Week in Reading (and Running): April 9th

two hikers sleeping on rocks overlooking the potomac river on the appalachian trail
Caught Lounging: Two Hikers on the AT

This past week was a recovery week in more ways than one: after last weekend's back-to-back high-mileage runs (totaling 26 miles in two days), the training plan for this week called for two easy-paced 45-minute runs and only 8 miles for yesterday. I ran two easy-paced 30 minute runs, did a session at the physical therapists, and barely eked out 5.5 miles on Saturday's run before calling it a dud; despite the low mileage all week, my legs were still absolutely exhausted and just would not get themselves into gear. After the dud run and a short hike yesterday (see photo above), today is all rest, rest, rest, stretch, and a bit more rest. Like Tara said in her running recap this week, someone remind me to keep up these PT and stretching exercises post-injury, yeah? They're exhausting but I think it's probably telling that they are so. Race day in T-3 weeks. But who's counting?

The upside to a recovery week (and weekend) on the running front is that I've found myself with more time to read this week than I've had in a good long while (4+ hours runs, plus requisite naps, combined with being a functioning adult with paid bills, clean laundry, and familial obligations has basically left me with very few chunks of reading time, which is when I get my best reading done). And so I found a bit of my reading mojo this week, finishing 3 books in their entirety and starting on a few more:

collage of three book covers: the empire's ghost, vernon god little, wedding toasts i'll never give

Vernon God Little, by DBC Pierre, has been on my self for over a decade, so imagine my delight when Stephanie selected it for her Reading Like a Writer book club. It was simultaneously hilarious and soul-crushing, capturing the story of the fallout of a horrific school shooting through the eyes of a fifteen-year old boy. Part satire, Pierre uses the novel to explore the absurdities of teenage-adult communications (or lack thereof), the United States criminal justice system, the inner workings of a fifteen-year-old's mind, and the horrible things humans do to one another. It wasn't an easy read, but I tore through it at a surprising pace and am very much looking forward to the book club's discussion this week (specifically focused on narration).

I also finished The Empire's Ghost, by Isabelle Steiger, which took a bit of getting into, but once I was into it, I found impossible to put down. As the first in a new fantasy series, there was an awful lot of set-up and worldbuilding to sort out here, but it was refreshing to read a fantastical, political world in which women are not only rulers, but are rulers in their own right and not mere pawns to be married off to other lords. As infuriating as it was that this 400+ page novel ended on a series of cliffhangers, I'm excited to see where Steiger takes the story from here. (Note to self: Get on the PR list for the next book...) Full review to come in Shelf Awareness for Readers.

And lastly, Wedding Toasts I'll Never Give was a thoughtful and thought-provoking series of essays on marriage--as an imperfect union, as a state of being, as a daily choice. Though some of it struck me as problematic--and particularly heteronormative--those who have chosen marriage as their path will likely find a lot to enjoy here.

collage of three book covers: headscarves and hymens, the golden compass, a good country

Up next, I'm finally starting Headscarves and Hymens: Why the Middle East Needs a Sexual Revolution, by Mona Eltahawy (this month's read for the Social Justice Book Club), and am picking up A Good Country, by Laleh Khadivi (on sale May 23rd). And on the side, I'm still (slowly) re-reading The Golden Compass, a long-time favorite. (Ya'll heard Pullman's working on new books in the His Dark Materials world, right?)


What are you reading this week?

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