Book Reviews

Book Reviews

I love reading books! These are the best of the best I have read, so I wanted to share them with you! I hope you enjoy them as much as I have.

 

Running and adventure books

Christopher MacDougall: Born To Run

This was one of the first books I read to do with running and finished it in days rather than months. It charts the author’s personal running problems, which lead to a fascinating series of adventures in South America. He tracks down an almost mystical being going by the name of Micah True and discovers the secrets of a tribe of amazing ultra-distance runners called the Tarahumara. Combine all this with the retelling of exciting, ambitious races in Leadville and an amazing race through the Copper Canyons in Mexico and you’ve got a very readable, inspiring book. I really enjoyed how this book combines travel and running!

Adharanand Finn: Running with the Kenyans

Shortlisted for the William Hill Book of the Year, this is an inspirational and serene story of one man’s trials and tribulations with running and his efforts to keep up with the running royalty of Kenya by immersing himself in their whole world. At times surreal, at others downright bonkers, an entertaining read!

 

Barefoot books

Ken Bob Saxton: Barefoot Running – Step by Step

If you’re curious about the barefoot running phenomenon, then this is the book for you! It’s written as if the author was talking to you over a beer on the back porch one evening at the height of summer. It is full of fascinating case studies and practical tips and training ideas. Well worth a read if you want to find out what barefoot running is all about!

 

Sporting personalities

Mo Farah: Twin Ambitions, My Autobiography

I’m a big fan of Mo and I enjoyed learning more about his background. He had a tough upbringing, dealing with having to live separately from his twin brother for most of his young life, living in an unfamiliar country yearning to hear more about his family. Reading about the lengths he goes to in order to succeed and the tactics and mind games he employs is so motivating to get out there and work hard to improve.

Alistair and Jonny Brownlee: Swim, Bike, Run – Our Triathlon Story

The inspirational Brownlee brothers have given an honest and illuminating account of their upbringing, which features a fond account of their understanding school who let them out to train. It is also evident how hard they motivate and push each other in their training and races. I really identified with their competitiveness with each other and everyone else. An immensely readable and gripping novel, great for those who enjoy all of the triathlon disciplines and those with an interest in aspiring to better their performances in any sport.

Usain Bolt: Faster Than Lightning, My Autobiography

Usain is the most famous sportsman in the world. He has, arguably, been single-handedly responsible for bringing Athletics back into the mainstream from the doldrums, and for providing hope about what clean athletes can achieve in the scandal-laden world of the last decade. This book provides a fascinating insight into Usain’s life and his struggles to harness his unbelievable talent despite the sacrifices he’s had to make along the way.

Killian Jornet: Run or Die

This was one of the most beautifully written, vividly described books I have ever read. I loved this book and was genuinely upset when I finished it – I wanted it to go on and on! His remarkable record of breaking ultra-distance challenges including running up and down Mount Kilimanjaro in record time is so engaging. The way he talks about living his life minimally, passionate about the great outdoors and having adventures is exhilarating.

Bradley Wiggins: My Hour

Not only does Bradley Wiggins happen to ride a bike incredibly well and incredibly quickly, he also has a great love of the history of the sport. This book is visually stunning and spellbinding in its man vs. mind vs. time battle as Wiggins races the clock in trying to beat the Hour record. As a runner, I can put myself in similar shoes if I think about trying to run as fast as possible for an hour on a treadmill. Painful, both mentally and physically, exhausting, exhilarating and potentially, glorious!

Richard Askwith: Today we die a little, the rise and fall of Emil Zatopek, Olympic Legend

Emil Zatopek was the Usain Bolt of his time, running Mo Farah distances. In one Olmypic Games, he won the 5,000m, 10,000m and won the marathon having never before run that distance. It is an incredible story of a talented and hard-working athlete living in a troubled era in Communist Czechoslovakia. The political issues of the time provide a fascinating backdrop to the pure childish love of life that shines through in Zatopek’s personality. The book is chronological and is effectively split between Emil’s racing life and then post-racing life. An exhaustively researched book which is so interesting to read. I loved learning about Emil’s various training ideas and sessions and could picture him loving every painful moment of them!