting involved in international adoption? What will you be doing?

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  40. I have the same reading problem!! I usually have 2-4 going at once, depending on how interesting they are. I think part of it is that I find it very hard to truly focus; I even read AND watch TV, sometimes. Right now I'm partway into Memoirs of a Geisha, and I'm waiting for Breaking Dawn to be available at the library. (yes, I admit it: I sucked into reading Twilight books, at the age of 42)

    You have some interesting titles in your post; I'll have to put them on my Goodreads "to-read" list!

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  41. I bought "I Am An Ironman" for Lady J for her birthday and she has been giving me tidbits from the book. I'll probably end up reading it when she is done.

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  42. we have a lot of the same books

    I am reading "those who save us" as well

    I got it after reading Sarah's Key (a must if you have not read it already). Just saw Sarah's Key the movie, really good and it was in FRENCH!

    I read more than 1 at the time also.
    I have Unbroken now and also Ellen's latest..makes me laugh

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  43. Adena - The book is "Unbroken" by Laura Hillenbrand:

    http://www.amazon.com/Unbroken-World-Survival-Resilience-Redemption/dp/0739319698

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  44. I always have at least two books going at the same time too! I will have to check out some of your suggestions. :)

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