Friday, November 30, 2007
Friday November 30, 2007
This run was kinda crazy. When I ran past the bank downtown, the sign said it was 3 degrees out at 7am, and by time I'd finished the run, it was...6 degrees. Yeah, nice and balmy. The Pumas were awesome on this run. They are beautifully low-profile but still have solid snow/ice-gripping lugs, too.
Anyways, I started out feeling awesome and cruised down to the nice Story Hills area. It's a shame that all of this is kept private land so that a few zillionaires can just erect mansions up there---hopefully more trails can be created in the future. I continued (illegally) on up to Beacon Hill and then descended cross-country (it felt like I was just floating through the deep powder on the northern slope) down to the Fish Hatchery by the M Trailhead parking lot. Running the 15 minutes up to the college M was totally worth the majestic scenery of Bozeman in the valley and the Spanish Peaks, Bitter Root (or is it Tobacco Root) Range, and the Gallatin Group off to the west and south.
After cruising back down to the highway my legs were starting to feel a little wobbly, but I figured, hey, it's all downhill back to town. By time I arrived back at the Story Mill Spur trail (about 3 miles from home) though, I was complete toast. I'd been running for about 2:10, but I wasn't experiencing the typical dead-legs, grunt-groan sensations. Instead, my vision was swimming, I was seeing colors, my entire body was weak, and I was having a hard time even staying on my feet. All I wanted to do was just sit down in the snow. So, I did.
Then, I got up and started walking, which was barely better than running. Once I made it into town I tried to thumb a ride, but to no avail. Finally, about a mile and a half from home I started feeling a tiny bit better and broke into a stumbling jog the rest of the way back to my house. After a huge mug of tea and a little food I was feeling back to normal, but I'm still not sure what happened---lack of calories? That seems the most likely culprit, but man, was that rough.
All in all, though, this run was HUGE. I'm a runner again, and it's great. My ankle/foot was barely sore for the run and is still fine this evening--very positive progress. From here on out, it will be more a matter of me being smart and not ramping up the training too quickly in preparation for Rocky Raccoon. But, now I feel strongly that I can go into that race in top condition. Let's hope so.
Thursday, November 29, 2007
Thursday November 29, 2007
This was a great run. I actually felt pretty tired physically most of the run, but my left ankle/foot was in good shape. The foot itself actually never hurt, which is a big improvement from yesterday, and the ankle was very cooperative too, although I could still feel some pain in there now and again.
I woke up this morning to an inch or so of new powder with it still dumping out of the sky. I love runs in new powder. All sounds are muffled, the air is usually very still (and not too cold--lower 20s this morning), and the snow provides a wonderfully cushiony surface. This time, it even added a little traction to all the ice that's around here (even though it hid the ice, I was able to stay on my feet for the whole run).
Running down in the Gallatin Rec Area is great. There's a nice trail loop that winds through some really dense trees, and then there's another loop around a small lake (home to the Bozeman Beach in the warmer months). The trails there also connect to the Cherry Creek River Access area which has a nice big loop (1.5 miles or so) through a wetlands area.
Even though I've definitely made my peace with wintertime now, I'm still excited to be getting back to Colorado Springs in a couple of weeks.
Wednesday, November 28, 2007
Wednesday November 28, 2007
I felt pretty decent on this run--I'm betting that tomorrow will be the first run that I feel like a "real runner" again. Wearing the Slingshots seemed to help a lot with gripping the snow and ice that is everywhere, mostly because the tread on the bottom is fairly fresh and the forefoot has a broader base than the Inov-8's so there is more contact with the ground. My ankle/foot was sore a little bit again. It's hard to say whether it was worse than yesterday or not. It was very comforting to see that the foot didn't get any worse in the course of the run. I iced my whole foot/ankle in a cooler of ice again, and wow, is that rough; sometimes I wonder if maybe I'm risking frostbite, but it seems to really help with keeping the foot happy.
This particular trail is a real gem as far as urban trails go. Within four minutes of my front doorstep I can be running virtually exclusively on dirt (well, I would be able to if there wasn't snow and ice on everything) for basically five miles south out of town. The Painted Hills Trail itself is only about 1.5 miles long or so, but it's all tiny, winding singletrack along a drainage that goes through the Painted Hills subdivision. The Gallatin Valley Land Trust deserves big kudos for getting trails like this established. Right now there is about 600 meters of private land that is preventing the Painted Hills Trail from connecting all the way to the Gallatin Mountains south of town (via the equally nice, singletrack Triple Tree Trail)---hopefully whoever will wake up and realize that a couple yard swath of right-of-way to allow the trail to connect across their pasture really isn't a big deal.
Tuesday, November 27, 2007
Tuesday November 27, 2007
Another solid comeback run. It was a real winter run today; lots of wind and blowing snow and the temp was no higher than 20 degrees. This run is ever-so-slightly uphill on the way back and thus, ever-s0-slightly downhill on the way back, which makes for typically feeling a lot better the second half.
I didn't feel great physically today, but my ankle was mostly fine. Yesterday it was completely pain-free, but today I could feel just the tiniest little murmurings of acheing in there. However, it never got any worse over the course of the run, so I was happy with how things went. I iced my entire foot/ankle in a cooler full of snow/ice water for 20 minutes right after the run, and my ankle never gave me any trouble the rest of the day. Hopefully I can keep it manageable and keep getting in solid runs.
Today in the lab I was finally able to cut a couple of my rock core samples so that hopefully we can get them all sent off to be cut into thin-sections by the end of the semester. Figuring out how to cut a "horizontal" slice out of each of these 1-inch cores of quartz has been the problem-solving lesson of the semester for me. When each core was drilled, the drill wasn't necessarily directly perpendicular to the surface of the rock face it was drilling into, so, for the thin-sections (a 30 micron slice of rock glued to a glass plate and looked at under a petrographic microscope. For reference, a human hair is about 70 microns thick) we want a slice of the core that would be in a plane parallel to the surface of the rock that it was taken from.
This has proven to be a much more "tinkering-intensive" procedure than we'd planned. After having to engineer (and construct, in the machine shop) a new attachment for the slow-speed rock-saw arm, extend the samples with several different epoxy molds, make my own molds out of PVC pipe, etc., etc., etc. it finally seems that I'm getting close to getting them all cut. As my advisor, Colin, said today: "Geez, I guess it would've been a lot easier if we'd just drilled the samples vertically this summer..." I guess so.
Monday, November 26, 2007
Monday November 26, 2007
Good god, I might finally be healthy. This run was the first real run I've had since August that was completely pain-free injury-wise. It was pretty cold (20s) but sunny, and I was tired and ready to be done by the end. Added-on a few minutes on the Gallagator trail to make it the full hour. After taking the past week+ completely off, I'm really really happy that the rest seems to have helped.
It is straight-up wintertime here in Bozeman. The trails here--along with everything else--are completely covered in snow and ice. A week ago I drove to Colorado Springs to visit Jocelyn for Thanksgiving, and the first four hours of driving on the interstate over to Billings were horrendous. It was dumping snow and I never went faster than 40mph the entire way. Other than a run-in with the fuzz in Castle Rock, CO at 2am (speeding; then proceeded to have my entire car searched for drugs...I'm a suspicious-looking suspect, I know, but geez, give me a break) the rest of the drive to CO Springs was clear sailing. So, that means that the snow/ice in Bozeman has been here the entire past week and I'd be willing t0 bet it doesn't disappear until April.
I'm making a big switch in jobs/locations after the first of the year, and the weather here in Bozeman might be just enough to make me move back to the Springs and work for the Colorado Running Company...but that's a whole 'nother issue. But, it can't be denied that, even though it was chilly for most of the week in Colorado, there was only a light dusting of snow and yesterday I could've been running shirtless. Not to mention the fact that even the trails in the mountains up to 14,000' are, for all intents and purposes, still snow-free. Call me a wuss, but at a time in my life when I have little to no responsibilities and a high amount of mobility I'm really not willing to suffer through Montana winters when there are other obvious, more favorable options...
Sunday, November 18, 2007
11/12-11/18 Week Log
Total: 19mi (2:33)
I don't even want to talk about how frustrated I am after this week. My left ankle/foot/what-the-hell-ever is sure being stubborn. (Of course, when I look at the past week in such stark numbers as this, I sure feel stupid---why would I go on such long runs when I'm hurt?)
I'm probably going to take the entire next week off, though, because I'm traveling back to Colorado for Thanksgiving (and completely neglecting schoolwork) and spending time with Jocelyn is a good distractionary tactic to take my mind off my foot and general injury woes.
Sorry Paul, no CRUD for me this Thursday, but I really miss the view of the city at 6:30am from High Drive; it's REALLY tough to beat the running in the Pikes Peak area.
Mountain Masochist 50 mile
This was the Masochist's 25th running and (ostensibly) the last one with Mr. Horton at its helm. This is a race that I would love to run some day, but it's swiftly filling ways make it hard for me to plan for---I hate signing up for a race and then having to back out because of an injury. This year, while certainly still full of great runners, seemed to lack some of the depth it's attracted in the past with several "West Coast" (and, by West Coast, I really mean any ultrarunners living between the Rocky Mountains and the Pacific Coast) runners conspicuously absent. Zach Miller and Eric Grossman looked to have waged an epic duel with both posting quick times, but failing to breach the sub-7hr threshold. Rumor is that Miller was able to gain entry from Horton as late as October by promising that he would finish in the top two---that takes balls, especially since he delivered by improving on his former best finish at the Masochist (2nd). I must also mention that Nikki continued to run brilliantly even though she was significantly off her game because of a recent freak injury.
Grand Canyon Rim-to-Rim-to-Rim
Dave Mackey threw down a huge time while traversing the Big Ditch a week ago: 6:59:57. Getting under 7hr is especially notable, but even more impressive is that he was a full 37 minutes under Kyle's year-old record of 7:36:59. However, it must be noted that Kyle's record was set while having to cross the Colorado River on the Bright Angel Bridge (probably a solid mile out-of-the-way each direction) because the South Kaibab Bridge was under construction. Even so, it's reported that Dave was slowed by a mule train more than once (losing an estimated 12 minutes?), so it's obvious the record can go even lower. I'm really looking forward to taking a crack at this sometime next year, preferably with the Brothers Skaggs along for company.
JFK 50 mile
There was an absolutely stacked field for JFK this year (also, the biggest ultra in the country at over 1300 runners!). Ubiquitous marathoner Michael Wardian was back for another shot after blowing up at this race a couple of years ago, but he was running on tired legs with the Olympic Marathon Trials (2:30:xx) and the Outer Banks Marathon (2:24:xx) on the two previous weekends. Well, Michael got it right this time around and cruised an impressive 5:50:34--only 4 minutes off of Eric Clifton's venerable 5:46:24 course record (that has withstood assaults by such luminaries as Dave Mackey, Chad Ricklefs, Howard Nippert, and now, Greg Crowther.) Zach Miller notched another impressive result with a 6:04 in second place, Mark Lundblad continued to show impressive form (after his Tussey mOUnTaiN BACK 50 victory earlier in the fall) with a 6:09 in 4th place, and Eric Grossman ran 6:20 for 5th, completing the same double as Miller. Defending champ Pete Breckinridge was relegated to 7th, and Crowther struggled home in 10th, only a minute ahead of women's champ Ann Lundblad--Mark's wife. I've heard murmurings that Wardian is thinking of doing a 100 miler (although, I think he's already competed in a 24hr race and maybe the Old Dominion 100...), and I hope he does; he's exactly the kind of talent that ultra running needs.
Ultracentric 24 Hour Championships
I think Akos Konya is the most overlooked contender in this year's UROTY rankings (at least on the men's side). He just won this race this weekend with146.25 miles, which was only 1 mile ahead of women's winner Connie Gardner (who also won the Javelina Jundred less than a month ago...very impressive). However, Akos' results this year, off the top of my head, have been very very good:
--2nd to Jorge Pacheco (losing by only 4 minutes) at the Avalon 50 in 6:27 on Catalina Island back in January
--2nd to myself at the Rocky Raccoon 100 in Febuary in 14:51 (only 6 minutes ahead of Jenn Shelton)
--2nd at Badwater in a very fast sub-24 hrs (beaten only by the venerable Valmir Nunes' new course record.)
--1st at the Lean Horse 100 in a course record 15:34
--and now, 146 miles in the 24hr National Championships.
I'm sure I'm missing some of his other performances, but I think these alone are impressive enough to make my point.
Now, the only major events that I can think of are the The North Face 50 showdown (highly anticipated with Uli Steidl and Matt Carpenter going head to head), the Sunmart 5o mile, and the Across The Years races (where, even though Scott Jurek has now withdrawn, Paul Dewitt should be taking a very solid shot (see his recent 14:26 CR at the Heartland 100) at the 24hr American Record). Should be exciting!
Friday, November 16, 2007
Friday November 16, 2007
It was raining when I started this morning at 7:00am, but it stopped after a while and the rest of the run was balmy and in the 40s. The Story Hills are a great place close to town for up to 2 hour runs or so. From my house I have to run about a mile and a half on pavement through town to get to a trail that then leads up into the Stories, which are kind of the foothills for the north end of the Bridger Mountains. Unfortunately, it seems that most of the Stories are private land, but there are some public trails which are basically cowpaths (it is a pasture, afterall), but there's lots of good exploring to be had out there. The trail was really sloppy today...melting snow and mud.
My foot was about the same as yesterday--not really better, not really worse. I wish I didn't have to run so much pavement to get to the trails; I'm thinking about getting a pair of nice cushioned road flats for that reason. I just wish Sportiva would make some of the Skylite's already (their new-for-'08 lightweight shoe)! I was really tired by the end of the run, though. I'm just out of shape.
Thursday, November 15, 2007
Thursday November 15, 2007
This is the best run I've had since I broke my foot. I took the last 3 days off because my ankle was pretty upset about not being in a boot anymore, but it seems to slowly be getting better and adapting to the running again. I did take some ibuprofen before this run, which is extremely rare for me, but I had this exact kind of pain a couple of years ago and was able to run through it in less than a month with a little ibuprofen. We'll see how everything feels once the pills wear off. But, on the run itself, the ankle felt pretty darn good. It didn't get worse throughout the run, but there was definitely some pain in there every now and then. Just gotta keep up the strengthening exercises.
The Sourdough Trail is pretty great. I can get on Gallagator within 4 minutes of my front door and then take that south up to Sourdough which goes all the way south to Goldstein Rd (where I turned around this morning). From there it's still about another 2.5-3 miles (on roads, unfortunately) to the mountains (i.e. Bozeman Creek Canyon), which is one of the few mountain trails that's relatively packed down in the wintertime here. I just hate driving to trailheads, so I'm always looking for the best ways to run to them. In Colorado Springs, if you live near CC or the downtown area you can take trails all the way to the mountains or Garden of the Gods---that's such a privelege, especially in a city of that size.
Speaking of winter, it's already here in Bozeman, which is pretty disappointing for me, but what I expected. This morning, every trail was very slick packed snow and ice; the trails don't get like that in Colorado Springs until January/February usually, and when they do it's only for a couple days, maybe a couple of weeks, at a time. It just seems like now that's it's cold here (lows in the upper teens), the trails are going to stay like this until April. I probably could've gone running shirtless in the Springs today.
I still am not quite sure what I'm going to be doing or where I'm going to be after the first of the year, but seeing the early season condition of the trails here is a pretty big motivator to be elsewhere for the winter...
Sunday, November 11, 2007
Sunday November 11, 2007
This is the first run I've actually felt like a runner. In the past two months I knew there was going to be a day when I would wake up and just know that the foot was healed...well, it was finally that day. I did about 10min of barefoot at the end and that even felt good. The Sundance and Sourdough trails are some really nice urban trails on the south side of town; they kind of wind through some nice wooded areas in between the suburban sprawl south of Kagy Blvd.
The only negative about this run was that my left ankle is definitely kind of jacked up in some way. I guess it's just really not happy about having spent the past 2+ months in a boot. I'm just going to play it by ear, but this is one of those rare injuries that I'll probably take ibuprofen for and just keep running on it. I'm usually not a proponent of that at all (or, really, taking any kind of pills), but I had this same exact issue a couple years ago and after about a month of eating ibuprofen and continuing to run on it, it eventually went away all by itself.
There's really nothing that urgent to prepare for (last time I was in the middle of XC season), so I'll be a little kinder to it, but I'm not incredibly worried about it yet.
W- 2mi (16min)
Total: 17.5miles (2h21)
CC XC--Nationals Bound!!
Speaking of XC: yesterday Colorado College's teams competed at the West Regional in Portland, OR and both the men's and women's teams finished 3rd, which earned them at-large bids to the National's Meet next weekend at St. Olaf College in Northfield Minnesota. On the men's side, Boggs, Alex, and Kiran went 2-3-6 w/ both Boggs and Alex sub-25 (last year they went 1-4-5). This was after sweeping 1-2-3 at the conference meet for the second year in a row (and winning the team title). We definitely have one of the strongest top 3 in the country, but our 4th and 5th men are over a minute back.
On the women's side, Jocelyn led the way with a 12th place finish in a PR 22:46--snatching the last individual qualifying spot--but luckily the girls also received an at-large bid today. I think the girls will actually do better at Nationals than the guys because they have a much tighter pack (about a minute, 1-5) than the men (a little over 2 minutes, 1-5), which will hurt the guys A LOT more at a big, deep race like nationals. Anyways, it's awesome to have both teams going--unfortunately it'll probably be the last time that happens for a LONG time as both teams are made up of basically all seniors.
Saturday, November 10, 2007
Saturday November 10, 2007
This was a weird run. Ran over to Peets Hill and then took the nice little singletrack spur down to Church street and then back to the house. It's the first run I've done that wasn't exclusively grass, and I could tell. I'm pretty positive now that my stress fracture is healthy and ready to be really run on, but my left foot sure was protesting in other ways today. Just lots of general acheing in the outer metatarsals/ankle and even some sharp pains. By the end of the run I was definitely a little bit worried, but I think it's going to be OK.
This same exact sort of thing happened to me two years ago. I took five weeks or so off for a stress reaction in my left foot and when I started back up the reaction was fine but my ankle/plantar fascia ended up causing some problems for a while. I hope it's all just part of getting back into it.
After some breakfast I drove up to the M trailhead (felt guilty about that) and hiked to the top of the peak just south of Baldy and back in about 3 hours with plenty of view-gazing at the stunning Absarokas over in Paradise Valley, the Gallatins, and the Spanish Peaks. There are so many mountains around here---Bozeman would be a great place to be in the summer time. But, then I think, if I'm going to pick where I get to be in the summer I would absolutely pick the San Juans or Upper Arkansas River Valley in Colorado before Montana; mostly because of the higher altitude in Colorado. I'm such an altitude snob anymore when it comes to running. I remember commenting to Kyle this summer that it didn't seem like I was really training if I was under 5000' elevation. Obviously, that's not true.
Anyhow, the hike was very positive for the metatarsal, but not so positive for the ankle thing going on in that foot. I think the stress fracture is definitely healed. Oh well, I guess I'll just have to wait and see how it all plays out. Either way, I think I'm going to go back to the grass surface for tomorrow's run.
Friday, November 9, 2007
Friday November 9, 2007
Boy, running is tough. It happens every time I come back from an injury, but geez, how can a measly 3 miles be so uncomfortable sometimes? The good news is that the foot still felt fine this morning; wore the size 11 Invo8s. There are some other pains in my left foot, but not the stress fracture pain---obviously just the usual getting back into it aches. It's so weird how I just sort of intuitively know what pain is a problem and what pain will just run its course and go away.
I'm hoping to do a couple of 30-40 min runs this weekend, but I also want to get in at least one nice long hike up in the mountains. I feel an urgency before the snow really gets thick around here. Hopefully I'll be heading up to Hyalite Reservoir and/0r Mt. Blackmore tomorrow...only about a 20-30min drive from Bozeman.
Thursday, November 8, 2007
Thursday November 8, 2007
This run was pretty encouraging. I wore my size 11 Inov-8 250s (('ve pretty much only worn the 11.5s for a couple of training runs and then the LT100...so I'm saving them up), but for some reason I thought to put the factory insoles in them this morning. I've been taking my insoles out of my shoes pretty much ever since I started wearing minimalist shoes, so I've forgotten that shoes are typically worn with an insole. Well, the shoe fit a whole lot more snug, but it also seemed to do a lot to protect my metatarsal, surprise, surprise. As a result, this morning's little jog went just fine. I still feel like the foot is mostly just weak; I'm almost certainly not feeling any pain in the metatarsal itself. I'm going to stick with the 250s and keep increasing in a reasonable manner.
This morning was a great reminder of the gloriousness of sunrises. I normally consider myself an early riser and often get to greet the sun on my morning run, but I haven't been getting up with the sun now since basically last May when I first hurt my meniscus and couldn't run. Then, when I was able to run again mid-summer, I didn't have a job so I would sleep in pretty late (8am or so), so of course the sun was already pretty high in the sky by time I'd hit the trail. And, this fall, I've been injured again so I haven't been getting up early at all. Anyways, the point is, sunrises are magical and are reason enough themselves to wake up a little earlier in the morning.
Wednesday, November 7, 2007
Wednesday November 7, 2007
Biked to the fields and then did a couple of loops around, wearing the NB 152s. I think the foot felt fine this morning, it's just weak. I might start trying to do some strengthening exercises to help that along: towel crunches, ABCs, rock pick-ups, etc.
Right at the end of my "run" Scott Creel came up behind me and introduced himself and then was on his way. Maybe it's just because I feel so slow and awkward and out of shape, but he certainly cuts an intimidating figure. I'm pretty sure he's 40+ now, but he's definitely still running like a panther. Scott won the trail 50K National Championships a couple of times a few years ago and always wins the Bridger Ridge Run here in Bozeman. He's also a professor in the Ecology department at MSU.
I really look forward to getting out on the trails and integrating myself more into the local running scene. Of course Nikki Kimball lives here (congrats to her on Mt. Masochist this past weekend!), but beyond her there's quite the thriving ultrarunning group here in town even though Bozeman's population is only about 30,000. Erich Peitzch is in MSU's Earth Sciences program with me studying snow science and he was 3rd at the Cascade Crest Classic 100 this year along with a finish at Western States. Also, Mike Wolfe (White River 50 champ the last two years) used to live here, but I think he's since moved to Missoula for law school. Either way, I look forward to meeting some new running folk.
Sunday, November 4, 2007
Sunday November 4, 2007
Today's "run" wasn't super encouraging. I wore the new Puma Cortland IIs and felt really awkward running. I think I'm going to stick with the New Balances. I really wish that Sportiva hadn't run out of my size of the Slingshots---I could really use a fresh pair of real running shoes right now.
It's not like my foot hurt this morning, but there was some uncertainty. Although I can't really say what, something stopped me from going the full 20 minutes I was planning. This part of running is horribly frustrating and nerve-wracking (coming back from injuries). It's so hard to tell if I'm doing real damage and setting myself back or if it's all just part of getting back into it.
Finally, it's nice that the weather is staying pleasant for so long this fall--I'd expected Bozeman to experience winter a little earlier. This morning it was sunny and probably in the 40s. I'm really not a big fan of snow or ridiculously cold temperatures, so it's great; but, right about the time that I'm actually able to do some real running winter will probably be in full force.
Oct 29--Nov 4
Total: 3.5mi (29min)
Saturday, November 3, 2007
Saturday November 3, 2007
I rode my bike up to the grass fields on the south edge of campus and ran a couple of big loops on the soft grass. Wore my (thoroughly abused) New Balance RC 152s. My foot felt completely fine, which is obviously hugely encouraging to me. It's been almost 10 weeks since I've gone for a run, so it was pretty exciting for me today. The foot feels a little bit weak, but there was no stress fracture pain. I've been out of the boot for almost two weeks now, and I've basically felt no pain in the foot that entire time, so I decided it was time to test it.
The plan from here is to increase in 5-10min increments for the next couple of weeks in an attempt to get back into it. I can't wait.
As a side note, the human body is amazing. Only a little more than two months ago I was in absolutely stellar shape and feeling invincible. A 4-6hr run was routine and barely did anything to tire me out. The steepest inclines were runnable, even in thin air. My running stride was like a 6th sense. But, today, I felt entirely out of sorts and at the very end I even felt a side stitch coming on. However, it's insane to me how much of a mood booster a mere 12 minutes was for me.
Anyway, this weekend they were having their annual book sale. I love used bookstores and really really love library booksales because it seems that they have a much higher quantity of quality books (no romance novels) than most bookstores. Today I stepped in not really expecting to buy anything, but a couple of hours later I emerged with eight books (after agonizingly deciding not to buy four others) for a mere $17. Here's what I came away with:
- The Unbearable Lightness of Being by Milan Kundera
I first learned of the Franco-Czecho Kundera as a Philosophy student at Colorado College, but hadn't read anything by him until I picked up his novel Identity earlier this fall. I initially resisted because it seemed like every artsy hipster I knew as an undergrad stated TULB as their favorite book to the point that it almost seemed cliche. Well, after reading Identity my theory that stereotypes and cliches exist for a reason (i.e. they're often true) was confirmed: Kundera is a wonderful writer and I can't wait to read his masterpiece.
- The Monkey Wrench Gang by Edward Abbey
I compulsively buy this book whenever I see a used copy. This particular copy is the classic 1975 edition. Again, this is a wildly cliche book to advocate (if you are a person of my ilk), but it's hilariously irreverent and entertaining. All novels should be as much fun as this.
- What's the Matter with Kansas? by Thomas Frank
My Dad recommended this book to me last spring and I never got around to checking it out from the library, so when I saw that it dealt directly with an issue that has always perplexed me (I remember writing a short essay about it in high school), I couldn't resist. Basically, Frank examines why some of the poorest regions of the country (where I grew up--the Great Plains of Nebraska, Kansas, and South Dakota) unfailingly vote overwhelmingly for a political party that continually disenfranchises them--the Republican Party. Frank is himself a Kansas native.
- Tropic of Cancer by Henry Miller
I don't know a whole lot about this book except that it is reviled by some and lauded by many...controversy is always interesting. I probably should've just checked it out from the library instead of buying it.
- One-Dimensional Man by Herbert Marcuse
My Dad read this when he was in the Army and said he had to take notes in order to understand it, claiming it was the densest thing he's ever read. I've always responded that that is because he's never read any Hegel. In any event, this book appears to discuss the predicament of modern man and his meaning while facing the pervasive military-industrial complex--always a compelling subject.
I've never heard of this book, but it looked interesting (as one might imagine, considering I'm a big fan of Abbey).
- The End of Nature by Bill McKibben
Another environmental classic I've been planning on reading.
- The Web of Life by Fritjof Capra
I'd never heard of this book, but I had greatly enjoyed Capra's The Tao of Physics earlier this year in which he draws surprising parallels between modern physics and eastern mysticism. This book is more about the interconnectedness found in eco-systems.
So, all in all, a great day at the library.