Runners Who Read

Who knew? A bunch of runners who enjoy reading and discussing what they read.

Wednesday, June 29, 2005

RWR Reader's Choice Selection(s!), July-September 2005

Wow! While Honeymoon With My Brother shot out of the gate and looked to be the easy eventual winner, it faded a bit in the stretch … battling with the steadily gaining The Second Coming, which started slowly but pipped Honeymoon at the post in the final flurry of votes. Close on their heels were Mrs. Caliban and We Need to Talk about Kevin, with Angels and Demons and Lamb: The Story of Biff, Christ’s Childhood Pal trailing just behind. Most of the other nominated books received at least one vote.

Thanks for all of your nominations; I know I’m personally interested in taking a look at The Namesake, Mrs. Caliban, and Lamb, even though they didn’t “win.” And thanks for voting – more than 80% of our mailing list was represented.

The Second Coming and Honeymoon With My Brother finished very close to each other, and both appear to be very different books – one a breezier, enjoyable summer read (Honeymoon); the other just as enjoyable, but perhaps deeper and more reflective. So, here’s the deal: give our official Reader’s Choice, The Second Coming, a try … and if you either find you don’t like it at all or enjoy it and finish it fairly quickly, go for Honeymoon With My Brother as a double dip. We’ll discuss both right here. Honeymoon does not appear to be available in paperback yet, but perhaps your local library has scored a copy -- or Amazon currently has the hardback for a pretty good discount.

Discussion Guidelines

1. You can post your comments, observations, ruminations, philosophications, or questions whenever you’re ready. Links to good online sources of related discussion material are highly encouraged.

2. If your post or post comment includes plot spoilers, please please oh please indicate it by typing (Spoilers) in the subject line or at the beginning of your comment.

We’ll nominate our selection for October-December 05 sometime in late September, soon after Dances With Dirt.

Ready, set – read!

Friday, June 24, 2005

RWR Reader's Choice: We Have a Winner(s)!

Whoa! If voting for a book selection could ever be said to be exciting, this one definitely qualified. What looked like a sure thing just bolted out of the starting gate, but then started to fade a bit in the stretch ... and a real dark horse that didn't figure at all in the early voting slowly gained momentum until, in the final flurry of votes, it just beat the early leader by a nose. Nearly every book received at least one vote, and over 80% of you voted. Thank you!

Since the winner is so different from the runner-up, and since both books did so well in the voting, one will serve at the official RWR Reader's Choice -- and the other as a bonus/alternate selection should you have time and inclination, or should you find the Reader's Choice completely not your thing at all.

I shall reveal all when I return next Wednesday ... a tease, that's what I am. Happy weekend to everyone.

Tuesday, June 21, 2005

Writers read, too.

Famous authors discuss what they're currently reading right here.

Thursday, June 16, 2005

From Sligo to Dublin

Happy Bloomsday, running readers.

Monday, June 13, 2005

Slouching towards Bethlehem

W. B. Yeats' birthday today. His early work is some of the most effortless-sounding lyric poetry ever produced; it's like he just pulled it out of the air, as natural as the weather. And the remarkable thing was that he could have kept spinning out that wonderful Irish folk stuff for the rest of his life and his place in history would have been assured, but his later work simply left earth's orbit and was absolutely fearless. I don't know of many poems the equal of "Sailing to Byzantium," "The Second Coming," "Easter 1916," or "The Tower." He lived it all, a full life with no stone left unturned, and wrote it down better than any before or since, as far as I'm concerned.

Happy birthday, and many thanks.

Friday, June 10, 2005

Saul Bellow's birthday today

He died just a little over two months ago, and I think Nels may have mentioned his passing.

I haven't read much of Saul Bellow in a long time, but Henderson The Rain King was one of the first "adult" books I ever read that wasn't an assigned reading. Although I'm sure I didn't understand it all at the time, I do remember that it thoroughly entertained me and launched me into the world of the good stuff, and I'm very thankful for that.

So, thank you, Saul.

Thursday, June 09, 2005

RWR Reader's Choice Ballot: Third Quarter 2005

Without further messing about, here are the nominations for our first RWR Reader’s Choice, listed in no particular order (I think it’s more or less the order in which I received them). Thanks very much for sending me your nominations; it’s an impressive and eclectic list. We’re a pretty darn well-read bunch of people, if I say so myself! And you can still send your nomination, if you haven't already done so -- please send it by Monday, June 13 and I'll add it to the list. Like a kid at Christmas, I just couldn't wait any longer to post them.

I embedded links to each book’s page on Amazon – not that I’m necessarily enamored with Amazon, but it does seem the most convenient way to get a lot of information about a book quickly. I’m always open to alternate sources. And sorry, but I didn't include the short blurb a couple of you wrote to introduce the book -- most people didn't write one, so I decided to dispense with the intros.

So anyway:

1. Vote for your two favorites and send your votes to me via Both votes are weighted equally.
2. Vote by Friday, June 24.
3. On June 28, I’ll post the first RWR Reader’s Choice; we’ll read and discuss it together during July-September.
4. If you just plain can’t stand any of the nominated selections, wait three months – we’ll do this again.
5. It should go without saying given this very civil bunch of folks, but please refrain from commenting negatively on any of the nominations, at least in this blog.

And thanks so much again – I wasn’t familiar with several of the authors and they sound very worthwhile. This should be fun!

Choke (Chuck Palahniuk)
We Need To Talk About Kevin (Lionel Shriver)
The Quiet American (Graham Greene)
Honeymoon With My Brother (Franz Wisner)
Lamb: The Gospel According to Biff, Christ's Childhood Pal (Chris Moore)
The Autograph Man (Zadie Smith)
Mrs. Caliban (Rachel Ingalls)
The Namesake (Jumpa Lahiri)
Angels and Demons (Dan Brown)
The Second Coming (Walker Percy)

Monday, June 06, 2005

Send me a book

Well, not an actual book … but your nomination for our first RWR Reader’s Choice selection, the book we’ll read together and discuss here during July-September of this year. So far we have seven stellar nominations, but I’d like to see a few more. If you haven’t sent your nomination to me at, please do so this week. It’s a very eclectic selection so far, so don’t be concerned your book won’t “fit in” – it will be in some very diverse company. And when we vote for our first selection, I won’t include your name with your nomination – your choice is completely anonymous.

Send me your nomination this week!

Friday, June 03, 2005

Vacationing with Oprah this summer?

Her summer book club selection may weigh down your beach bag a bit!

Wednesday, June 01, 2005

RWR Reader's Choice: Third Call for Nominations

Just another reminder that June 3 is the deadline to submit a favorite book for our third quarter RWR Reader's Choice selection. After the initial flurry of nominations, things have quieted down a bit ... don't be shy about sending me your nomination at

The variety in the nominations I've received so far is terrific. Accessible yet intelligent and entertaining reading seems to be the order of the day -- perfect!

I'll post all of the nominations (without the nominators' names) during the week of June 6, and we'll vote on the one we'll read together and discuss during July-September 2005.