Books to Read After Running

Mark Mindel’s Books to Read After Running

The Punishment She Deserves by Elizabeth George

The master of English detective writing, Elizabeth George, is at it again with her 20th Inspector Thomas Lynley novel. Lynley, the Earl of Asherton, as always is partnered with his Scotland Yard working class gal, Detective Sergeant Barbara Havers, and of course their conflicting personalities (both in gender and class and HOW they go about detecting) always seem to balance out and aid them in solving an unsolvable crime! Which is: did the vicar kill himself as Ludlow police have determined, or was it a well-disguised bloody murder? Well as you wade through the near 800 pages of mystery, misdirections, and clandestine activities through the many intricate stories weaved together in this picturesque medieval English town, you will have to ride along with his lordship and Barbara as they try to figure things out! The title involves three "Shes" who deserve punishment and by the end you will pretty much have it sussed out! A pretty good story, init?*

*Liverpool slang for “Isn’t it?”

Red Alert (NYPD Red, #5) by James Patterson

The fifth in the NYPD Red series, the elite unit placed in charge of making sure New York's rich and famous get the best NYC's police have to offer. Former lovers and current partners, Zach Jordan and Kylie MacDonald, chase down two concurrent cases.  A bomb targets one of the Silver Bullet Foundation's founding fathers. The foundation was formed to give NY's poorest affordable shelter and the Mayor and Red are on hand when the first man is murdered by the bomb, which targets only one person at a time. Meanwhile, a film director is murdered during a macabre sex scene. As the two cases intertwine, Jordan and MacDonald are literally thrown together (in bed, no less! ....oops!). Throw in a third case where a high stakes poker game involving Kylie's current lover turns into a million dollar robbery and our two 'partners' are in for a tough week! See how it all turns out!!! 

Girl Unknown by Karen Perry

An interesting concept but wasn’t thrilled with the writing. The author is actually a couple (Karen Gillece and Paul Perry) who write as Karen Perry. The point of view is from a wife, Caroline, and her husband Professor David Connolly, and we can only assume Gillece writes as Caroline and Paul as David. A contrived plot where David’s lover previous to Caroline apparently had a daughter, HIS, and never told him. The girl goes to his college and eventually tells him. It all goes downhill from there as Zoe (is she really his daughter?) invades and destroys the Connolly family! The climax is both unbelievable and absurd, but I’ll leave you to it!

Time and Place by Russ Ebbets

Follow the trials and tribulations of a small Western NY high school track and cross country team through the eyes of its venerable coach, Eddy John Denny, and his assistants and runners, Leon and Mouse as they stumble upon the next best thing, Billy, as they travel the circuit for cross country and track in upstate New York and try to get Billy to get that gold standard, the NYS record for the mile. You'll enjoy the ups and downs and all the varying relationships that Russ weaves through the story. If you enjoyed "Supernova" you'll love "Time and Chance."

(Click here for Russ Ebbets article in this Pace Setter.)

Sally Drake's Books to Read After Running

Asymmetry by Lisa Halliday

This inventive book is really 3 novellas, linked by theme rather than character or plot.  The first story is about the relationship between a young woman (Alice) and a famous writer (Ezra Blazer) much older than she, believed to be based on Halliday’s relationship with Philip Roth.  The relationship is complex and both tender and depressing. All relationships are imbalanced, this one particularly by the age difference, fame and wealth. But Alice is smart and empowered and Halliday’s perspective does not victimize but rather explores what this complicated love means to each.  The second story is about an American born Iraqi man (Amar) detained at Heathrow Airport on the way to visit his brother in Kurdistan.  The Kafka-esque nature of this story through which we learn about Amar’s life and family explores cross-cultural identity particularly in the post 9-11 era. The final story goes back to Blazer in a late-life radio interview that exposes more about his personal past.  The three stories interact in perspective--connecting and revealing in fluid ways thoughts about family, love, identity and American culture after 2001. 

Clock Dance by Anne Tyler

Anne Tyler is a master of American domestic fiction and this, her 22nd novel, does not disappoint.  It tells the story of Willa’s life from her difficult childhood with a manic-depressive mother through a late in life transformation spurred by an impulsive decision to leave her home and go to Baltimore to help a young woman she’s never met and her young daughter which leads her to meet a community of eccentric and loving people.  It is a charming and hopeful book about change, character, neighbors, the courage it takes to open your heart others, and what it means to be home.

Cannery Row by John Steinbeck

While on vacation in northern California last month, my family and I explored the areas of Carmel and Monterey, central coast fishing towns immortalized in the stories and novels written by John Steinbeck.  We wandered Cannery Row and saw the remnants of the old fishing industry and I could practically see Steinbeck characters from the 1930 and 40s walking the old boardwalk.  So I visited a local bookstore and bought Cannery Row in which these characters--down and out, salt of the earth--come to life in Monterey.  This is a story about place and nobody writes about these places better than Steinbeck--an American story-teller through and through.

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