Photo from Mount Royal, Frisco, Colorado.

"That is happiness; to be disolved into something complete and great. When it comes to one, it comes as naturally as sleep." - Willa Cather

Monday, 24 December 2012

Top 10 Reads of 2012 - Merry Christmas!

As a sort of electronic Christmas gift (it's the best I can think of!), I thought I'd give you all my list of best reads from this year. Not that they were all published in 2012.

You should know that, it was not for lack of trying that there is only one fiction book listed. I must have started over 20 fiction books and finished one (it's #5 on the list). For example, I was sure I would like Once a Runner by John L Parker, but after a while, I couldn't take it anymore.

10. The Best Norse in the Long Run by Kenny Moore (
A 1986 take on the pregnant marathon and one fast woman.

9. Swim Speed Secrets by Sheila Taormina
For the first time, swimming technique I could understand and see results from.

8. I'm Here to Win by Chris McCormack
The chapters on training and, especially nutrition, are incredibly insightful - and novel. They make the whole book worth it.

7. The Mighty Cobra and the Pink Rabbit: A Diary by Miss Pink
An honest and funny take on Bikram Yoga

6. The Art of Running Faster by Julian Goater
Lots of useful tidbits. SR said he didn't recognize me from the back yesterday at our race because my form has gotten so much better. I think I have this book to thank.

5. The Hours by Michael Cunningham
As mentioned, I rarely tolerate fiction, but I could not put this down. Beautifully written.

4. Eat & Run by Scott Jurek
Reading this was pure joy.

3. Born on a Blue Day by Daniel Tammet
I didn't know it was possible to learn so much about the human mind through one book - about one person.

2. A Life Without Limits by Chrissy Wellington
Read it in 3 days and didn't want it to end. Wonderful book.

1. An Unquiet Mind by Kay Jamisson
Changed my perspective of all psychiatric illnesses and my own life. Not only that, but it is incredibly well-written and a page turner all the way through.

What about your favorites? What did I miss?

Christmas Challenge: Find SR. I'm sure you can find me. Hint: we are both wearing nissehue.
Skodsborg Juleløb 2012. The trails and company in Dyrehaven are amazing.
But my family is the best. We're just about to leave for Chistmas Eve in Værløse. 
I wish you all a safe, healthy and happy Christmas.


Christmas Ecletonic Gift said...

If your are looking for electronics gifts for your family then it best option

Rebecca said...

Love The Hours, and, strangely, the film adaptation is also actually wonderful. Or I just think everything that Meryl Streep touches turns to gold.

Running the Rift by Naomi Benaron is fantastic, about a runner growing up during the Rwandan genocide/Hutu-Tutsi conflicts. Don't think it's non-fiction but it's certainly based on historical events. I couldn't put it down and I'm pretty picky about my fiction.

I'm with you on Once a Runner. It felt forced to me. I wanted to love it because every runner I know loves it, but I didn't.

Marathon Mom said...

I too agree on Once a Runner, I actually started it 3 years ago and have yet to finish. I want to read the Scott Jurek book, might have to check out some others on your list too. With grad school my reading is very limited, but I could use some good books for vacation next month :)

sea legs girl said...

Rebecca, thanks for the Running the Rift recommendation. Sounds like we have really similar taste, so I'll check it out. And I agree about Meryl Streep!

sea legs girl said...

Jen - for me taking time to read before bed this last year has brought me a lot of happiness. I had always been an avid reader pre-kids and getting that back has been empowering for me.

It makes me so happy we share the not-so-impressed opinion of Once a Runner!

mmmonyka said...

This is actually a comment on your previous post. I thought that sub 3h marathon is a 2-3 years goal since your best time is ~15 min slower. But you are going to try in 10months?!? I totally LOVE it!!!! Having lofty goals, putting it out here for everyone to see. I am truly excited to see whether you can go under 3 hours in 2013 already!!!

Thanks for books recommendations. The only one i read so far is Once a runner. A friend of mine thought i would like it but honestly i did not like it too much. I liked the story but not the way it was written.

Merry Christmas!

SteveQ said...

I used to have a photo of Kenny Moore on my desk and people thought it was me - in the 1972 Olympics! - I should unearth it, just to show what I once looked like. Oh... and he can write a little.

I liked The Hours more than I thought I would. It does help if you've read Mrs. Dalloway first, I think.

My book list would be entirely fiction. "The Embers" by Sandor Marai (1941?, first published in English in 2009?) was the stand-out

Anonymous said...

Thanks - love the electronic gift idea! I'll definitely be checking some of those out. My own favorite running bok to date is Feet in the Clouds by Richard Askwith. It's a really interesting account of the history and culture of fell running, mostly in the UK.

Stationary Runner said...

Oh my goodness, An Unquiet Mind was fantastic. Loved that one, though parts of it were difficult to read. And Chrissie Wellington's book was fantastic.

Other books I truly enjoyed this year:

Finding Ultra, by Rich Roll (really well written, very nutrition-oriented)

Driving With Dead People, by Monica Holloway (nonfiction)

Gillian Flynn's three thrillers (crime drama)

History of a Suicide, by Jill Bialosky (nonfiction)

Sharp: A Memoir by David Fitzpatrick (nonfiction)

The Center Cannot Hold, by Elyn Saks (nonfiction)

I'm also enjoying Tana French's thrillers - I loved Faithful Place and I'm currently reading Broken Harbor.

You can tell what I like to read! Mysteries, running books, and mental health-related memoirs. :-)

sea legs girl said...

Thank you so much for all of these recommendations!! It looks like I have some great material awaiting me.

Stationary runner - your taste in literature could not sound more similar to mine! And what an odd combo it is. Cheers to that! (glad to know you!)

Diana said...

Thanks for the recommendations. My reading list year was a total bust. I think I read too many parenting books, and the novels I managed to get through didn't feel like anything special. I've been meaning to read The Hours for a few years. Loved the film, so now it's time to pick up the book.
Merry Christmas!