Book Review: Running: A Love Story, by Jen A. Miller

I didn't realize it until halfway through the book, but the title of Running: A Love Story is a bit of a play on words. On its surface, the book is the story of Jen A. Miller's love affair with distance running: how she came to the sport; her experience running her first 10-miler, then half-marathon, then full; her struggles with body image and how running changed and defined that image. But it's also the story of Miller's love interests, her tangled relationships with men through her young adulthood and the way those relationships changed her relationship with running--for better or for worse.

Week in Reading: March 28

We're facing down the end of March already... when did that happen? It's been a slow reading week for me, so my stack looks disappointingly similar to last week's:

Social Justice Book Club Discussion: Just Mercy, by Bryan Stevenson

A while back, Shannon mentioned something on Twitter about starting a Social Justice Book Club, as she, Shaina and I all tend to migrate towards non-fiction on social justice topics:

A Day in the Life: March 22nd

Today is the second annual Day in the Life event, hosted by Trish at Love, Laughter, and a Touch of Insanity the Blog. I had some issues with my blog eating my Day in the Life post last year, though I did manage to recover it (actually, Shaina was able to recover it... thanks Shaina!). It's amazing to me to see how much has changed and how much stayed the same in the past year...

I work from home, but attend a fair number of off-site conferences and meetings each week, so I don't have a truly "typical" day. Since last year, I recorded a day of work from home, I opted for a day of go-go-go this time around: specifically March 22, 2016, a conference day!

Week in Reading: March 21st

Heyo, wouldja look at that, I'm still here! Mostly. Work's been busy, and I've been spending my limited free time trying to read all the things. Which has meant limited brain power and/or spare time to write any things. C'est la vie.

Luckily, there have been some goooood books keeping me occupied of late.

Great Book Club Books to Read Instead (or After!) of Defending Jacob

I wrote last week about how much I disliked Defending Jacob -- for a variety of reasons, none of which we need to re-hash here. But I fully admit that, despite its weaknesses, it made for an excellent book club discussion at my book club's meeting last month. With that in mind, here are a few suggestions that I'd offer up to book clubs interested in something similar:

Week in Reading: March 7th

*fingers crossed as I type this* but I think I've finally broken my reading slump. At least a bit.

I powered through all of The First Book of Calamity Leek, a debut novel from Paula Lichtarowicz, this weekend--it's a strange, weird, confusing, wonderful story that somehow manages to combine showtunes, Readers Digest, a Garden, creation myths, "demonmales," and some disturbing ideas of the world into one compelling read. Stay tuned for a full review (but in the meantime, I will say that this was the perfect book to kick off the Weirdathon). I took a week-long break from Alexander Hamilton to devour Valiant Ambition: George Washington, Benedict Arnold, and the Fate of the American Revolution, the forthcoming history book from Nathaniel Philbrick. It's been an excellent exploration of how seemingly trifling events--and/or individual personalities--can shape history.

I'm also really enjoying the last hour or so of Wild, Cheryl Strayed's memoir, on audio.

With those (mostly) behind me, I'm looking forward to picking up This Side of Providence this week (on sale in April) and focusing on some more weird picks for Weirdathon: The Vanishers, perhaps, or The Girl Who Circumnavigated Fairyland in a Ship of Her Own Making.


What are you reading this week?

Defending Jacob: Maybe Great for Book Club Discussion, but Not for Me

It's not often I write negatively about a book I've read -- mostly because I rarely make it more than 50 pages into a book that isn't working for me. Life's too short to read bad books.

But book club reading falls somewhere in a grey zone here: after all, I joined a book club to expand my reading horizons. And I generally don't think it's fair to hate on a book in discussion if I haven't finished it.

Which is basically the only reason I got to the end of Defending Jacob, the legal thriller from William Landay that topped more book club recommendation lists than I can count. At a high level, the novel is about a prosecutor whose 13-year-old son is accused of murdering a classmate. It asks big questions about parenting and the law: How far would you be willing to go to defend your child against an accusation of murder? How well do parents--or how well can parents--know their own children? What weighs more in the creation of a character: nature or nurture? How imperfect is the United States legal system?

Book Review: The Black Presidency, by Michael Eric Dyson

This review originally ran in Shelf Awareness for Readers.

The Black Presidency offers a nuanced analysis of the politics of race in the U.S. in the context of Barack Obama's presidency.

Looking Ahead: March Books & Happenings

In like a lion, out like a lamb, right? I'm ready for the lamb part, personally. I love winter until about mid-February, and then I am Over. It. (But I digress.)

With March comes a slew of new and exciting books I can't wait to put my paws on: