March Reads!

Year to Date: 6 texts (2020 goal – 12), 4 audiobooks, 10 total

Audiobooks

The Outsider by Stephen King – I wanted to delve into this book because my hubby started the HBO series. I’ve never read a Stephen King novel, but I’ve seen and heard of plenty of his books turned movies and/or shows. They always get rave reviews and I had a couple of LOOOONG runs to finish up my marathon training so I needed more than just my podcasts to keep me company. This was a good and a bad idea. Good, because the book was something like 18+ hours long so there was plenty of content, and it was engaging content! I loved the narrator it was performed by (Audible – Will Patton). It was fun to finish a section and then chat with my hubby about the differences between the show and the book. I haven’t yet watched the series, but I’ll consider it! I do like Jason Bateman. All in all, I’m going to give this 5 stars. I recommend it. However, I’ll do so with a trigger warning because there is graphic descriptions of violence toward children.

Alone on the Wall by Alex Honnald – I downloaded this on Audible for my virtual marathon. I needed something entertaining, distracting, something with suffer and fear, but centric of overcoming both. This was that. Firstly, I have seen plenty of Sender Films and LOVE Jimmy Chin and Peter Mortimer. I admire Alex after watching Free Solo (several times), and it was fun to hear about his adventures prior to the film that introduced me to him, and then get the extended version covering his thoughts on the process of that climb. It was a total binge-listen and the duo that narrated it did so perfectly in tandem, Andrew Eiden and Will Dramon on Audible. Additionally, I got a solid two to three additional book recommendations listening to it! I’ll give it 5 stars and I think the concept of not letting fear and risk run your life is very pertinent right now.

Texts

Midnight in Chernobyl by Adam Higginbotham – finally finished, loved it! This was gifted to me by my friend April, who started it but couldn’t get into it at all. It’s not for everyone, but given my background in Sustainable Management, I have had to study nuclear energy and specifically the Chernobyl accident for a couple of classes when getting my degree (energy systems and sustainability and the chemistry of climate change). I definitely think that base knowledge of some of the systems and processes around nuclear energy, as well as the accident itself was helpful in interpreting the book. I thought it was a gripping recount. Completely fascinated me on a number of levels. It was a hard read, but totally worth it. The mistakes that were made well before the accident, during the accident, and the years following were terrifying and utterly profoundly scary. The fact that freaking Scandinavia had to discover that something was wrong in order for the USSR to admit even a small fault – severely downplaying what actually happened for MONTHS – just blows my mind. I’ll give this 5 solid stars. It’s probably one of the best books I have ever read.

Frozen Ed posing with his book for http://www.mattmahoney.net/

Tales from Out There: The Barkley Marathons, The World’s Toughest Trail Race by Frozen Ed Furtaw – I wanted to read this around the time that the Barkley takes place to feel a little more connected to the race. Then the COVID19 pandemic started gobbling up running events left and right and the Barkley couldn’t hold up to the pressure. Of course Laz made the right call cancelling the event, but dang, what a blow. I now have to wait 365 more days (at least!) to log back into Twitter to follow the race (arguably the only reason I even have Twitter is to follow Keith Dunn’s live tweeting action from Frozen Head State Park). Although plenty of people could read this and be very annoyed with Frozen Ed for the formatting and few errors along the way, I found myself enamored and literally laughed out loud several times throughout the book. I couldn’t read it fast enough! That being said, I read a review by someone online who said something along the lines of feeling like Ed self-published a poorly written word document that changes tenses several times. If you can get past that and read it for what it is: a historical recollection of the world’s toughest trail race, then it might just make you fall even more in love with the strange man who started the race in the first place. I’ll give this one 4 stars, but with the caveat that the content is a solid 5.

Photo cred: Jonara Oliveira on Behance.

Into Thin Air: A Personal Account of the Mount Everest Disaster by journalist-mountaineer Jon Krakauer – I picked this up from our work’s share a book library system before I had finished Midnight in Chernobyl. I do love a good Everest story, and I’ve seen Into the Wild (Chris McCandless story) several times. Knowing they’re written by the same author, except Krakauer was actually on Everest for this account really caught my attention. Though there were sections I felt like I couldn’t put down, there were solid paragraphs that I could skip without feeling like I missed much. Maybe he should have waited longer to publish the book once he finished it and taken a second look before doing so. Being so close to an extreme tragedy such as that probably makes you focus on details that feel relevant because you went through it, but it felt a little confusing to me. The way the book kind of jumped around to different perspectives made it hard to keep track of where I was in the timeline. I also really didn’t love the Author’s Note at the end. It sounded like a middle school battle between two pre-teenagers engaged in a he-said-she-said battle trying to get people to buy into their own stories. Overall, probably 3.5 stars. Maybe, if there’s a movie about it, stick to that – it probably tells the concept better than Krakauer did here.

Thanks to those of you who suggested the goodreads app. I love the little quote each day when I log in. I love that I can add books on the fly, like when my favorite podcasters mention what books they’re reading, or as mentioned above, when Alex cited some of his favorite reads during Alone on the Wall. I think it’s cool that you can update your progress, make notes, and create different “shelves” in your library. It’s fun!

I recently picked up a few books on sale at Barnes and Noble on our last trip out into society. They are 2 Sandra Brown books, because I loved her writing style and the entertainment factor. I haven’t really decided what to read next but a few on my list include: The Sun Down Motel, Descent into Chaos, and The Sun is a Compass. My Audible wish list includes: The Splendid and the Vile, Unspeakable Things, and Little Fires Everywhere.

What are you reading?

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