"The Art of Racing in the Rain" by Garth Stein
This book has been by albatross for a while. A coworker read this in preparation for our trip to Seattle for work and then let me borrow it ... last July. I moved it from my nightstand to the dryer to my car and back. I finally cracked it open last week and finished it in two days. It's the story of a family traveling through major changes as seen through the eyes of a dog. Enzo saw a documentary once that said some religions believe that dogs who are excellent in their lives are reincarnated as humans, and seeks to be the best companion and protector he can be. I cried, but then again, I have a dog, so it might be a different kind of read if you've never shared your home and heart with a four-legged companion.
"Kara Goucher's Running for Women: From First Steps to Marathons" by Kara Goucher
This was another quick read. I think I finished it on the way back from North Carolina. It was a refreshing book with each chapter starting with a personal story from Kara, then her tips and pointers on all things running. I had no idea that she ran her first marathon (the fastest debut ever by an American woman) after only training for eight weeks after the Olympics. She still thought everything went wrong. It's so humanizing to know that she struggles with self-doubt, as well as overeating. I highly recommend this book to all female runners; even if you don't glean anything from her tips, her story is still very interesting.
"Sybil Exposed: The Extraordinary Tale Behind the Famous Multiple Personality Case" by Debbie Nathan
I'm a too young to remember the 1973 book and later, the 1976 movie that started the firestorm that was multiple personalities in the '80s and '90s. I do remember watching made-for-TV movies on Lifetime about people who claimed, under hypnosis, that they were abused by satanic cults at daycares. I really enjoyed the book "Victims of Memory," so I couldn't wait to read this. Nathan discovered after reviewing records, interviewing people and examining resources the real story behind Sybil, a book that purported to be a nonfiction novel about a woman with many, many multiple personalities created by a childhood filled with horrific abuse. Nathan systematically follows Shirley Mason, also known as Sybil, through her "treatment." With hindsight, we see how two power- and fame-hungry women manipulated an ill woman into becoming a sideshow. This was a great read, but I almost like "Victims of Memory" more.
"Off On Our Own" by Ted Carns
This was a very strange book. It's written by Ted Carns, who at age 17, crawls into a run-down home while on LSD. He then starts renting the hunting lodge from a widow for $5 a month, with the understanding that he could make any improvements he wants. Now, he lives completely off the grid, generating his own power, inventing elaborate ways to recycle all waste and growing all of the food for his mostly vegan diet. While I found the book fascinating and insightful, I didn't read the whole thing, skipping to to the parts I found interesting. This book isn't so much a how-to, but rather, a book about creating your own goals and desires in a consumer-driven world.
"Bike Touring" by the Sierra Club
Another one of my way-out-there goals: bike across America, camping under the stars and seeing all the sights I can. Sigh. One day, I'll eventually retire and I'll have lots of plans. This book is gigantic with tiny type and minimal photos, so it's just packed with tips for all kinds of bike tours, from weekend jaunts to cross-country excursions.
So what should I read next?