July 2019 Goals : The Year of 1% Better

books, catholicism, goals, reading, running, year of 1% better

If you’re new here, I declared 2019 the Year of 1% Better. Here’s a list of all previous goal posts.

January: Goals | Outcomes

February: Goals | Outcomes

March: Goals | Outcomes

April : Goals | Outcomes

May : Goals  | Outcomes

June : Goals | Outcomes 

I wanted to write this up yesterday, but Henry was not too keen on the idea of taking naps during the day. Nor was he too keen on sleeping this morning, but I guess that is to be expected from a one month old! So quickly — before he wakes up now, I’ll share my goals for July.

This month feels chaotic. We move next week Friday, so even though I’ve been working on class prep, I also have been packing and organizing. I donated a large amount of clothing and books. We do not want to bring a lot of furniture down, so we have someone taking our dining room table and couches so we can begin again. Even still, I have a few things I would like to work on for this month.

Begin to run again. I plan on easing into this. I’ve been consistent with my walks, but I’d like to slowly start adding some running to those walks. I started on Tuesday — I walked four minutes, ran a minute. I felt ok. It felt very clear to me that it had been a long time since I’ve run, but I also did not experience any pain during or after. It was just uncomfortable. Slowly, I plan on adding on to the minutes, but for now for three of my weekly walks I would like to add some running time. 

Read a chapter of a book non-work related daily. A lot of my reading lately has been in preparation for the fall, mainly American history. But I want to make sure I get in some fun reading too. Ideally, this year I would like to read one novel and one nonfiction every month, but that might be a little much for me to start on. For now – just a chapter a day. I’m currently reading Isabella: Warrior Queen right now. I don’t know much about the Spanish monarchs, but this has proved to be very interesting.

Daily Angelus. I’m pretty good at morning prayers (well, at least when Henry is napping). I have some coffee and that is usually the first part of the day. The rest of the day is usually iffy. I’ve tried to incorporate more throughout the day (like a daily rosary), but I can never keep up with it. Here’s to starting small — this month I’d like to say an Angelus later in the day either around noon or later in the afternoon.

Once again — just some small things. I think preparing for teach has provided me with a great deal of my goals and to-do’s for now. I’m really excited about teaching this fall, so that is fine. But as usual — I do want to make sure I have a few things to work on.

What are your goals for this month?

 

 

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April Reads 2019

books, catholicism, Harry Potter

Contains Amazon affiliate links. 

I did plenty of reading this month, trying to get my hour a day in. It often turned into a lot more than an hour though with all the post-dissertation free time. I’m still making my way through the Harry Potter series (I’d like to be done prior to the baby’s arrival) and through CathLit2019. I read a lot more nonfiction and had a nice return to some historical reading set in the Amazons.

One Beautiful Dream by Jennifer Fulwiler

I loved One Beautiful Dream. It was definitely one of my favorites for this month and I know I will be returning to it again. You can read my review of this book here.

Jesus of Nazareth by Benedict XVI

 

Writing Down the Bones by Natalie Goldberg

 

One of my April goals was inspired by this book. Sometimes Writing Down the Bones got a little too woo-woo for me, but I think it did have some great practical suggestions.

The Art of Frugal Hedonism by Annie Raser-Rowland and Adam Grubb

I thought this book was kind of underwhelming. You can read my review of it here.

Ten Arguments for Deleting Your Social Media Accounts Right Now by Jaron Lanier

I have a review of Lanier’s book to be published elsewhere hopefully soon. I’ll share a link to it is up, but for now all you need to know is I am not a cat person.

River of Doubt: Theodore Roosevelt’s Darkest Journey by Candace Millard

I liked River of Doubt. It combined some of my favorite things history, politics, and the Amazon rain forest. You can read my review of this book here.

Harry Potter and the Goblet of Fire by J.K. Rowling 

Goblet of Fire…the one where it all gets a little real, all too real.

The Seven Habits of Highly Effective People by Stephen R. Covey

Another re-read. There is a reason why Seven Habits is an absolute classic.

What did you read in April? Any big reads planned for May?

A Review of River of Doubt: Theodore Roosevelt’s Darkest Journey

books, reading

*This post contains Amazon affiliate links.

I’ll admit I feel a little scatterbrained at the moment. This is why they say you should not check your email until after noon! I received some good news – an academic journal accepted one of my dissertation chapters for publication. As this will be my first ever peer review publication (after only two rejections and one revise and resubmit), I am very, very happy – and distracted – but mostly happy. I worked on my revise and resubmit edits after completing my dissertation and I was burnt out on Rousseau while working on them. I actually have not returned to a single word of Rousseau since I resubmitted. I think the break has been good and I’m going to continue on with it, even if I do miss my citizen of Geneva a bit.

Anyway – I recently finished reading The River of Doubt: Theodore Roosevelt’s Darkest Journey by Candice Millard.  I may be taking a break from Rousseau, but I always seem to end up back in the state of nature. As might be suggested from the title, this book on TR reflects not on his presidential or political career, but on his journey on the Rio da Duvida —  the River of Doubt – which later became known as the Rio Roosevelt. She suggests that this is a response to his defeat as the Progressive Party candidate in 1912 as leader of the Bull Moose Party, but moreover a continuation of the “strenuous life” he had been living ever since he decided as a youth to “make his body” in response to his asthma.

What I know of TR has more to do with his political thought and less to do with his biographic life, but he has been a president who has always intrigued me. Frankly, it is hard to imagine a modern president today (whether a Clinton, Bush, Obama, or Trump) taking a life-threatening journey in uncharted Amazon territory to travel down a seemingly unknowable river. Politics aside, I cannot help but be impressed by TR’s rejection of the comfortable life post-presidency. Millard portrays this side of Roosevelt well. She describes him as not a man without fear, but as a man fear cannot control.

But it is not just TR that Millard portrays with interest. Each of the men portrayed are different characters – from TR’s son Kermit to the Brazilian native protector Rondon. But what is really interesting is the role of the Amazon itself. I don’t love it when nature is personified, but in this case (having spent so much time with Rousseau) it was a nice contrast to the idea of beneficent nature. TR describes this idea as: “The very pathetic myth of ‘beneficent nature,’ could not deceive even the least wise being if he once saw for himself the iron cruelty of life in the tropics.” If the book is a battle for preservation, from the explorers, the natives, the rainforest itself has its own stake in the prize – and it provides many obstacles from candiru, snakes, malaria, insects, piranha to the dearth of anything to eat. In the Amazon, nature is the opposite of generous.

One of the things I also appreciated about the book is that Millard seems set on presenting the story as it happened. Though she does psychologize TR a bit, she does not really create historical villains out of anybody. Rondon – the Brazilian explorer —  is clearly the most humane, insofar as he has his policy of peace never shooting at native Amazons, even out of self-preservation, and later, his creation of the Indian Protection Bureau in Brazil. But in this way, he is the most tragic. His work to create telegraph lines through the Amazon rainforest resulted in the continued destruction of Amazon natives. But Millard never takes the time to attack any of these men for their “backwards” ideas and I appreciated that. I just wanted to know the story, not a confession of their historical sins.

Overall, the book is a quick and easy read. It does not have a lot about TR’s political leanings (although you should know South America and TR are not best buds), but I think it does give several interesting glimpses into his character. I’m not a Progressive, but as I said above, I can’t help but admire TR. He is so different than what we have today. It is hard to imagine us having a president today with such a wide breadth of knowledge, interests, and daring. If ever there was a man willing to be in the arena, he was it, even when that arena was the Amazon rain forest and not in civilization.

A Review of The Art of Frugal Hedonism

books, reading

Contains Amazon affiliate links. 

Annie Raser-Rowland and Adam Grubb’s book The Art of Frugal Hedonism: A Guide to Spending Less While Enjoying Everything More is not so much a book of “why” frugal hedonism is best, but one that describes “how” to go about it. It is a quick-read with fifty-one short chapters providing tips for how to incorporate frugal hedonism in your own life. Some chapters are only about a page long. The book is meant to “be [a] primer for a life less dependent on the comforts of consumption, and more focused on extracting maximum pleasure from the most essential parts of being human.”

The Australian writers describe an early taste of simple things that prevented them from ever being too consumption-focused. Both describe early childhoods of that feature parents moving up in lives and how much they missed the original simplicity they were born into. I get it – this is all fine. But I think sometimes Raser-Rowland and Grubb miss the mark as to why someone may “want to move up” in the first place: i.e. security (at times they seem to take for granted that it is only a keeping of the Jones’ mentality – more, more, more). Granted, that is not the main point of their book, but there is a big difference in living the “simple life” because you have to (and what that might even look like) versus because you want to.

Most of their advice is fine but repetitive. They themselves even acknowledge that they tend to repeat the idea of eating a packed lunch instead of ordering take-out. Most of their suggestions are fairly common. For example – they recommend not buying drinks out at restaurants, take care of the things you already own, have an open relationship with recipes, and figure out what you really enjoy spending money on. Other habits such as “relish” were a little too twee for me. It kind of feels like it has been done before, though not with Raser-Rowland and Grubb’s hipster whimsy. Most of the chapters could have used more description, instead of just a quickly expressed idea.

That said, there were a few interesting ideas in the book. For example, suggestion no. 11 “beware fake frugal” is one to keep in mind. They describe fake frugal as “cheap to buy, but at the expense of someone or something else.” Examples they provide are kitchen products you constantly replace (like can openers) or buying white bread instead of the better, healthier wheat bread just because it is cheaper. This is something I always have to remind myself – one-time last year, Bruno and I decided we were spending too much money on groceries, so decided to change out some of our lunches for ramen. I still think ramen is delicious, but it really is not an actual lunch. Lesson learned.

One thing I did appreciate about the book is that Raser-Rowland and Grubb provide plenty of charts and numbers. I never thought I would be the type to appreciate charts and numbers, but it is interesting to see how consumptive habits have changed over the years. In the 1950s 75% of food was made in-home, now it is something like 50% (I was actually surprised that it was still half – I expected it to be lower). Their numbers relate specifically to Australia, but I can’t imagine that it is much different here in the states. When it comes to the history and data around buying habits and happiness, these two know their stuff.

I did really struggle with the style of writing. I suspect this has less to do with the book itself then who I think it might be written for. I made a comment that this is a book with all your usual tips, but with hipster whimsy and that just is not appealing to me. It is a personal preference, but I am not sure that advising me to “relish” or “not be a snooty bum-bum” are things that I find particularly helpful, or cute. I suspect it is a taste thing, but it is not helped by the fact that for the most part there is not much substance there.

I think this book is fine for neophytes on living frugally (that is this concept is completely new to them — although, I’m not sure how many people that would actually be), but for everyone else looking to enjoy life while save some money it will be nothing they’ve never read or heard before. And if you are really frugally-minded, there is nothing in here that you would not be able to find for free on the internet.

 

February/March Reads 2019

books, reading

I wish I could say I followed up my dissertatin with serious tomes and plenty of reading, but not so much. I have been burnt out, so it has actually been hard to focus on books at all. I had quite a few start-and-stops and I hardly ever quit a book I have started. All book links are to Amazon, where I make a small commission.

Harry Potter and the Chamber of Secrets by J.K. Rowling

ChamberofSecrets.jpg

I make a point to re-read Harry Potter during the Thanksgiving to New Year season, but I was trying to finish up dissertation work, so Harry Potter and the Chamber of Secrets did not get finished until post-defense. Ah, it is probably my favorite of the earlier ones. That joke Ron makes after extensively cleaning the trophy for service to the school about it probably being for the person who killed Moaning Myrtle? Priceless.

Harry Potter and the Prisoner of Azkaban by J.K. Rowling

PrisonerofAzkaban.jpg

I have the hard copies of all the Harry Potter books except for Prisoner of Azkaban. I keep meaning to buy it hard-copy, but also keep forgetting.

Digital Minimalism by Cal Newport

I wrote a review of this book a few weeks ago. I still highly recommend.

The Power of Meaning by Emily Esfahani Smith


I thought The Power of Meaning: Finding Fulfillment in a World Obsessed with Happiness was just ok. I think the premise is fantastic. We are all hustling for happiness, but what if being happy is not really the point? What if purpose is? That is an idea, a truth really, I can get behind. But everything was else was just sort of ok.

The Grace of Enough by Haley Stewart

In some ways The Grace of Enough: Pursuing Less and Living More in a Throwaway Culture is related to the previous book, but I think it is so much better because it is a look at an individual’s pursuit of purpose in a culture that is constantly screaming more. Moreover, where Esfahani emphasized that purpose can be found in secular life, I think I related to (needed) the Catholic message of this book. I loved it so much, I am reading it again right now. This book was also my #CathoLit2019 read created by the author, Haley Stewart of Carrots for Michaelmas.

Current Reads :

Harry Potter and the Goblet of Fire by J.K. Rowling (of course)

Jesus of Nazareth: From the Baptism in the Jordan to the Transfiguration by Benedict XVI

Writing Down the Bones: Freeing the Writer Within by Natalie Goldberg

One Beautiful Dream: The Rollicking Tale of Family Chaos, Personal Passions, and Saying Yes to Them Both by Jennifer Fulwiler

The Magician’s Nephew by C. S. Lewis — a quick note on this one. Bruno and I have been reading a chapter or two together out loud in the evenings. We had always wanted to do this, but would be a bit too lofty in our ambitions and pick a big dense classic, but this book seems to work perfectly well for some evening reading after a long day.

What are some of your February and March readings? Anything you particularly liked? Disliked? What are you reading now? I’m always looking for new books to add to my kindle.

Best Books for Productivity in 2019

books, reading

A confession: I’m a junkie for time-management books. I love knowing how to order and schedule my day and how other people schedule their days. I think I knew I was going to marry Bruno when he described to me how he plans his daily schedule and to-do lists.* Yeah, we’re the most romantic people you know. One of my favorite parts of Rousseau’s Confessions is when he describes his own day and then the day of the Spanish Altuna who is an 18th century strict-schedule keeper extraordinaire. I admire that guy.

Leaving the 18th century (dissertation on my mind), there are plenty of productivity books I love for today. Some I still go back to for when I need jolt to get things done and quit messing around the Internet. I know people say that you cannot rely on motivation, but sometimes you need that external source. If coffee is liquid ambition, then books on productivity are ambition’s written form.

Here they are the books that usually lead me to close out of facebook, pull up Microsoft Word and get going.

168 Hours: You Have More Time Than You Think by Laura Vanderkam. Just listing this book makes me want to go back and re-read it. It is also one of the biggest reasons I get mildly irritated when people say “I don’t have time to do x.” You do. It just is not a priority. I like her practical suggestions like keeping a time-diary, but the best part of the book I think are the inspiring and motivating life examples. People are able to do so much more than they think they can.

Deep Work: Rules for Success in a Distracted World by Cal Newport.  If you get any book to improve your productivity (and general life happiness), it should be this one. We (I) waste so much time messing around on the internet. Still. This book is a swift kick in the you know where. I especially like the idea that deep work is a muscle to be developed. You cannot just sit down and work for a focused eight hours a day. You have to practice, start small.

Atomic Habits: An Easy & Proven Way to Build Good Habits and Break Bad Ones by James Clear. Speaking of starting small, I loved this book on habit building. It gives very specific advice on how to develop small habits that eventually develop into a better life. I’ve written about this book already on my Year of 1% Goals, but I still cannot help but recommend it.

Air & Light & Time & Space : How Successful Academics Write by Helen Sword.  This book helped me out when I was in a dissertation writing rut. Chapter one was fine, chapter two was fine, and then I just sort of felt overwhelmed by the whole process. I like seeing how creatives do their work, but it also did not really apply to me. This was research and writing. I recommend this book to anyone starting a dissertation.

12 Rules for Life: An Antidote for Chaos by Jordan Peterson. If your life is not in order, you cannot get work done. Fact. I think one of the more troubling things presented to any sort of life is ideal of the suffering, starving, drunken, debauched artist. It simply is not always true. Hell, even Ernest Hemingway once wrote a letter to F. Scott Fitzgerald telling him to knock it off with his nonsense so he could write. It is like that wonderful Gustav Flaubert quote, “Be regular and orderly in your life like a bourgeois, so that you may be violent and original in your work.”

What are your favorite books that help you to get things done? What are you reading now?

*I’m kidding. Sort of. Life compatibility, you know?

January 2019 Goals : The Year of 1% Better

crossfit, dissertation, goals, reading, running, year of 1% better

If you missed it, last week I declared 2019 the Year of 1% Better. Because so many things this year are to be determined (motherhood, post-graduate school life, where I will be working to name just a few big ones), I have decided to take things month-by-month and do little things to improve and, well, be better.

As you might have guessed from yesterday’s post, my January goals are already side-tracked. Excruciating pelvic pain at the end of last week has moved me to plan B: do what I can. That said, yesterday I felt pretty much fine, worked out and felt fine, and still feel fine today. So maybe, just maybe, it was an end of the first week of 2019 thing and will not derail my whole January. Fingers crossed!

Ok, ok. So here are the goals for this month:

SUBMIT MY DISSERTATION. This is the goal of all goals — the goal where all goals must be sacrificed to, if need be. This is what I have been working on for the last year and a half. And yes, it is finally happening. I am done with going through editing and formatting three chapters, with two to go. This one will probably be done next week, but it is the most important. I have been a Ph.D. student since 2013. 2019 will be the year I graduate. Six years.

91 Miles. This is one of those goals on Strava that different company’s post. Apparently 91 miles in January is 2x the amount of the average Strava runner in 2019. I do not care if I ran these or walk these (most likely both). I just want to do it while I can.

Do not, do not, DO NOT go out to eat at all for the entire month. We are so bad at this. One of us (ok, it is me. It is always me.) will be like, “I don’t feel like cooking.” Next thing you know, I’m eating a cheeseburger at a restaurant in town. It is not even like this place has a ton of delicious places to eat, so usually I’m eating a meal that is just ok. There are loopholes with this – if someone invites us out to eat and Culver’s custard when we do our grocery shopping on Sundays.

Double-under practice 3x week. Last week, I only did two days. I’m going to try to pick it back up this week. Note I did not say “accomplish double-unders.” I cannot guarantee that, but I’m hoping by putting in a little bit of time, I will get better and manage to do more than one every single time I try to do them.

Swim 1x week. I missed swimming, so I just want to incorporate it back in and do just a little session in the pool every week. So far, so good.

CathLIT2019. I guess this is more of a 2019 goal, but the idea is to read one book on Catholicism a month. The blog Carrots for Michaelmas put together a whole list with categories that I am going to try to follow. I’m trying to do what I think may be more denser, more time-consuming books prior to baby C’s arrival. This month’s category is a book about Mary, so I’m reading Louis de Montfort’s True Devotion to Mary (which arrived just yesterday…hooray!).

Poach an egg. Categorize this in random, but seriously, I do not know how to do this. I should know how to do this. I want to know how to do this. I will learn how to do this, even if it takes me more cartons of eggs than I expect. My favorite breakfast in the world is eggs benedict and I’m not gong to be able to do it without going out to eat if I do not figure out how to poach some eggs. This is the year, people.

What are your goals for January? For 2019?

 

 

 

 

 

Favorite Reads of 2018

books, reading

We are heading South to Ohio today and will be gone for the next two weeks. Translation? I’ve been running around like a chicken with my head cut off trying to get the house ready to be empty — cleaning out the fridge, doing some last minute laundry, packing, and cleaning, cleaning, and more cleaning. It seems to never end.

I did plenty of reading this year, although I always wish I read more. I like a wide variety of things from nonfiction to history to memoir. Some of my books on my favorite list this year are shared by a lot of people this year, like Jordan Peterson, but others are new discoveries for myself. For example, I never read Patti Smith before.

Anyway, here are the new favorites that I look forward to re-reading again and again in the coming years. Written in the order I read them this year.

This is a Story of a Happy Marriage by Ann Patchett. This collection of essays is near-perfection. I already have a few (the one on writing in particular) I have returned to again and again this year.

The Call of the Wild and White Fang by Jack London. Two for one! Never in my life would I ever expected to love books written from the point of view of dogs, but I love the question of civilization and nature of these books. I love the character of Alaska and its brutal and killing cold.

The Outrun by Amy Liptrot. This was my favorite memoir of the year. Liptrot’s tale of recover in the Orkneys is so vivid in description. I wanted to go and live there in isolation too, bake bread, take cold swims in the sea, and write. I read this book twice and I’m sure next year I will read it again.

M Train by Patti Smith. I loved this ode to a life and love of art and beauty. It is a quiet book, good over a cup of coffee. I think Smith captures well the way certain artists, writers, and musicians touch our lives in such a way that we feel we know them. I think she captures the devotion to art that so many try to live.

How Bad Do You Want It by Matt Fitzgerald. I am not a competitive runner at all. But I think the mental strength and endurance required for competing is similar to that required for graduate school and getting your Ph.D. When I read this book, there was so much I took for just writing my dissertation and handling failure in that realm that I think it is appealing for athletes and non-athletes alike.

Deep Work by Cal Newport. This book is a slap on the face reminder that you probably waste more time on shallow, superficial tasks like messing around on the internet than committing yourself to the deep work necessary to be successful. I’ve changed the way I’ve worked thanks to this book, working my “deep work muscle” when working on my dissertation without distractions for increasing lengths of time. It works. It helps.

Chasing Excellence by Ben Bergeron. Would I be in CrossFit if I did not post this book? This book is great for the same reason Fitzgerald’s is. It seems like it is just for athletes, but you can apply it to so much more.

12 Rules for Life: An Antidote to Chaos by Jordan Peterson. My controversial pick! I loved this book. I took it out from the library, but will buy my own copy soon. Finally, remember the lobster.

The Righteous Mind: Why Good People are Divided Over Politics and Religion by Jonathan Haidt. I recommend this book to anyone who talks about politics, who posts on facebook about politics, who thinks about politics — basically everyone, because we are all political animals, right? But seriously, I strongly believe in humility when it comes to political thought. Haidt makes a strong case for it.

Into the Wild by Jon Krakauer. We started in Alaska and ended there too. I loved the exploration of why people are drawn to the wild. I loved the stories of explorers and adventurers. Like London’s novels, Alaska is also a merciless character. I will not be taking a walk into the Alaskan wilderness anytime soon, if at all.

What books were your favorites this year?

xo, Ali

What I’m Loving Lately IV

books, daily life, food, music, reading

Tomorrow we begin our annual holiday tour. We leave Michigan for Ohio and then will leave Ohio for Connecticut on Sunday. So today I’m finishing up grading, packing, cleaning — all that fun stuff, because after tomorrow it will probably be two weeks before we are home again. I dislike being gone for so long, but it is the best way to get seeing everyone in.

So it is a bit of a full day, but I figured I would share something I’m loving lately.

Watching: It is an old show, but we’ve been watching a lot of Pushing Daisies lately. I like the whimsical fairy tale-mystery-crime of the week vibe. Plus, the lines are so good. We’ve mainly been sticking to comedy shows, because I have not been able to tolerate anything too serious — just stress, you know? Anyway, tis the season for Christmas movies and I had a few firsts. One — I finally watched It’s a Wonderful Life and cried my eyes out at the end. I was so afraid it would not be as good as everyone said it was and it really is that great. Two — I watched Die Hard. Not as good at IAWL, but good in its own way. I’m not usually one for action films, but I liked this one. And finally, we watched the Christmas Chronicles on Netflix and thought it was hilarious. Kurt Russell should always play Santa Claus.

Listening: When I was not running in September and October, I kind of took a break from podcasts. Now, I’m back to them, catching up on Ultrarunner Podcast, Work, Play, Love, and Rich Roll‘s podcast. It feels good to have these voices back in my ears while going for runs. I find that I miss everyone when it has been awhile. I’m kind of in a music rut. I want something new that does not sound new — if that makes any sense. Like, I want to discover an old album or song that I have not listened to in years.

Reading: I’m reading Harry Potter and the Chamber of Secrets. Every year between Thanksgiving and New Year I re-read the whole series. It has been pretty slow-going this year, but I’m sure it will pick up once we get to Connecticut. I tell you what, I still have the same reactions to those books as I did when I was a teen. I cannot put them down. I will sit on the couch all day to get through one of those tomes. I’m still trying to finish the Master and the Margarita by Mikhail Bulgakov and reading Atomic Habits by James Cleary.

Eating: Well, you can see some of what I’ve been eating lately here. I’ve been trying to add more snacks to my daily routine (frankly, it is not working. I’m still hungry). I’ve forgotten how good something simple like hard boiled eggs sprinkled with salt can taste, like amazingly good. Another frequent staple is Montgomery Inn BBQ sauce (I’m addicted). I made this crockpot baked ziti on Sunday and it is so good and easy and has so much potential (like I would add a ton of veggies to it).

What are you loving lately?

xo, Ali

Books to Give to the Runner in your Life

books, running, triathlon

Eighty percent of my Christmas wish list is made up of books. Almost every year my parents ask for what I want for Christmas and I just send them my Amazon wish list, which is approximately a million pages long. I actually try to go through it and get rid of books occasionally.

Anyway – there are a lot of great new running books out this year and I want to read them all. One thing I have noticed about athletic books is that though they seem niche, the advice really is applicable to anything. I found Matt Fitzgerald’s How Bad Do You Want It? It was not only helpful for running, but for writing and finishing my dissertation. Running advice equals life advice.

So here are the running books I would give to a fellow runner (or to be honest, the books I would like to receive this year).

The Happy Runner : Love the Process, Get Faster, Run Longer by David and Megan Roche. Read an excerpt here.

Strong: A Runner’s Guide to Boosting Self-Confidence and Becoming the Best Version of You by Kara Goucher. File this one under a book that will be helpful not only for running, but for life.

The Trail Runner’s Companion: A Step-by-Step Guide to Trail Running and Racing, from 5ks to Ultras by Sarah Lavender Smith. I have not seen many (if any at all) trail running books for those running shorter distances — eventually I would like to run an ultra, but I think it will be another year (hello, baby C!) for that. I want something for trail running for where I’m at now.

North: Finding My Way While Running the Appalachian Trail by Scott and Jenny Jurek. I know. I have not read this yet. It is basically a travesty.

Run Fast. Cook Fast. East Slow.: Quick-Fix Recipes for Hangry Athletes by Shalane Flanagan and Elyse Kopecky. I love the original cook book and probably make something out of it at least once a week. That said, it takes a long time to make the recipes. I’m looking forward to cooking out of this one for hopefully some less time-consuming goodness.

Fast-Track Triathlete: Balancing a Big Life with Big Performance on Long Course Triathlon by Matt Dixon. I loved my first triathlon. It will probably be a long time before I’m able to do a long one (would like to do a few more sprints, before moving onto Olympic, then maybe half-Iron–life is long, right?), but in the meantime I’d like to flip through this book and plan.

What running books are on your Christmas list this year?

xo, Ali