I haven’t really been able to “afford” free reading for the last 12-14 months of comprehensive exam preparations and dissertation proposal-writing. So I’m having a little rebound right now, while my proposal awaits final approval (which I hope will happen at a meeting on April 7). I tore through The Art of Racing in the Rain by Garth Stein in two nights. What a beautiful book, and extra-appealing if you have or have had a special connection to a dog. It’s a bit of a heartbreaker, of course, but has some triumphs as well, and is just so well-written.
When I finished that, I went back to Born to Run: A Hidden Tribe, Superathletes, and the Greatest Race the World Has Never Seen, by Christopher McDougall. I had started it on a one-way plane trip in September (I was driving back), but couldn’t pick it up again until this week. What a great book! McDougall’s race descriptions make you feel like you’re right on the sideline watching. His ear for dialogue and for each character’s “voice” is terrific. And he is especially skilled at weaving in scientific research and technical details (about shoe technology, anatomy, kinetics, and nutrition) that might otherwise bog some readers down. I’ve got flags and notes all over this one. Just loved it.
Next up in my free-reading binge: Haruki Murakami’s What I Talk About When I Talk About Running, and two novels: Margaret Atwood’s The Year of the Flood, and Reif Larson’s The Selected Works of T.S. Spivet. Then I’ll probably have to get back to reality and start plowing through the dissertation reading list.