2018 week fifty one

My year in reading

After a few attempts at reading 95 Books, and failing with diminishing returns year upon year, I opted for 2018 to read 52 books, or a book a week so that I’d always have a book to write about. I didn’t always have a book to write about (more on that later) but I did exceed my goal, reading 54 books this year. I like reading best of lists, but I do not like writing them, so I’ve decided to pick a favourite from my three big categories: books about running, fiction & poetry, and non-fiction. These are my three favourites that I read in 2018, two of which actually came out in 2018 and have found their way onto other people’s best/favourite lists.

Favourite running book

Endure Cover Image
Endure – Mind, Body and the Curious Elastic Limits of Human Performance
By Alex Hutchinson
Buy it Here.

I’m a big fan of Hutchinson’s Sweat Science columns in Outside magazine and his sometimes appearances in the Globe and Mail. I loved this book, and it’s responsible for one of my two favourite quotes regarding endurance that I still think about all the time:

Do you notice he’s not dead? What does that tell you? It means he could have run faster.

Also, cyclists are batshit crazy.

PS – my other favourite quote regarding endurance comes from Olympian and Mile2Marathon coach Dylan Wykes, whom sadly the Vancouver running community lost this year…to Ottawa.

Slowing down just means it hurts for longer.

These voices in my head got me over a 5K and 42.2K finish line this year but more about that in 2018 week fifty two, my year in running.

Favourite fiction & poetry book

Split Tooth Cover
Split Tooth
By Tanya Tagaq
Buy it Here

Split Tooth is a mashup of fiction, mythology, and poetry by the Polaris Prize winning, multi-discipline artist Tanya Tagaq. It follows a young woman growing up in the harsh climate of small town Nunavut in the ’70s and takes the reader down the rabbit hole. It is a captivating read.

Favourite non-fiction book

This Naked Mind Cover
This Naked Mind: Control Alcohol, Find Freedom, Discover Happiness, & Change Your Life
By Annie Grace
Buy it Here

I had very little confidence in this book and its lofty claims on the cover, but when the time was right I gave it a shot and haven’t looked back since. I don’t know if it’s for everyone but it worked for me, and when I wrote about it on here back in week eleven of this year I did not expect it would go on to be the most read piece on here. By a lot. I’ve been amazed by the reaction. Maybe this is something that you’ve been thinking about. Maybe you have questions. I cannot promise I have answers but I’ll try, and I made a promise that I wouldn’t become a dick about it. So far…so good…. You can DM me via social media Insta: toddnickel Twitter: @toddnickel FB: toddreadrunwrite or leave a comment on here.

The year that was

I read 20 more books than last year, and it felt like a lot less poetry (eight of my 34 books in 2017 were poetry) but it turns out feelings are crap since I read nine poetry books in 2018. I suspect that I will read around the same number in 2019 since there’s plenty of poetry that I want to read that is sitting in my to read pile and on my to buy list. One big difference between this year and past has to do with what I just wrote about above. Not drinking means I have a lot more time and energy for reading. More reading and less nauseous snoozing on public transit.

Goodreads gives a rather pathetic breakdown of my year in reading here. Here’s a rather pathetic breakdown of my own:
Poetry: 9
By women: 25
By *straight white* dudes: 20
About Donald Trump: 2
About running: 6

*I admit that I am making some assumptions with regards to straight and white when I come up with this number and I’m entirely comfortable with that.

All the books I read (and wrote about) in 2018 in the order I wrote about them on here:

  1. The Argonauts
  2. Astrophysics for People in a Hurry
  3. Nick Cave: Mercy on Me
  4. Fire and Fury
  5. Find You in the Dark
  6. Sapiens
  7. American War
  8. Freshwater
  9. Son of a Trickster
  10. Mad Blood Stirring
  11. This Naked Mind
  12. Full Disclosure
  13. The Subtle Art of Not Giving a F*ck
  14. From Here to Eternity
  15. The Mars Room
  16. Steal it Back
  17. Further Problems with Pleasure
  18. Ariel
  19. My Ariel
  20. Angel of the Underground
  21. Lost in Stockholm
  22. By Night in Chile
  23. The Terrible and Wonderful Reasons Why I Run Long Distances
  24. How to Lose a Marathon
  25. Let’s Explore Diabetes With Owls
  26. Squirrel Seeks Chipmunk
  27. Hunger Makes Me a Modern Girl
  28. Hunger
  29. Ayiti
  30. What Made Maddy Run
  31. Run Forever
  32. Endure
  33. Blown
  34. Less
  35. Runner: Harry Jerome, World’s Fastest Man
  36. Nightwood
  37. The Book of Repulsive Women
  38. Believe Me
  39. We Have Always Lived in the Castle
  40. The 7½ Deaths of Evelyn Hardcastle
  41. The Age of Briggs & Stratton
  42. Autonomous
  43. Katerina
  44. Fear: Trump in the White House
  45. The Rule of Stephens
  46. When Running Made History
  47. Split Tooth
  48. R’s Boat
  49. Instructions for a Funeral
  50. The Tiger Flu
  51. French Exit
  52. Milk and Honey
  53. The Sun and Her Flowers
  54. The Italian Teacher

Next week: my year in running.