Books, Books, Books….as GIFTS!

The holidays are approaching and given my background I default to thinking about Christmas, but there are other gift giving occasions around this time of year too. When I think about getting the perfect gift for, or from someone, it fills me with joy and warmth. If you’re at a loss for what to get the runner in your life this holiday season, allow me to share some of my latest literary finds.

I Run, Therefore I am STILL Nuts!

Don’t be set back by the title. Despite being a “Still” and looking like a sequel, you will find hours of entertainment with this book. Bob Schwartz found great success with his first book I Run, Therefore I Am Nuts, and was kind enough to contact me personally to ask if I’d like a copy of his second. Who am I to turn down a personal invitation, especially since I’d been eyeing the first book and had no idea there was a second!

The book includes great chapters such as “Count Me In on Counting Me Out”, “Forecast: Partly Cloudy, Good Chance of Pain”, and ” “HIIT Me With My Best Shot”. (Some of you youngsters may not understand the final one…sigh. As you can see, each section has a fun cartoon to go along with it and the whole thing is laid out very easy to read. Nearly every page has a big block quote, a poem, or other feature to break up the text.

Sometimes I wish I wasn’t doing a paid review when I can’t emphasize enough how much I honestly love something, this book is one of those somethings. If any secret santas are reading this, maybe get me the first book? Thanks?

Dead Ringer

Dead Ringer is a follow-on novel (not a sequel) to Allen Wyler’s breakout medical thriller, Dead End Deal, you may recall my review at the end of the summer. In this story, a neurosurgeon named Lucas McCrae, finds himself in the middle of performing a medical demonstration before an audience of colleagues in Korea. During the demonstration he goes to pull the cover off one of the display cadavers only to find he knows the deceased.  It’s his best friend! Normally, this would only be a coincidence, expect McCrae KNOWS there is no way his friend could have died so recently. The story continues from there to follow McCrae as he uncovers a dangerous syndicate of body snatchers who make money by recovering stolen and murdered bodies to sell for medical research.

While the premise is horrifying, many believe this kind of thing actually goes on more frequently than we would like to think. In fact, a similar situation was exposed by the New York Times over the summer. (

I LOVED the first novel I read by Allen Wyler, and this one is written in the same style which will lead many to love it again. My only issue was having it set in Korea. It’s an unusual location for me to read about, so where the first book felt exotic the second felt repetitive. If you haven’t read any of Wyler’s books though, now is the time to try! Amazon is running a special for Kindle version of Dead Ringer for only $1.99!

Running Ransom Road

If you’re looking for a book to sit down and read AKA a novel, I highly recommend Running Random Road. The moment I was contacted about this story I fell in love. A man writes about his life, finding himself and his journey of recovery through running. Many people in the running community will tell you, there are more than a lot of runners motivated by active recovery. One of my former coworkers now runs his own agency for teens focusing on the link between fitness and recovery. The book is written in a format where the current training and past experiences blend and dance, come together and pull away so you’re gifted with the experience of sharing every thought, every emotion, every step with Caleb on his journey.

Or as the interview with NPR summarized:

A sober alcoholic documents his 18-month effort to run marathons in the cities where he once lived and engaged in abusive behaviors, assessing the redemptive benefits of running and the stories of fellow addicts who pursued similar dreams.

Not sure if this is the right book for you? Watch this clip and tell me you don’t want to know this man’s story, you don’t want to BE this man’s story:

Other methods of support include following Caleb on Twitter (@drunkenrunner). Or giving a “like” to Running Ransom Road on Facebook.

Running a Marathon for Dummies

From the author of Running for Women, Jason Karp brings us a fun look at a newbie guide to marathon training. I’ve been a fan of the “Dummies” series for a long time. It helped me with computers when I was a wee-lil-thing and it helped my family with our fish back in the day too. Karp takes the famous format and applies it in a way to help just about anyone prep for their first foot race of 26.2.

I wanted to preview just some of the perks of this training guide. First, there are photo quality images for how to perform various moves. Medical explanations and illustrations for learning what’s below the surface of our bodies. Training charts to set up and follow through with a designated plan, and of course a guide to some of the most popular marathons in the USA and beyond when you’re ready to make the commitment!

While I might get cocky and think “I KNOW how to run a marathon. I’ve done 1 full and 3 ultras”, I am honest enough to say I have plenty of room for improvement. Using this guide I hope to complete my second road marathon in 2013. Yes, you heard it here first. I still want to do do ultras on the trails, but there is something magical about the crowd and experience of a road race.

Ultimate Obstacle Race Training

Last, but not least on my winter book guide is another gem from Brett Stewart. I’m sorry, but let’s just take a break and be thankful for Brett Stewart being in the world. He is the man behind 7 Weeks to a Triathlon and Ultimate Jump Rope Workouts. His books are fantastic! They’re priced great and the content is both visually appealing and informative. I’m pretttty sure he’s married and has kids and is not interested in me, but that’s OK.

Back to the book. If you or someone you know is even remotely thinking of doing a challenge/adventure race. Or they’ve done one and they want to return to the field and dominate, how are you even not buying this book yet? Seriously.

What counts as an adventure race?

  • Spartan Race
  • Tough Mudder
  • Warrior Dash
  • Savage Race
  • Death Races
  • Zombie Chases
  • Women’s Only Mud Runs

In this book you can pick a chapter and read up on topics such as “WHY THE HELL WOULD YOU DO AN OBSTACLE RACE?”, “EVENTS FOR THE KIDS”, or “GETTING YOUR BODY READY TO COMPETE”. Each section has photos from actual events, as well as photo guides for how to perform various moves. The reader can even pick a specific obstacle to concentrate on like the cargo net climb or vertical walls (my personal nemesis). Not sure where to find your cup of tea? There’s even an index!

Make sure you grab this guide! If you’re a personal trainer or in-the-know blogger add it to your library and tempt your friends with offers to loan it out.

Also, don’t forget to check out these other fantastic books:

What books are on YOUR list this season? Have you read any of my latest finds?

FTC Disclaimer: All books were provided to me free of charge by various authors or publishing companies in exchange for my review. All thoughts, opinions and photographs are my own.

2 thoughts on “Books, Books, Books….as GIFTS!

  1. I also loved Ransom Road, and the author is as interesting as his book would indicate. As a runner, writer, marathoner, as well as a recovering addict of 20 years, I had a personal investment in the subject. My copy has more dog-ears than the humane socitey. My book list is more of the Game of Thrones series, and I would highly recommend LIfe Of PI. And, (pardon the shameless self-promo) but there are two free kindle ebooks offered on my most recent blog post by a pretty cool author too.

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