Social Justice Book Club, January 2016: Hope in the Dark Sign-ups & Information

It's that time again! We're excited to be closing in on the start of the January 2016 Social Justice Book Club group read of Hope in the Dark, by Rebecca Solnit.

Week in Reading, and in Life: Monday, December 5th

Hey, so, remember when I used to be a blogger? Yeah, me too, kind of. Let's see if we can get back to that version of me.

Between the election, work, end-of-year review deadlines, and a bunch of travel, I've been taking a much-needed step back from the internet. For the most part, it's been quite excellent. I'm starting to ease back into things, starting with this little corner of the internet. We shall see.

Am Reading

I now consume most of my news in print form (The Frederick News Post and The Washington Post), where I don't worry about accidentally reading the comments, and find myself drawn into stories I would otherwise have glossed over in online headlines. It's been a shift for this millennial, and proved a (mostly) welcome one.

#SJBookClub: Exciting Announcements & the January Book Pick

It's been quiet here, but there's been a lot happening on the Social Justice Book Club behind the scenes. First, and most exciting, is that Janani of The Shrinkette has agreed to co-host next year's club! If you're not familiar with Janani's blog, you're seriously missing out, especially as she focuses in on writing about diverse books and own voices. She's also wonderful to follow on Twitter, IG, and Litsy (@theshrinkette). I'm SO excited to have her on board for this adventure, and can't thank her enough for all the work she's already putting into making this the best group it can possibly be!

not sorry that i can only use parks & recs gifs to express my emotions this week

We're putting our heads together on ways to make the club more robust as we move forward, but in the meantime, wanted to share January's book selection: Rebecca Solnit's Hope in the Dark.

Week in Reading: A Birthday, a Burden, and a Stack of Books

It's been a week. It's been what feels like the longest week possible. It's been a dark week. It's been a hard week. It's been a trying week. It's been a crying week.

It seems almost trivial to sit here and write about books in a week when far more important things are happening in our world, but I believe that books are, now more than ever, crucial to our existence. They are the means by which we can understand this crazy, fucked up, upside-down world of ours, learn from the mistakes of the past, and try to apply reason to the insanity of the present, and the means by which we can escape it. They are a way of leaning into the horrors, of seeking comfort from the same, and a means of hiding from reality when need be.

Running Recap: Baltimore Running Festival Half-Marathon

Yet another long, completely not book-related running recap. I make no apologies.

Welp, it's another one in the books. Two weeks ago, I ran my seventh official half-marathon. Because of travel, I wasn't able to make it back to the Freedom's Run half-marathon this year, so I set my sights on the Baltimore half marathon instead, held two weeks later as part of the annual Baltimore Running Festival.

Social Justice Book Club: Men We Reaped Wrap-up Post

Oh my goodness, you guys, this book. I'm not sure I can actually come up with words to express how I feel about Men We Reaped. I'm tempted to say that I loved it, but that feels inaccurate, because I hate that it needs to exist. I'm tempted to say that Ward's writing is beautiful, but that does the horror of her stories an injustice. I'm tempted to say that I found this story unexpectedly readable, but that belies the difficulty of the subject at hand. And so I'll settle on recommending it, and praising the power and honesty in Ward's memoir, and doing my best to explain why it resonated with me, a middle-class white woman who's never lived in the South.

Men We Reaped weaves together two main stories: that of Ward's childhood (her earliest memories as a child, the growth of her family, her parents' difficult marriage, her struggles as an outsider in a mostly-white school) and the story of the men in her life who died too young (a friend, her sister's boyfriend, a cousin, her brother). Ward's memories of her own life move forward through time, while her recounting the lives and deaths of the men she's lost moves backwards through time. These opposing chronologies jarred me a bit at first. Ultimately, however, I think the two timelines made the moment of her brother's death--the point at which the chronologies merge--all the more powerful, which proved fitting for the loss that most shook her world, most challenged her understanding of grief and sadness and loss and oppression, most changed her perspective on injustice.

It is tempting to view the deaths in Ward's life as disconnected from one another, but Ward's story proves otherwise. By embedding the lives and deaths of these young men in the context of her own lived experience, and that of her friends and family in Mississippi, Ward pushes Men We Reaped into an analysis of the poverty, racism, and systemic oppression that drove these men to die--and left a group of women to stand strong and mourn their passing. Men We Reaped is, as Ward wanted it to be, a testament to the lives of those who died to young, a reminder that they lived, they existed, and this happened. And it is also, importantly, a testament to the fact that the lives and deaths of the black men in her life were not mere accidents of chance, but inevitable outcomes in a world fixated on pushing people down instead of holding them up.


Some discussion questions for Men We Reaped*:

1) Men We Reaped is described as a memoir. While it draws on Ward's personal experiences, it also explores themes much larger than one woman's life. Do you agree with this genre classification?

2) In what ways do you think Ward's personal approach to this subject makes Men We Reaped stand out from other books that address similar issues? Did this make the book appeal to you more or less, or were you indifferent?

3) In more than one instance throughout the text, Ward writes about feeling silenced and voiceless in the face of overwhelming systems of inequality. Do you think Men We Reaped changes that position by giving her a voice?

4) Though Men We Reaped is about the loss of young black male life, it is also, in many ways, about the black women left to stand witness to the lives and deaths of those in their community. How does this gendered perspective change the story of the high mortality rate among young men of color?

5) If you could ask Jesmyn Ward any one question about this book and/or the experiences she recounts within it, what would it be?

*With sincerest apologies for sharing this post and these discussion questions so late in the game; last week got away from me!


Feel free to link to your own thoughts below, or leave a comment on this post!


For those interested in continuing along with the Social Justice Book Club, a few quick announcements:

  • The club will skip December (because let's face it, we all have enough going on around the end of the year...) and restart again in January 2017. We'll continue with the every other month format.

  • I'll announce the list of the six books for the 2017 club in early December. If there's something you'd like the club to consider, please submit to this form

  • If you'd like to receive emails about the club's plans for 2017, shoot me a note at ofabookworm AT gmail DOT com and I'll add you to the list.

A Readathon Recommendation Engine: Mini-Challenge

One of my favorite parts of the 24-Hour Readathon (or, ok, any reading event, really) is seeing so many new-to-me titles floating around the blogosphere. With that in mind, I'm bringing back this mini-challenge to not only see what others are reading (and loving), but provide recommendations to them. It's pretty simple:

Dewey's 24-Hour Readathon (October 2016 edition)

Readathon is here! Readathon is here!

I'll be updating this post throughout the day...

Readathon and I'm Ready for Action

It's one of the greatest reading weekends of the years, fellow bookworms: Readathon is nearly upon us! I'm so looking forward to taking a day away from reality to immerse myself in books, books, books. I've got a varied and ambitious stack: my main goals are to finish The Mothers, and catch up on a large chunk of The Count of Monte Cristo. But I've collected some other books that have been eying me (and a few shorties to help fill small gaps in the day) and I'm ready for action on Saturday:

Week in Reading: October 17th

Wow, remember when I used to write things? Yeah, me neither. It has been a minute. I'm hoping to ease back into some kind of regular flow with this old blog after an unplanned-for, unanticipated 3 weeks away. To recap: Since I've last been here, I've been on an overnight train (best thing ever), a conference in Chicago (where I spoke twice), a wedding, a baptism, a panel presentation for work, a half-marathon, and just about a few dozen off-site meetings. In between, I fought off a multi-day migraine (and by "fought off," I mean "laid in bed and whined a lot and did very little else of substance"), taper madness (the struggle is real), and a host of anxiety- (and election-) related ups and downs.

Suffice it to say, I haven't been reading much. Even when I've had the time (with taper comes more free time!), I haven't had the mental capacity for it, so I've taken to the kitchen, where the methodical process of chopping, dicing, slicing, stirring, baking, and transforming has been oddly and unexpectedly soothing.

Social Justice Book Club: Men We Reaped -- Midway Discussion

So we're halfway through Men We Reaped, and (as suspected) this is some powerfully heavy reading. But important, intriguing, and so far exceptionally compelling--I read this section in just about one sitting (and only partially because I was so far behind in my own schedule...). I'm particularly interested in Ward's decision to move forward and backwards in time, depending on the subject of each chapter, and I'm eagerly anticipating the moment when these two timelines intersect (which, based on her introduction to the book, I expect to coincide with her account of her brother's death). Some things to consider in discussing this book at the halfway-ish point:

Social Justice Book Club: Men We Reaped Kick-off & Introductions

Hello hello to all my Social Justice Book Club friends, new and old. I'm so excited to dive into this month's book, Men We Reaped: A Memoir, with all of you. For a bit of background on this book, here's what the publisher has to say about it:
In five years, Jesmyn Ward lost five young men in her life-to drugs, accidents, suicide, and the bad luck that can follow people who live in poverty, particularly black men. Dealing with these losses, one after another, made Jesmyn ask the question: Why? And as she began to write about the experience of living through all the dying, she realized the truth-and it took her breath away. Her brother and her friends all died because of who they were and where they were from, because they lived with a history of racism and economic struggle that fostered drug addiction and the dissolution of family and relationships. Jesmyn says the answer was so obvious she felt stupid for not seeing it. But it nagged at her until she knew she had to write about her community, to write their stories and her own.

Running Recap: Rick O'Donnell 5.22 Mile Trail Run & Ultra Challenge

This race recap is long, and not even remotely book-related. Consider yourself warned.

This past weekend marked my second time running the Rick O'Donnell 5.22-mile Trail Run & Ultra Challenge. Held in a gorgeous state park, the course is a 5.22-mile loop with just a wee bit of elevation gain:

Participants can sign up to run one loop, or take on the "ultra challenge" (run as many loops as you can in eight hours). Intending to run two loops as a training run for my upcoming half marathon, I signed up for the ultra challenge.

Social Justice Book Club: The Men We Reaped Sign-up & Schedule

We're gearing up for the October edition of the Social Justice Book Club. Based on participant input, we'll be reading Men We Reaped: A Memoir by Jesmyn Ward this month. In order to help keep us all on the same page (somewhat literally), I've outlined an (entirely optional) schedule for the month's reading below. I bumped start/end dates to Mondays instead of Saturdays, as I for one try to spend less time at my computer on the weekends than I do during weekdays. But feel free to post whenever works for you!

Week in Reading: September 19th

A week in reading, indeed! I finally seem to have remembered how to read a book, and damn, it feels good to be back at it.

An Invitation to Learn How to Live: Margaux Bergen's Navigating Life

This review originally ran in Shelf Awareness for Readers. Reprinted here with permission.

Margaux Bergen offers her daughter--and her readers--a collection of heartfelt life advice based on her own experiences.

Karl Meltzer, Scott Jurek, and a Different Kind of Competition

This is not book-related, but it is inspiring. At least to me. And as I find myself frequently sucked into the vortex of bad news, campaign feuds, and headlines of racism, sexism, and other -isms of hatred, I find I need these kinds of inspiring stories. So shared here without apology and without relevance to any of my typical content.

Taken on the AT when I dropped my brother off at the MD/PA line to start his first solo hike of the trail.

Karl Meltzer is currently through-hiking the Appalachian Trail (AT).

This in and of itself is unique but not unheard of; the Appalachian Trail Conservancy estimates that approximately 15,000 individuals have through-hiked the entirety of the trail since the trail was a thing of which through-hikes could be counted. The first known through-hiker was Eric Shaffer, who completed the trail in 1948. It took him 124 days, which he spent without a tent, sleeping mat, or stove (which he chose not to carry because of weight), and his hike was virtually unheard of at the time (according to one source, the Appalachian Trailway News even published an article while Shaffer was hiking explaining all of the reasons a through-hike was impossible).*

This isn't even Meltzer's first through-hike of the trail. He completed the full trail in 54 days (that's roughly 40.5 miles per day) in 2008. And this time, he's aiming to complete the entirety of the trail (2,190 miles) in 46 days (an average of 47.6 miles per day) in order to beat the current fastest known time (FKT) for an Appalachian through-hike.

Week in Reading: September 12th

I'm starting to think I should rename these posts "a week in running" instead of "a week in reading," because I seem to be running much more than I'm reading these days. I've come to accept (in a kicking and screaming kind of way) that I'm in a full-on slump; I don't even have an audiobook going at the moment, despite several hour-long drives last week and coming up again this week. And so my reading list this week looks disappointingly similar to that of last week, and the week before...

Mansion and Mystery in Scotland's Outer Hebrides: Sarah Maine's Debut, The House Between Tides

This review originally ran in Shelf Awareness for Readers. Reprinted here with permission.

Debut novelist Sarah Maine delivers a well-plotted mystery that blends the past with the present of an old mansion in Scotland's Outer Hebrides.

Week in Reading: September 6th

Post-race beers at the Thorpewood Trails 10k

What a (long) weekend. I don't know about the rest of you, but the temperatures here were absolute perfection these past three days -- I spent the weekend running (a 10 mile training run on Saturday and a 10k trail race with friends on Sunday), airing out the house (it was cool enough to turn off the AC for a few days!), and generally catching up on things like breathing and laundry and dishes. My pseudo-slump continues (I've picked up nothing but assigned and/or book club books since I last whinged about not reading much), though I'm really enjoying the assigned-to-me books I'm picking up.

Looking Back: The Best of August

August has come and gone, and with it a lackluster month of reading. Though looking back, I did finish six books this month, it felt slow and disjointed. Which is not to say there was anything wrong with the books themselves, which were actually quite excellent.

I read some new books...

Malafemmena, by Louisa Ermelino: This collection of short stories plays on the story of the "malafemmena." Though the word translates roughly to "bad woman," Ermelino's women are not bad so much as they are non-traditional, traveling, single, fleeing, independent, rebellious. The stories are slight but impactful--a quick read for anyone interested in short story collections. Reviewed in Shelf Awareness for Readers.

Social Justice Book Club: The New Jim Crow Wrap-Up and Review

This marks the wrap-up of our August group read of The New Jim Crow for the Social Justice Book Club. If you're just joining us, catch up on the intro post and mid-way discussions, or feel free to dive right in with the wrap-up discussions here. And stay tuned for a poll on the next club book later this week!

I don't know about the rest of you, but The New Jim Crow was somehow exactly what I expected it to be (an analytic dissection of all of the many ways that the current US criminal justice system is racist) and not at all what I expected it to be (a takedown of affirmative action, for one). I'm very much still parsing what I think about the book overall, and unfortunately I don't think the Dayquil-induced haze I've been living in for the last three days has really leant itself to intelligent analysis, but here goes...

Week in Reading: August 29th (A Day Late...)

Like so many things in my life right now, this post is going up a day late. I'm stretched a bit too thin and fell further behind this weekend when a nasty cold took me down for two days; after a very, very terrible eight-mile run on Saturday morning, I basically did nothing but sleep and whine all weekend.

Unfortunately, all of this is seeping over into my reading life, as I've barely picked up a book at all in the last week. Though I'd hoped to start some new shiny fiction to jump-start my fall reading plans, I didn't pick up a single one of these pretty titles. So consider my reading wishlist unchanged from last Monday:

The Joy of Leaving Your Sh*t All Over the Place

Review originally published in Shelf Awareness for Readers. Reprinted here with permission.

joy of leaving your shit all over the place jennifer mccartney parody comedy book

In response to the anti-clutter movement, Jennifer McCartney encourages us all to embrace our messy lives and make peace with our stuff.

Jennifer McCartney's The Joy of Leaving Your Sh*t All Over the Place is a satirical response to the minimalist movement--most notably, the "KonMari" method touted in 2014's bestselling The Life-Changing Magic of Tidying Up. "Break free from the bonds of tidiness," writes McCartney (Cocktails for Drinkers), "and triumph over the boring faces of uniformity and predictability. Every tidy home looks the same... but a messy home, now that's a better way to live." 

Week in Reading: August 22nd

This week I'm reading... not much. Last week was no different. (I did finish Give Smart for work, which was insightful if not exactly riveting beach reading, and Trainwreck for review, about which I could say pretty much the same.) Since this I-don't-feel-like-reading mood keeps taking me, I've been trying to go with the flow and read as I feel like it; unfortunately, that desire to leave things be is in direct conflict with my desire to read all the books. So this week, I'm hopeful one of these new novels will pull me out of my pseudo-slump:

Marrow Island: On the Power of the Environment to Shape Our Lives

Review originally published in Shelf Awareness for Readers. Reprinted here with permission.

marrow island alexis smith novel

In Marrow Island, Smith offers a complex story of one woman's life while quietly reflecting on the power of the environment to shape our lives.

Marrow Island begins at the end: the opening pages introduce Lucie as she is being rescued from Marrow Island by a park ranger and her best friend--who may have tried to kill her. Reflecting on the story she later tells FBI agents, state police, the park ranger and her family, Lucie considers Marrow Island and the small eco-colony she encountered there: "Marrow Colony as cult. Marrow Colony as failed utopia. Build, destroy, repeat."

Social Justice Book Club: The New Jim Crow Mid-way Discussion

This midway post is part of the Social Justice Book Club, and may contain spoilers--in so far as there can be "spoilers" for a non-narrative non-fiction book like The New Jim Crow. All are encouraged to participate in discussion here or on their own blogs, whether you're reading along with us this month or not! And it's not too late to sign up if you want to "formally" join in.

Well, friends, we made it this far: three chapters into The New Jim Crow. I don't know about the rest of you, but I didn't know it was possible to write "They can do that!?" in the margins of one book so many times, over and over and over again. I definitely expected this book to turn many of my assumptions and pre-conceived notions on its head--even going into it believing, fully, how racist our current criminal justice system is--but this is above and beyond.

Things I found astounding, round 1 of many (discussion prompts follow my ramblings):

  • In 1964 (!), West Virginia senator Byrd is quoted as saying, "If [blacks] conduct themselves in an orderly way, they will not have to worry about police brutality." That was a full fifty years ago, folks. And we're still having the same discussion today.

"All the Leftovers" Bone Broth + Bare Bones Broth Cookbook

Bone broth has slowly become one of my very favorite kitchen routines: it's an efficient use of food leftovers and scraps for those of us who don't live in a place that lends itself to compost; it's cheap; it makes the house smell divine; and it leaves me with a near-constant supply of hearty, homemade, smooth, velvety stock for any sauce, soup, stew, or other liquid recipe. My recipe (such as it is) is included below).

It sounds silly, perhaps, but the difference between store-bought broth, store-bought stock and homemade is simply astounding; as for the difference between this and Bouillon, well... they might as well be considered different food groups. 

But now I'm generating broth at a rate that far exceeds my current consumption of broth-based dishes... and so I was delighted to stumble upon The Bare Bones Broth Cookbook: 125 Gut-Friendly Recipes to Heal, Strengthen and Nourish the Body at the library recently. Though the book includes recipes for variations on the broth itself, I'm choosing to skip over those in favor of my own freezer-bag version (it seems silly to plan and purchase specific ingredients to make stock, though I suppose the how-tos here could be useful to someone who prefers more specifics than outlined below). With recipes for everything from breakfast to dinner, I'm excited to experiment with some new variations on traditional plates, learn how to incorporate broths into dishes I might otherwise not have, and try new things altogether (Coconut and Lime Sipping Broth? Rosemary and Garlic sipping broth?).

Bonus: Katherine and Ryan Harvey, authors of The Bare Bones Broth Cookbook, sell Bare Bones Broth (though really, please, make your own--it's so easy!) and have a blog featuring many recipes from their cookbook.


Cheap, Easy, Effective Bone Broth: No Special Grocery Lists Necessary

The concept is simple, really. I start with a brown paper shopping bag and a spot in the freezer (that latter part is often the hardest for me...). As I cook other meals, I keep any and all vegetable ends and meat bones and add them to the bag. This might include:

  • the bones from any bone-in steak or pork meal
  • the carcass from a roast chicken (or leftover leg bones if you're just having bone-in legs)
  • garlic and onion peels
  • the ends of vegetables you don't chop up into your main dish (tops of carrots, roots of celery, ends of zucchini, ends & skins of onions)
  • the inevitable leftover herb stems you have after you buy thyme, rosemary or other aromatics for just one recipe and find that the bunch at the grocery store is definitely too large and is going to go bad before you remember to use it all up
  • any vegetable you've got hanging around that is at the end of its life but you know you won't use or eat before it goes bad
I do recommend avoiding:

  • potato skins, unless they are really, really well scrubbed in advance (you don't want dirt in your food, do you?)
  • similarly, any sandy or possibly dirty vegetable that hasn't been properly and thoroughly scrubbed down
  • leafy vegetables (spinach, kale, chard, Brussels sprouts, etc.), as these will just turn the stock bitter as they cook and add little to no appetizing flavor
  • fish parts, unless you have enough to make an entire batch of fish stock (bones, shrimp shells, etc.)
Assuming you're using a standard paper shopping bag, when the bag's about 1/4 way full, toss all of the contents into a slow cooker, fill with cold water, and add 1/4 cup of apple cider vinegar. (I personally do not add salt to mine, because I prefer an unsalted stock in case I choose to use it for reductions or long-simmering sauces. But you could salt it at this step if you prefer.)

Cook for 12-24 hours (this is the part where your house smells amazing). Remove the liner from the slow cooker and let cool to room temperature. Strain through a fine mesh strainer into storage containers of your choosing.* Refrigerate for 2-3 hours, just long enough that the fat cap floats the top and solidifies, so it can easily be removed with a spoon and tossed. After tossing the excess fat, the stock will store 4-5 days in the fridge or a few months in the freezer. [Stocks made with fattier meats/bones, like steak or pork, will have a thicker fat cap than stocks made with lean meats, like chicken breasts, or just veggies, which may not need this step at all.]

*We order from the local Vietnamese restaurant entirely too often, so I use leftover pho containers for this task (they hold exactly 3.5 cups of liquid). When storing in the fridge, I also use leftover pasta sauce jars (I try not to freeze the glass jars though, as they make break as the liquid expands). Every few batches of broth, I fill ice cube trays with the liquid to freeze for instances when I want just a splash or two of stock instead of an entire container.

Under the Harrow: Flynn Berry's Debut Offers Psychological Suspense

Originally published in Shelf Awareness for Readers. Reprinted here with permission.

under the harrow flynn berry debut novel

Debut novelist Flynn Berry delivers a tightly paced and impressive story of psychological suspense.

Under the Harrow begins as a straightforward murder mystery: in the English countryside, Nora enters her sister Rachel's house for a Friday night dinner and finds both Rachel and her dog brutally murdered. But as the search for the killer unfolds, Under the Harrow becomes spectacularly complex. Flynn Berry carefully builds the story around Rachel's and Nora's lives with intricate details that connect perfectly, and often in surprising ways. Nora and Rachel are puzzle pieces that don't fit together: Rachel was brutally assaulted as a teenager and has been obsessed with finding her as-yet unidentified attacker; Nora leads a purposeless, meandering life tainted by guilt over her role in her sister's attack all those years ago.

Week in Reading: Monday, August 8th

After a fabulous, sun-soaked (working) vacation, it's good to be home. Though I didn't read much while traveling, I did devour The Girls and Shelter (I read the latter on the flight home and barely looked up from the moment we took off). Now that I'm back on my own turf (read: closer to my bookshelves...), I'm back to reading more physical books for a stint, and the booking is good-looking:

Chronicle of a Last Summer: Coming of Age in Political Riptides

This review originally ran in Shelf Awareness for Readers. Reprinted here with permission.

chronicle of a last summer by yasmine el rashidi

A nuanced story of one girl's coming of age set against decades of political ferment in Cairo, Egypt.

Chronicle of a Last Summer is a nuanced coming-of-age story set in politically charged Cairo. Opening in 1984, Yasmine El Rashidi's novel focuses on a young girl whose father has just left. Her Baba's disappearance sparks the first of her many questions: Why did he leave, where did he go, will he come back?

Social Justice Book Club: The New Jim Crow Intro & Kick-Off

Friends! This post is a day late, for which I am eternally sorry; I was planning to finalize some things and get this up yesterday morning, and then we lost internet in a big storm on the islands on Saturday, and here we are. Anyway, I'm home now, and so so excited to be diving into Michelle Alexander's powerful book with so many of you.

To get started, let us know in the comments below or in your own blog or social media post:

Looking Back: The Best of July

It's been (yet another) whirlwind month over here. We were home for a little under two weeks at the beginning of the month before leaving for a wedding and then a trip to the Virgin Islands (no complaints!). As I wrote in this week's Week in Reading post, I've been surprisingly slow to pick up books this particular trip; I've sat and watched the ocean, boated around, drank (a few too many) rum drinks, and generally taken in the sights, but have only read two books in the last two weeks. So the books-read-in-July stack is woefully short, but full of powerful books that were strong enough to pull me away from the hectic worlds of work and travel...

July Books You Shouldn't Miss:

Here Comes the Sun, by Nicole Dennis-Benn: I cannot say enough good things about this book. Originally reviewed in Shelf Awareness for Readers.

The Sunlight Pilgrims, by Jenni Fagan: I never got around to Fagan's debut novel, The Panopticon, but her sophomore effort was a stunning reflection on rapid climate change and the day-to-day effort of living amidst chaotic shifts in the status quo. Reviewed in Shelf Awareness for Readers.

Run the World: My 3,500 Mile Journey Through Running Cultures Around the World, by Becky Wade: Wade's a runner, not a writer, by trade, but this memoir of her year-long journey through running cultures around the world is a fascinating glimpse into the ways global training methods are both the same and very, very different. Originally reviewed in Shelf Awareness for Readers.

On Trails: An Exploration, by Robert Moore: This book offers a view of the world through the history of the trails that criss-cross it--and it's fucking fabulous. On Trails scratched my narrative non-fiction itch in so many ways, and had me itching to lace up my trail shoes and go for a hike the whole time I was reading it. Reviewed in Shelf Awareness for Readers.

Run the World: Becky Wade's 3500-Mile Journey through Running Cultures

Review originally ran in Shelf Awareness for Readers. Reprinted here with permission.

Champion marathoner Becky Wade travels to nine countries to explore running cultures.

In 2012, NCAA All-American star and Olympic hopeful Becky Wade received a Watson Fellowship to travel around the world to explore her passion: running. "Seventy-two beds, eleven pairs of running shoes, and 3,504 training miles later," Wade has since become an elite marathoner, drawing on her experience of cultures in nine countries to perfect her sport. In Run the World, she tells about her travels--and the lessons she learned along the way--in precise detail. 

Week in Reading: July 25th

It's a strange feeling. I've been traveling this week, and haven't read a whole book since I got here. Though I've finished the two books I had started before I came (Roses and Rot, Between the World and Me), I've started nothing new--and haven't been too mad about that. Instead, I've been running, hiking, boating, swimming, sitting, thinking, writing, doing, being, chilling.

#24in48: A Weekend of (Vacation and) Reading

This weekend marks one of my favorite of the year: the 24 in 48 readathon! The goal, as always, is to read for 24 hours of a 48-hour period; as per usual, I won't even come close this weekend, but I love the idea of focused reading time across a community of readers around the world.

The Reading Stack

I've got a fairly limited reading stack this time around as I'm on vacation--a fact that will likely mean even less hours of reading than might be typical for me during a readathon event. Here's what I'm looking at:

(Not pictured: Blue Lily, Lily Blue on audio.)


Day One: Introduction

Where in the world are you reading from this weekend?
The British Virgin Islands! Which makes for one hell of a backdrop for reading. Oddly enough, though, I've been here for a few days and have yet to crack a book (after finishing Roses and Rot on the plane flying down). It's strange to feel like I'm "not in the mood" to read anything at all, but I've been going with the flow... so we'll see how things shape up.

Have you done the 24in48 readathon before?Aw hells to the yes I have.

What book are you most excited about reading this weekend?
I'm really enjoying the little bit of Between the World and Me I've managed to read so far, so look forward to continuing with that one.

Tell us something about yourself.Because it's top of mind here: I'm terrified of snorkeling. I thought I was over this particular fear until the other day when I jumped off a boat and put on a mask and immediately started hyperventilating. I prefer my fish viewed from a boat, apparently.

Remind us where to find you online this weekend.
Here, Twitter, Instagram, or Litsy (username: kerry).


Day One: Wrap Up

Ok, so it's barely 6:00 here... but with dinner coming up, and the sun going down, I know I won't check in here again before tomorrow. As anticipated, I haven't read for anywhere close to 12 hours; not as anticipated, I've barely managed to sneak in a solid hour of reading. Instead, I've been for a (very steep, hilly) run; gone one several boat rides (including one in the middle of a rapid rainstorm that left us soaked to the bone and witness to some very stunning rainbows); had a few painkillers; taken a nap; and generally sat around looking at the water and taking in the breezes.

Books read: Between the World and Me, by Ta-Nehisi Coates
Books completed: 0
Pages read: 47
Hours read: 1

Here's to better progress tomorrow. In the meantime, some pretty pictures of our adventures around these parts:

looking out from Saba Rock

unidentified islands, as seen from the tiny plane we took to get here

Scrub Island, seen on my morning run


Day 2: Wrap Up

As expected, today didn't include nearly as much reading time as I might have liked. I did manage to finish one book, though, and make a small dent in a second--so overall, I wouldn't call the readathon a total bust. I'm still figuring out what this not-reading-so-much-on-vacation thing feels like, and I'm not sure if it feels like something I like or something I don't. I expect to be processing that for some time. In the meantime, the final (measly) numbers for the weekend:

Books read: Between the World and Me, by Ta-Nehisi Coates; Wolf Hall, by Hilary Mantel
Books completed: 1
Pages read: 168
Hours read: roughly 4.5