Tuesday, May 29, 2012

Marathon Crasher: The Life and Times of MERRY LEPPER, the First American Woman to Run a Marathon by David Davis


David Davis’s stunning account of how Merry Lepper became the first American woman to complete a marathon
At a time when television was pushing male-dominated sports coverage into living rooms across America, women were struggling just to set foot onto the playing field. Barred from officially registering for long-distance running competitions, some women ran anyway, defying the authorities and the rules. Still, no American woman had ever successfully completed sports' ultimate endurance test: the marathon.
That changed in December of 1963, when Merry Lepper became the first. Leaping out of her hiding place in the bushes at the start of the race, dodging cars and infuriated race officials, Merry Lepper challenged the status quo and defeated it, years before the ban on female competitors would be revoked. This is the story of the arduous journey women distance runners had to endure to reach equality with men, and the story of how one woman overcame tremendous hurdles to fulfill a shared dream, paving the way for generations of female marathon runners to come.
This ebook also includes a 17-page excerpt from Showdown at Shepherd’s Bush, the story of the epic clash at the 1908 Olympic Marathon that jump-started the first marathon mania and heralded the modern age in sports.

My thoughts:
I read this book on NetGalley a couple weekends ago.  The title jumped out at me because I am registered for my first marathon in October, so anything with the word "marathon" in the title grabs me.  In going about our daily lives we often don't think about people who fought to get us the rights we have today. When I was debating whether or not to register for a marathon I never had to factor in if I would be allowed to run in a marathon.  I thought about if I felt I could train and complete that distance, if I would have the time needed to put into training, and how important this goal was for me.  Before 1963 when Merry Lepper ran as a crasher, no woman had completed a marathon.  The reasons given why women were not allowed seem so silly in retrospect, their bodies were too frail to undertake that strain and stress was a leading argument.  So a woman can carry a pregnancy for 9 months and give birth, but is too frail to run 26.2 miles?  Obviously these arguments were put forth by men.

Merry trained with another female friend and they both jumped out of the bushes when the race started and jumped in with the other runners.  Men tried to stop them and tried to get them out of the race, but they kept going.  Unfortunately Merry's friend did not complete the race, a fact that to this day causes her to feel regret, but Merry did.  Her accomplishment barely got her a mention in the news as it was a busy news week.  But today, all the women running can be thankful for her perseverance and dedication to something she felt passionate about.  Merry did not even tell her parents what she planned to do that day, she only said she was going to Hollywood with friends.  The marathon she ran in no longer exists, but the overall number of marathons has increased tremendously.

When I started reading this book I thought it was going to be all about Merry and women's running, but there were long sections about running in general.  One thing I kept thinking as I was reading was that now, in most races I've been in that break down entrants by gender, more women are registering and completing races than men.  Women are making up for lost time and exercising the right they have to use their bodies as they see fit!

Product Details

  • ISBN-13: 9781466817104
  • Publisher: St. Martin's Press
  • Publication date: 6/5/2012
  • Sold by: ST MARTINS / MPS
  • Format: eBook
  • Pages: 32
  • Sales rank: 287,490
  • File size: 1 MB

Monday, May 28, 2012

It's Monday, What are you reading?

So my blogging hiatus is over, I think.  Tomorrow is my last day of work and then I have a three month break for the summer.  On my list for the months off is reorganizing my house and I mean the whole thing.  My clutter has reached unimaginable heights and it is time to do something about it.  I started in my daughter's room today with her.  It looks so much better.  There is still work to do, but we made such a dent and she is so excited about it.  Along with the reorganization, i need to continue with my marathon training.  20 weeks to go!  I was not expecting to have as much trouble with the heat and humidity, but it can only get better.  I also want to start writing again, regularly blog, read tons and enjoy time with my children.  I am ready for the pool days, not thrilled about the bathing suit part of it, but the sun and fun part of it.  I listed all the books from the past that I never reviewed, i don't know if I will get to them all, but this list is more for me so I can see what books are there that I could review.  I have to admit that I caved to the peer pressure at work and read the first 50 Shades of Grey book, I'm still not sure how I feel about the book, but I read it so I would know for myself what everyone else was talking about.  Here are my books:

Currently reading: 
Demonglass by Rachel Hawkings
50 Shades Darker by E.L. James
From the Mixed Up Files of Mrs. Basil E. Frankweiler (I don't know why we haven't finished this one yet!)
Empire Falls by Richard Russo

Finished by not reviewed:
Hana by Lauren Oliver
I've Got Your Number by Sophie Kinsella
Heaven is for Real by Todd Burpo
Matched by Ally Condi
Judy Moody Saves the World by Megan McDonald
Judy Moody the M.D. Is in by Megan McDonald
Judy Moody Goes to College by Megan McDonald
Tuck Everlasting by Natalie Babbit
Stink and the Super-Galactic Jaw Breaker by Megan McDonald
Stink: Solar System Super Hero by Megan McDonald
Stink and the World's Worst Super Smelly Sneakers by Megan McDonald
Stink and the Great Guinea Pig Express by Megan McDonald
A Wrinkle in Time by Madeline L'engle (audio car)
A Wind in the Door by Madeline L'Engle

Highlander for the Holidays by Janet Chapman


After a brutal attack, Jessie Pringle moved to the small mountain town of Pine Creek, Maine, to start over. But she never expected to meet Ian MacKeage, who had seemingly stepped right out of the Scottish Highlands. As drawn to Ian as he is to her, Jessie finds it more and more difficult to deny her own desires...
Then, on one of her long walks through the wilderness, she meets a kindly hermit who sells her a walking stick-one imbued with a magic that may allow Jessie to finally be rid of the pain of her past, and build a future with Ian.

My thoughts:
I am now starting to get caught up with all the books I read while I wasn't getting around to posting.  They should keep me busy for quite awhile!  I read this one last month and loved it.  I remember quite a few winters ago, long before I had discovered blogging, I read book 2 of Chapman's Highlander series and loved it.  I went back and bought book 1 and then read all the others either then or as they came out.  I love her writing and of course, though strong Highlanders who want to protect the object of their affection, while also being both gentle and passionate, just the right mix for a romance!  I got this book as a swap on Paperbackswap earlier this year.  I have since sent it along to another reader so someone else can enjoy it.

I enjoyed Jessie, I guessed at one of the points from her past that was holding her back from recovering, but I don't think that it detracted from the story at all.  Having her move so many miles from where the attack occurred and putting her in a situation where she got to be strong and self-reliant let her heal in a way I don't think she ever would have had she stayed in Atlanta.  Going someplace new can let you be someone else and shed some of the preconceived notions people who already know you may have. 

I must admit I had a bit of trouble placing Ian, figuring out whose son he was as I read the other books so long ago.  i actually decided for the beginning bit that it just didn't matter and then at one point it clicked.  I think even without already knowing this whole clan a reader could pick up the book and jump right in.  The magic jumps out and shows itself pretty well that no one is going to be too thrown off.  I wish I had made the time to read this at Christmas time, but now that the hot weather has hit again maybe it is just as well.  I could have waited and read myself cool!

Product Details

  • ISBN-13: 9780515150087
  • Publisher: Penguin Group (USA) Incorporated
  • Publication date: 10/25/2011
  • Format: Mass Market Paperback
  • Pages: 352

Sunday, May 27, 2012

Lies Chelsea Handler Told Me by Chelsea's Family, Friends and Other Victims


"My tendency to make up stories and lie compulsively for the sake of my own amusement takes up a good portion of my day and provides me with a peace of mind not easily attainable in this economic climate."--Chelsea Handler, from Chapter 10 of Chelsea Chelsea Bang Bang

It's no lie: Chelsea Handler loves to smoke out "dumbassness," the condition people suffer from that allows them to fall prey to her brand of complete and utter nonsense. Friends, family, co-workers--they've all been tricked by Chelsea into believing stories of total foolishness and into behaving like total fools. Luckily, they've lived to tell the tales and, for the very first time, write about them.

My thoughts:
Here is my first confession, I didn't read the description well enough and actually thought I was ordering a new book by Chelsea.  I know it is very clear that it is not written by her, but I was placing a quick Amazon order and needed to have $25 to get the free super saver shipping, so I added a book from my wish list not really paying attention to it as I should have.  It turned out to be a funny book and I enjoyed it, but it was just another reminder that, even though I love to read, I need to make sure I am reading the fine print.  I would hate to miss something more important than the author of a book!  (Actually, yesterday i went to the store because I really wanted ice cream cake.  It was hot, I'd run 10 miles and felt like I could splurge on it.  My daughter and I ran in quick, I shopped by price in the supermarket case, paid and left.  We got home and I discovered that the cake that was least expensive was only half ice cream, the other part was actually vanilla cake.  Since the chocolate ice cream part is the part I like least and was the only part I got I was really disappointed.  The universe is telling me to start reading the whole cover or package before I make a decision.  Recommendation is now noted!)

So, the book, since that was the point of the post.  There are thirteen chapters.  11 by friends or family, one by Chunk who is Chelsea's dog, and one of funny emails she has gotten from the censoring department about what needs to be changed in an episode of Chelsea Lately before it can be aired.  Obvious words to be bleeped and discussion points that are inappropriate.  Different friends have been lied to in big and small ways, from Chelsea pretending to be pregnant with more than one of them, to friends moving in with her, to people being sex addicts or amazing winners at betting.  I have to admit that I am a tad gullible, so if I were a friend of Chelsea she would probably get me every time with her lies.  I would be the one thinking out her whole pregnancy ahead of time or worrying for her about this or that.

So what I learned from this book, if you ever become a friend or staffer of Chelsea Handler do not leave your computer on and unlocked when you leave your office or she will send an email to someone from it with some kind of big lie in it like, you just realized you are gay, you are very attracted to someone else, or something equally embarrassing.  Be careful taking medicine from someone else's house, just because the label says one thing, what is in the bottle might be something else.  And lastly, have fun with life.  It is more fun to laugh than to cry!

Product Details

  • ISBN-13: 9781455504657
  • Publisher: Grand Central Publishing
  • Publication date: 5/10/2011
  • Sold by: Hachette Digital, Inc.
  • Format: eBook
  • Pages: 304

Monday, May 21, 2012

One More Week!

I have been so bogged down lately that I have been having  a hard time making time to post anything on my blog.  One of the things on my plate is my job as a preschool teacher.  There is only one more week of the current school year, which is hard for me to believe.  Every year it feels like it goes so slowly at the beginning and then end is so far off, and then all of a sudden the days are in the single digits and there is so much I still want to have the time to do.  This year is no different, but as of a week from right now I will be done for the summer.  I can hear the song in my head, "Schools out for summer...".  It is a nice feeling.  There are a lot of things at home that are in need of attention, so until my older children get done with school I plan on devoting some much needed attention to organization and cleaning and such.  I have such high hopes every summer, but you have to start somewhere.  Hopefully between the organizing and cleaning, running and reading, and filling the days for the kids with the right mix of free time, structured time and learning time, I will make my way back to posting.  I've been reading all along, so I have a nice long list of books I can review when I make the time!

Wednesday, May 9, 2012

Hex Hall (Hex Hall Series #1) by Rachel Hawkins


Three years ago, Sophie Mercer discovered that she was a witch. It's gotten her into a few scrapes. Her non-gifted mother has been as supportive as possible, consulting Sophie's estranged father-an elusive European warlock-only when necessary. But when Sophie attracts too much human attention for a prom-night spell gone horribly wrong, it's her dad who decides her punishment: exile to Hex Hall, an isolated reform school for wayward Prodigium, a.k.a. witches, faeries, and shapeshifters.

By the end of her first day among fellow freak-teens, Sophie has quite a scorecard: three powerful enemies who look like supermodels, a futile crush on a gorgeous warlock, a creepy tagalong ghost, and a new roommate who happens to be the most hated person and only vampire on campus. Worse, Sophie soon learns that a mysterious predator has been attacking students, and her only friend is the number-one suspect.

As a series of blood-curdling mysteries starts to converge, Sophie prepares for the biggest threat of all: an ancient secret society determined to destroy all Prodigium, especially her.
My thoughts:
This was on my TBR list for awhile and I had it on my wishlist on paperbackswap.com.  I had my turn a couple weeks ago.  This was a really enjoyable read.  I actually have book two waiting on my Kindle now as a Mother's Day gift.  It is waiting until I finish a few of my current reads so I can get it started.

I liked Sophie and the magical world she lives in.  She reminded me a bit of Rachel Morgan in Kim Harrison's series.  A witch who gets into trouble with her powers even when she is trying to do the right thing.  It also called to mind Jenifer Estep's YA series about the boarding school.  Imagine how hard it is to fit in when you are dealing, not only with the normal teenage angst, but also some added in powers and issues and friction from other types of witches and other supernaturals?

Sophie was a real seeming character, it was easy to see her as a flesh and blood person.  It was a little harder with the supermodel looking witches who try to get her to join their coven, they seemed a bit more cookie cutter like, but still believable as a clique you might meet in high school.  I am really looking forward to jumping into the next book!

Product Details

  • ISBN-13: 9781423121398
  • Publisher: Hyperion Books for Children
  • Publication date: 2/1/2011
  • Pages: 352

Tuesday, May 8, 2012

The Nonrunner's Marathon Guide for Women: Get Off Your Butt and On with Your Training by Dawn Dias

Description from Amazon.com:
Dawn Dais hated running. And it didn't like her much, either. Her fitness routine consisted of avoiding the stairs in her own house, because who really has the energy to climb stairs? It was with this exercise philosophy firmly in place that she set off to complete a marathon.

The Nonrunner’s Marathon Guide for Women is a fun training manual for women who don't believe that running is their biological destiny but who dream of crossing the finish line nonetheless. It opens with a realistic training schedule and is chock-full of how-to's, quizzes, and funny observations, which Dais felt were lacking in the guides she had consulted.

The Nonrunner’s Marathon Guide for Women also integrates entries from Dias' journal, sharing everything would-be marathoners need to know about the gear, the blisters, the early morning workouts, the late-night carb binges, and — most important of all — the amazing rewards.
Anyone can do a marathon. This book just makes the experience a little more bearable and a lot more fun.

My thoughts:
I bought this book as part of my own Mother's Day gift.  Even though I have been running for nine months, I still have a hard time seeing myself as a runner.  I've done races, most recently a half marathon and registered for a full marathon for fall, but I felt like I needed something to motivate and encourage me.  This book did.  Dawn started running with the goal of running a marathon.  She trained for four or five months and completed her marathon, albeit with some walking.  Her writing is funny and encouraging at the same time.  I do not think that I would aim for a marathon without having some running experience first, but many people do and a lot of it is in your head and in your preparation.  If she could go from the couch to 26.2, there is no reason i can't get from my current long distance of 13.1 to 26.2 in five months.

I did get a little tired of her going on about losing her knee caps, what does that even mean?  I understand aches and pains, I've had those, but I never described it as losing a body part.  One thing that is going to stay in my head is her quote, that I should look up to make sure it is accurate, that Oprah finished a marathon in 4:30.  That was my goal based on my half marathon time.  I feel like if Oprah could do it, then I should too, and I know going into the my first time I should just focus on finishing and feel good.  Any time with be a PR and I can focus on getting faster in the future, but the competitive part of me wants to finish it strong and with a good time for me.

This book was good at putting the journey in perspective in a humorous way and has, for now at least, motivated me to start journaling on my other blog about the experience.  You can check out my latest thoughts on running here.

Product Details

  • Paperback: 256 pages
  • Publisher: Seal Press; 1 edition (January 3, 2007)
  • Language: English
  • ISBN-10: 1580052053
  • ISBN-13: 978-1580052054