Saturday, January 30, 2010

Book Reviews: American Rust by Philipp Meyer & Born to Run by Christopher McDougall


by Philipp Meyer

New in Paperback: 9780385527521, Random House, $15

What happens when union manufacturing jobs are shipped overseas? What happens to workers who lose their good paying jobs with benefits? What is life like in cities and towns when work disappears and a slow decay sets in to once-vibrant communities? Philipp Meyer’s debut novel is an absorbing portrait of ordinary people and communities that face the extraordinary and heartbreaking de-industrialization of America. His novel is set in the former steel towns of Pennsylvania, but the experience resonates with many once-prosperous New England mill towns. I can’t stop thinking about Meyer’s characters, the issues they confronted, the complexities of their limited options, and the life-changing decisions they made. There were times I couldn’t put this book down and there were also times I didn’t want to turn the page for fear of finding out what will happen to these people I have come to care about so much, such is the power of Meyer’s writing.

Philipp Mey
er will be at the Odyssey Bookshop, February 16, 2010 @ 7 p.m.
Don't miss this exciting event!


by Christopher McDougall
Hardcover: 9780307266309, Random House, $24.95

If you are a runner this book will absolutely fascinate you. If you are not a runner, the same is true. I am positive that I will never run fifty miles through the Mexican desert, barefoot or with running shoes, but I thoroughly enjoyed Christoper McDougall’s account of the Tarahumara Indians and their extraordinary running abilities in sandals. The book covers a wide range of topics including the physiology of running and the multitude of injuries modern runners face despite expensive running shoes, the necessity of our hunting ancestors to run marathon distances to feed themselves, stories of a quirky band of contemporary ultra-marathoners, and the frugal, but healthy lifestyle of the Tarahumara Indians. This is an inspiring book and I’m considering taking up running again—but I will need to seriously think about what kind of footwear to use.


No comments: