Book Review | Hal Koerner’s Field Guide to Ultrarunning: Training for an Ultramarathon from 50K to 100 Miles and Beyond

hal koerner's field guide to ultra running book cover.jpgChances are that if you’ve signed up for your first ultra-marathon, you’re likely heading into unknown territory. Hal Koerner’s Field Guide to Ultrarunning will help with some of the fundamental aspects of training and provide background knowledge that will be helpful on your journey. From fueling and hydration, to gear and self care, Koerner shares his accumulated wisdom in this straight-forward and casual text. Detailed training plans are also included that spell out daily mileage and when to incorporate certain specific types of runs.

This book serves as an excellent introduction to the topic of ultra-marathon training. It is well written and organized, providing a very accessible set of tips and training advice. Short anecdotes are interwoven in a way that allows the text to flow seamlessly. Section and chapter breaks are of appropriate length for the book to easily be picked up and put down. Highly recommended for those interested in taking on their first ultra, or those who may be jumping from one distance to a significantly greater one. Check it out from a library near you.

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Book Review | Dear Heartbreak: YA Authors and Teens on the Dark Side of Love

Dear Heartbreak- YA Authors and Teens on the Dark Side of Love book cover.jpgTo be released on Tuesday, Dear Heartbreak is a collection of letters written by teens concerning their heartbreak struggles and the corresponding responses from YA authors. The authors provide encouragement, life tips and personal anecdotes to address the teens’ issues. Topics dealt with include loneliness, self confidence, disability, assault, depression, termination of a relationship, lack of a relationship and self love, among others. Clearly some letters and responses will be more relatable to readers experiencing those specific issue. As each letter response comes from a different YA author, this book could also provide solid future reading suggestions based on the discovery of these new (to the reader) authors.

Though not quite yet published, check to see if a library near you has ordered this title, and if you can place a hold on a new copy.

I received an advance reader’s edition of this book as a Goodreads giveaway in exchange for an honest review. Thanks to the author/publisher for participating in the giveaway.

For further reading, young adults dealing with stress or troubling situations may appreciate the insights offered in Be Mindful and Stress Less: 50 Ways to Deal with Your (Crazy) Life by Gina Biegal (2018).

Book Review | Sometimes Sneezing Hurts: The Journal of a Divorced Bachelor by C. Sleek

sometimes sneezing hurts.jpgWritten in diary form, Sometimes Sneezing Hurts reveals Sleek’s dating life as he approaches his 40th birthday. As a divorced bachelor he shares custody of his 12 year old daughter, works a 9-5 job with side gigs, and still finds plenty of time to match with chicks on Tinder while banging a string of them. Readers who shuttered at that last sentence won’t be able to handle this book.

The story is interesting from the beginning, but after a while it drags a bit. It’s a little challenging to keep the seemingly endless string of females straight. Some readers will be captivated by hearing what goes on inside the mind of a male serial dater, while others may just be put off. Certain people may also be able to gain something from the author’s shared experiences. The edition I read would have benefited from an editor catching a couple of textual errors.

I received a Kindle ebook edition of this book as a Goodreads giveaway in exchange for an honest review. Thanks to the author/publisher for participating in the giveaway. *Fans of Sometimes Sneezing Hurts may be interested in We’ll Sleep When We’re Old by Pino Corrias (2017). 

Book Review | Mindfulness for the Mindless by John Burley

Mindfulness for the Mindless cover.jpgAs mindfulness becomes more popular, introductory texts such as this one are quite advantageous. Mindfulness for the Mindless in particular is an accessible read for all audiences, written in a casual style. Burley’s goal of sharing a summation of what he has learned about the definition and practice of mindfulness is clearly attained within this quick read. Readers will gain an understanding of what being mindful means, how mindfulness may benefit them, and further, brief introductions to several forms of meditation. Burley includes an extensive list of further reading, which could be helpful for those wanting to pursue additional specific topics. Perhaps I received an early edition, but my copy was in need of a good editing. There were a few repetitions and grammatical errors that may have been fixed in later editions. At present, only one library reports holdings for this text.

I received an ebook version as a Goodreads giveaway in exchange for an honest review. Thanks to the author/publisher for participating in the giveaway.

For further reading, adults dealing with or overcoming trauma may appreciate the insights offered in To Lose the Madness : Field Notes on Trauma, Loss and Radical Authenticity by L.M. Browning (2018).

Book Review | Be Mindful and Stress Less: 50 Ways to Deal with Your (Crazy) Life by Gina Biegel

be mindfull stress less cover This little book is packed full of tips and tactics aimed at a YA audience for being mindful and stressing less. The book’s tips are certainly helpful and it offers an accessible introduction to mindfulness that would be applicable to readers of any age. While the chapters are very short, making the book easy to pick up or put down, as a whole it may be a bit more of an undertaking for a teen than the author intended. Lots of acronyms are included that list out processes for dealing with certain situations, but it could be hard to keep them all straight. Likely, this book could be used as a type of handbook to be referenced in various stressful situations. A helpful appendix also spells out a list of which processes may be helpful to individuals “actively working with a disability” (p.199). Check it out from a library near you.

I received a copy of this book as a Goodreads giveaway in exchange for an honest review. Thanks to the author/publisher for participating in the giveaway.

For further reading, adults dealing with or overcoming trauma may appreciate the insights offered in To Lose the Madness : Field Notes on Trauma, Loss and Radical Authenticity by L.M. Browning (2018).

Book Review | So Happiness to Meet You: Foolishly, Blissfully Stranded in Vietnam by Karin Esterhammer

so happiness to meet you cover.jpgAfter the recession hits their Los Angeles family hard, Karin, Robin and their adopted son Kai move to Ho Chi Minh City, Vietnam. Though they’ve touristed there before, the story of becoming residents in a district where they are the only non-natives is eye-opening. While Robin is able to secure a job teaching English, Karin is left to home school Kai, do freelance work and take care of their home while befriending the neighbors.

Esterhammer’s background in writing makes this book a delightful read. Feelings, humor and challenging situations are shared with great insight and tact. The memoir is a very entertaining and quick read, with frequent chapter breaks, making it easy to pick up and put down. It would be especially appealing to those who love to travel and/or experience other cultures. Check it out from a library near you.

I received a copy of this book as a Goodreads giveaway in exchange for an honest review. Thanks to the author/publisher for participating in the giveaway. *Fans of So Happiness to Meet You: Foolishly, Blissfully Stranded in Vietnam may be interested in Songs of the Baka and Other Discoveries by Dennis James (2017). 

Book Review | To Lose the Madness : Field Notes on Trauma, Loss and Radical Authenticity by L.M. Browning

to lose the madness cover.jpgIncorporating beautiful photographs from her travels to the Southwest, Browning’s mini-memoir focuses on her experience with post traumatic stress disorder. To Lose the Madness reveals events that led up to Browning’s breaking point and discusses ways she tried to work through her trauma, ultimately explaining what it all meant to her. Without asking for sympathy, this account lays undergone hardships bare for the reader in a manner the author terms “radical authenticity”.

More of an essay, this memoir reveals a very personal struggle. It conveys the idea that not all trauma can be worked through or simply left behind. Browning stresses the importance of being able to carry one’s trauma with grace. Readers who have experienced similar losses or attempted to overcome their own mental health issues will certainly be able to relate to many of the passages in this text. It is a well-written, thought-provoking, quick read. Check it out from a library near you.

I received a copy of this book as a Goodreads giveaway in exchange for an honest review. Thanks to the author/publisher for participating in the giveaway.