Books to Read After Running

by Sally Drake and Mark Mindel

Such a Fun Age by Kiley Reid

This novel is about a young African-American babysitter, Emira, who works for a high-profile white Philadelphia family. A racist incident involving a store security guard while Emira is working leads to an escalating series of events and interactions that highlight issues of race and privilege in transactional relationships. This story is modern, relevant, smart and often very funny as it explores inherent bias, class divisions and self-discovery. 

Why We Can’t Sleep:  Women’s New Midlife Crisis by Ada Calhoun

If you are a Gen-X woman (born between 1968 and 1980) you will absolutely see yourself in this insightful look at the social, emotional, economic, health and family trends and pressures facing our generation. The first beneficiaries of second-wave feminism, we believed we could have it all but the economic recession of the early 1990’s just as we entered the workforce and persistent sexism in workplace policies derailed this belief in many ways, leading to economic and professional anxiety throughout the last two decades. Now sandwiched between raising young or adolescent children and caring for aging parents as our bodies go through dramatic mid-life changes, we are literally up all night with worry and angst. But it is not all doom and gloom—we are an independent, creative and strong generation of woman that pushed past boundaries, broke many glass ceilings, and overcame significant challenges to move feminism—and our own personal goals-- forward in major ways.

The Joy of Movement: How Exercise Helps Us Find Happiness by Kelly McGonigal

This excellent examination of the psychological and emotional benefits of exercise states clearly and enthusiastically what many runners know: movement makes us feel happy, sometimes euphoric, provides emotional equilibrium and even treats more serious mental health issues. A blend of medical and anthropological research makes an even stronger case for the power that connection through exercise has on our social and emotional well-being.  That glowing feeling we have after a group run, a powerful yoga class or a fast-paced HIIT workout is no accident—we are biologically driven to seek it.  I was especially inspired by her case studies of organizations that blend exercise with community service—a particularly potent means of lifting mental health. I thoroughly enjoyed this book—I recognized myself throughout and it helped me understand why movement is so important and meaningful in my life. The book’s only shortcoming is that it does not acknowledge or examine the risks over-exercise, a dark affiliation I see in many athletes--especially distance runners--that I believe can reverse the inherent benefits of movement.  For most of though, this book underscores the message to keep moving! 

Dear Edward by Ann Napolitano

A poignant novel about the aftermath of a plane crash that killed all but one aboard. The tragedy leads to a deeply human recovery and response that exposes the resilience of survivors and the power of honoring memory.  A beautifully written and imagined book that movingly explores grief, hope, despair and renewal as part of the shared human experience.

The Murder List by Hank Phillippi Ryan

Told from varying points of view, a real head-scratcher of a whodunnit ! A Boston state Senator's top aide is killed, and his wife is arrested for the murder as the DA, Martha Gardiner, points to the motive of jealousy. The Senator "allegedly" had more than a working relationship with several of his female underlings. Defense attorney Jack Kirkland immediately blows holes in the DA's case stating at the indictment hearing that the accused had a rock solid alibi. Flash forward six years and Kirkland is married to the Senator's former Chief of Staff, Rachel North, who is also now a third year law student interning with Gardiner (much to Jack's chagrin). Things get wild and crazy and you really won't believe what happens next unless you read it!

Bad Luck and Trouble (Jack Reacher #11) by Lee Child

An early Jack Reacher book. Action-packed as always. One of Reacher's old pals, and “'team members” from his old Elite Army Unit reaches out to him with a distress signal only he would understand, by depositing $1,030 in his bank account (Reacher lives on the streets with no address and no car and only has a bank account). 1030 means "needs urgent assistance." Reacher finds his old mate, Frances Neagley, and eventually they bring together two more of their former band mates, David O'Donnell and Karla Dixon. Missing are four of the others (a ninth member has passed away). They begin to investigate the disappearances of their old friends (finding they were killed, one by one) and uncover a plot to steal the Air Force's newest secret weapon, "Little Wing" that can knock down any airliner at any time (even Air Force One would be vulnerable) when final construction is completed. A middle Easterner named Mahmoud has paid $650 million to steal 100 of the new weapons. Reacher and his recently re-formed team must stop the transaction as well as seek revenge on the people who took out their four comrades. Edge-of-your-seat drama. 

Blue Moon (Jack Reacher #24) by Lee Child

Reacher stumbles upon an old man about to get robbed of $20 grand in cash at a Greyhound bus stop. He stops the theft but is intrigued by the old man's story. He has been borrowing money from Ukranian loan sharks to pay for his daughter's expensive, experimental, cancer treatments. Meanwhile the city they are in is split into two warring sectors. The Ukrainians control the East side while the Albanian gangs control the West. Meanwhile, Reacher befriends Abby, a young waitress working on the East Side. Together they plot to help the old couple. With a few of Abby's friends, Reacher comes up with a plan to not only get the money but end the gangs for good. Will it work? You'll have to read it to find out!

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