Around the World in 28 Days- February Books

For some strange reason I decided to do a "themed" reading month- nonfiction books focusing on different locales. In retrospect it was a mistake, a little too "college course" for me, but once I decided I followed through. I think the biggest problem is that I don't like the be told what to do- feeling forced to do thing makes me want to rebel. Anyway, here are the three I got through in February:

Born to Run: A Hidden Tribe, Superathletes, and the Greatest Race the World Has Ever Seen

Christopher McDougall
Pages: 304
Exotic L
ocale: Copper Canyons in Mexico (and various places in the US)

I really, really enjoyed this book, which describes McDougall's work with the mysterious trail runner Caballo Blanco to create an epic trail run through the Copper Canyons of Mexico, home to some of the most amazing superathetes in the world- the Tarahumara Indians. He recruits several insanely fast, dedicated trail runners and ultramarathoners from the US and they travel through dangerous parts of Mexico to hold this race. McDougall weaves together several stories about people and races, while combining a great deal of running science. I read this before running the Surf City Half, and remember thinking somewhere around mile 10, "If those crazy ultramarathoners can run 100 miles in the 110 degree desert I can suck this up!" It does push the whole "barefoot running" trend, though, which I'm not completely on board with at this point.

The Lost Girls: Three Friends. Four Continents. One Unconventional Detour Around the World
Jennifer Baggett, Holly Corbett, and Amanda Pressner
Passport Stamps: Thailand, India, Australia, New Zealand, Africa

It's hard for me to discuss this book without making an important differential: there's the boo
k as a text and the book as an adventure. As an adventure, it's fantastic. Three corporate girls in their late twenties ditch their Manhattan lives for a year-long trek around the globe. They rough it in hostels (ew), volunteer, struggle with staying connected to the people back home, and grow as individuals. As a book, though, it's not extremely well-written; the girls did not have unique narratives and were unnaturally descriptive. Pretend they're describing coffee: "I sipped my steaming hot latte out of a bright white cup with forest green writing, that had been handed to me by a young barista with a unique tribal tattoo on the inside of his bulging bicep." Also, I felt at times they got along too well and that maybe the juicier aspects of their adventure were being left out. As a book, it was okay, as a life decision, completely ballsy.

180 Degrees South: Conquerors of the Useless
Chris Malloy
Pages: 237
Destination: Patagonia (bottom tip of Chile)

I watched the documentary that this book is based on last fall and fell in love. It's about a group of guys decided to recreate a trip down to Patagonia to climb a treacherous mountain peak, meanwhile stopping on Rapa Nui (Easter Island) when their boat suffered extreme damage. Two of the original men that ma
de the initial trip are actually the founders of the clothing lines Patagonia and Esprit- both of which are involved in massive Chilean conservation efforts now (and play major roles in the book and documentary). The book details their journey, their climb, and how humans are doing everything in their power to destroy the environment one river and patch of sustainable earth at a time. This is actually a coffee table book, but there is a substantial amount of text. The pictures aren't stock- they're either ones taken during the trip or are stills from the original film. This book has so many powerful messages in it- we should follow our ambitions, be spontaneous, and give a damn about nature.

You can bet March will be full of fiction!

1 comment:

  1. Yes! A book blog! I am in heaven. I can't wait to take your suggestions. Although The Lost Girls may not be the greatest book, I think I will pick it up simply for the adventure. It sounds like my kind of story.

    I also loved Born To Run. It helped to reignite that passion I have for running.