Runners Who Read

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

Wednesday, September 28, 2005

Reader's Choice Nominations, 4th Quarter 2005

Below are the Reader’s Choice Nominations for 4th quarter – thanks to all who submitted nominations. As you can see, a couple of the nominations are repeats from 3rd quarter. (Apparently you can’t keep a good book down!) It’s a small but nicely varied selection and it appears any of the nominations could generate some interesting e-discussion.

E-mail me with your two choices for 4th quarter reading ( by Monday, October 3. I’ll post the top vote-getter soon after that.

-- Ed

Lunar Park, Brett Easton Ellis
Indecision, Benjamin Kunkel
We Need to Talk About Kevin, Lionel Shriver
The Kitchen Boy, Robert Alexander
The Quiet American, Graham Greene

Monday, September 26, 2005

Southern writers

Going back to this post, here's an excerpt from an essay by Flannery O'Connor.

And here's a link from regarding Faulkner via Oprah's book club.

Finally, it's Banned Books Week. Be rebellious - let your kids read something someone doesn't want them to read.

Thursday, September 22, 2005

What Should I Read Next? had a link yesterday to a website called "What Should I Read Next?" (creatively found on the internets at You give it the author and the title of the book that you're reading, and it gives you recommendations which other readers have made. When I plugged in the book I'm currently reading, The Time Traveler's Wife, it gave me a list of 10. 7 of these I've already read, and a few of them seem like gimmes (the DaVinci Code? wonder how many lists that's on). When I asked it for more recommendations, it gave me a new list of 10 of which I've only read one -- although several of them have been on my someday-reading list. Allegedly if you register the suggestions are more accurate.

Tuesday, September 20, 2005

Annoying housekeeping post

I've turned on the Verification function in "Comments" to filter out the spamola, per Nels' suggestion. Hope you don't mind too much.

As you were.

Advice for the current president from a famed New Orleanian

For fans of John Kennedy Toole and his master creation.

Monday, September 19, 2005

Time for a new Reader's Choice!

Well -- from what I gather here and off-piste, The Second Coming wasn't probably the most successful first choice for a readers' group. Thanks to those who tried and didn't care for it, as well as those who tried and did.

Anyway, it's time to pick our Reader's Choice for fourth quarter 2005 -- send your two nominations to by 9/27. If the nominations were previously noiminated by you or someone else, that's okay. In fact, I'm thinking strongly about nominating one of the previous runners-up because it sounds really interesting.

Thursday, September 15, 2005

Attention: Nerds

Verbatim, a journal on words, has a new online home, and you can read articles from past issues.

Man Booker Prize

The shortlist was announced for the Booker Prize...

For some reason, blogger isn't allowing me to hyperlink, so here's the url:

I'm pretty geeky about the Booker Prize; I'm not sure why. I'll pay attention to the American awards but not with anything near to the zeal I have for the Booker. I try to read the whole shortlist every year.

It's weird to me how it can sometimes be pretty difficult to get the books here in the states. I had to buy Vernon God Little in Canada a few years ago because it was so hard to find in the states -- even after it had won. (Maybe because it was terrible and offensive to Americans.) (Satire, I know, I just didn't care for it at all.) Similarly last year's winner, The Line of Beauty, was out in paperback in Egypt as it was coming out in hardcover in the states. Weird!

Tuesday, September 13, 2005

Orhan Pamuk

I don't know whether or not any of you read about this, but Orhan Pamuk, a Turkish novelist we discussed a bit some months ago, is facing trial in Turkey. The below material is taken from International PEN.

last updated
2 September 2005: Turkey: Author Orhan Pamuk to Face trial

Update to RAN 11/05

International PEN greets with shock the news that the world-famous Turkish writer, Orhan Pamuk, will be brought before an Istanbul court on 16 December and that he faces up to three years in prison for a comment published in a Swiss newspaper earlier this year.

The charges stem from an interview given by Orhan Pamuk to the Swiss newspaper Tages Anzeiger on 6 February 2005 in which he is quoted as saying that “thirty thousand Kurds and a million Armenians were killed in these lands and nobody but me dares to talk about it”. Pamuk was referring to the killings by Ottoman Empire forces of thousands of Armenians in 1915-1917.Turkey does not contest the deaths, but denies that it could be called a “genocide”. His reference to “30,000” Kurdish deaths refers to those killed since 1984 in the conflict between Turkish forces and Kurdish separatists. Debate on these issues have been stifled by stringent laws, some leading to lengthy lawsuits, fines and in some cases prison terms.

Article 301/1 of the Turkish Penal Code under which Orhan Pamuk will be tried is a case in point. PEN sees it extraordinary that a state that has ratified both the United Nations International Covenant on Civil and Political Rights, and the European Convention on Human Rights, both of which see freedom of expression as central, should have a Penal Code that includes a clause that is so clearly contrary to these very same principles. To quote
Article 301/1: A person who explicitly insults being a Turk, the Republic or Turkish Grand National Assembly, shall be imposed to a penalty of imprisonment for a term of six months to three years. To compound matters, Article 301/3 states Where insulting being a Turk is committed by a Turkish citizen in a foreign country, the penalty to be imposed shall be increased by one third. So, if Pamuk is found guilty, he faces an additional penalty for having made the statement abroad.

Joanne Leedom Ackerman, International Secretary of International PEN states that “International PEN is deeply concerned by the efforts of the public prosecutor to punish and therefore curb the free expression of Orhan Pamuk, not only in Turkey, but abroad”. She adds that “It is a disturbing development when an official of the government brings criminal charges against a writer for a statement made in another country, a country where freedom of expression is allowed and protected by law”.

The trial against Orhan Pamuk is likely to follow the pattern of those against other writers, journalists and publishers similarly prosecuted. Karin Clark, Chair of PEN’s Writers in Prison Committee points out that “PEN has for years been campaigning for an end to Turkish courts trying and imprisoning writers, journalists and publishers under laws that clearly breach international standards to the Turkish government itself has pledged commitment.” Although the numbers of convictions and prison sentences under laws that penalise free speech has declined in the past decade, PEN currently has on its records over 50 writers, journalists and publishers before the courts. This is despite a series of amendments to the Penal Code in recent years which were aimed at meeting demands for human rights improvements as a condition for opening talks into Turkey’s application for membership of the European Union. The most recent changes were enacted in June this year. Journalists in Turkey have staged protests against the fact that there remain considerable problems in the revised Penal Code. In April International PEN joined its the International Publisher’s Association in a statement to the United Nations Commission on Human Rights which described the newly revised Penal Code as “deeply flawed”.

Orhan Pamuk is one of Turkey’s most well known authors, whose works have been published world wide in over 20 languages. In 2003 he won the International IMPAC award for My Name is Red. His 2004 novel Snow has met with similar acclaim. His most recent book, Istanbul, is a personal history of his native city.

In early 2005, news of the interview for which Pamuk will stand trial led to protests and reports that copies of his books were burned. He also suffered death threats from extremists. PEN members world-wide then called on the Turkish government to condemn these attacks.

Recommended Actions:
Please send appeals:

- Expressing concern that Orhan Pamuk is to tried for a statement made in an interview for an overseas publication;
- Pointing out that this is in direct contravention of the United Nations Covenant on Civil and Political Rights, and the European Convention on Human Rights, to which the Turkish government is a signatory;
- Therefore protesting the decision to bring Orhan Pamuk to trial.

Prime Minister Racep Tayyip Erdogan
TC Easbaskanlik
Fax: +90 312 417 0476

Cemil Cicek
Minister of Justice
TC Adalet Bakanligi
Fax: + 90 312 417 3954

Similar appeals should be sent to the Turkish Embassy in your own country.

Thursday, September 01, 2005

I'm with Len...

I've been try try trying to read this. I've made it chapter three and were it not for the peer pressure I would have quit reading on page 8. So far I find his writing style and turns of phrase both awkward and redundant. The narrative seems disjointed and I have little desire to know more about any of these characters. It seems that I find myself reading about the same things over and over. For the love! I've got it, something is up and his golf swing is symbolic of it, lets move on...

I'm going to keep reading, but only because everyone seems to have enjoyed it. I'm still waiting for that part.