One of my many goals this year, running and regular is to read a book a week. I used to read books quite often. After 3 years of law school, it took years until reading was a pleasurable thing again. While I do not read books as often as I used to, I take solace in the fact that I read about “stuff” on the internet more than just about anyone I know. I am a curious chap and going from one link to another will take up hours in my day.
That said, actually finishing a real book is something I wish to do this year every week. I recall a conversation I had with my friend Karl Engleka about how if you read a book a week for your typical lifespan you would read a little over 4,000 books. This seems like quite a lot of reading until youpbut those books onto a typical library bookshelf. You would be surprised how little of those bookshelves they would fill. Especially when you consider it a life’s work.
But I am giving it a shot nonetheless. Luckily, I have a good half dozen or so books on the hopper ready to read. This is good for me since the hardest part of this challenge will be finding 52 books I want to read. Having recently delved into the classics (Catch-22; Fahrenheit 451; etc) and been supremely disappointed in, well, how disappointing of a read they were, I figured I would be out of luck come, say, May. However, with many running books out there to read and with a passion for running nowadays I never thought I would have had even just three years ago, I think I am in good hands.
Plus, now that the bulk of the work on my own book is done, I will not feel bad about reading instead of writing. With a hopeful early spring release date, my chronicle of Fiddy2 and its beginnings, as well as why I began running in the first place, promises to be an enlightening read one way or another. I hope all those who said they would buy the book if I sign it, will actually do so!
In the meantime, stay tuned here for a synopsis/review/critique of the books I have read.
Dick Beardsley’s autobiography, Staying the Course. For those who may not know, Dick is one of the most accomplished marathon runners in American History. Rather than list all of his many accomplishments (which you can view here) I will simply state one: his 1982 Boston marathon time remains the fourth fastest time in American history. Dang.
His book details his own rise to the top of the running ranks, as well as his hitting bottom as a drug addict. Unlike what a precursory view of the above sentence would make you think, Dick did not fall victim to cocaine, heroin or any of the other “hard” drugs. Rather, beset by a string of accident and injuries that would make a Greek tragedy seem funny, Beardsley instead became viciously addicted to painkillers. No less potent in their addictive quantities, this addiction had Beardsley taking so many pills that when the DEA finally caught him, they assumed he had to be dealing as no one human could ingest that many in the time period he did.
In just over 200 pages, Beardsley takes you through his childhood, marathon running days and to the present. At no time does the book bore, even for a non-runner. He rarely uses too many running terms and speaks in such a tone that you feel he is speaking directly to you, out on a boat in the middle of a Minnesota lake where he works as a fishing guide in his “dream job”.
If Americans love success stories, they lust after success, abject failure then success again stories. Beardsley’s life is one. So is this book. Go read it.