The new year always starts off with the best of intentions. The problem is, the resolutions we make sometimes aren't as easy to keep as they are to come up with.
All this month, CBC Books is here to help with Make or Break, our series to help you live up to those good intentions. This week, we tackle the goal of getting fit. But rather than point you in the direction of how-to exercise tomes that will most likely just gather dust on your bookshelf, we thought we'd highlight some great reads that jmight inspire you to get up and moving.
Beyond the Horizon: The Great Race to Finish the First Human-Powered Circumnavigation of the Planet
by Colin Angus
Colin Angus is a Canadian explorer who, as the book's title indicates, became the first person to traverse the globe using only self-propelled forms of transportation. This book tells the tale of that adventure, from his departure from Vancouver in June 2004 to his somewhat bedraggled return nearly two years later. During that time, he biked, skiied and rowed from Alaska, through Siberia, into Europe, across the Atlantic to Costa Rica and then back home. Remarkably, he did more than half of the journey with his fiancée (and yes, they still got married).
Stretch: The Unlikely Making of a Yoga Dude
by Neal Pollack
Neal Pollack got his start in the 1990s writing for McSweeney's, Dave Eggers' literary journal. But what started as a promising trajectory to literary success fizzled and came to a crashing halt when his second book received a brutal review in the New York Times. To add insult to injury, the reviewer painted him as just another out-of-shape, thirty-something guy with thinning hair and a goatee. Stung, Pollack resolved to make a change and took up yoga, eventually moving from awkward skeptic to graceful and contented advocate. Pollack's story is more than the mockingly ironic romp you might expect from the title -- it's also a very earnest depiction of personal transformation.
What I Talk About When I Talk About Running
by Haruki Murakami
You may know Haruki Murakami as the postmodern writer behind such novels as Norwegian Wood
, but what you might not know is that he's also a dedicated marathon runner and triathlete. What I Talk About When I Talk About Running
is Murakami's non-fiction account of his relationship with the solitary sport, expressed through diary entries, training reports, essays and general reflection. This book might not appeal to people who aren't already devotees of the sport, but is well suited to committed runners and fans of Murakami's fiction.
Running with The Buffaloes
by Chris Lear
Already 10 years old, Running with The Buffaloes
is widely regarded as one of the best books ever written about running. The Buffaloes of the title are the University of Colorado's cross-country team. Lear follows them through their 1998 season, from the gruelling pace of training, to the tragic death of one of their teammates mid-season and the excitement of competing at the NCAA championship. If you're looking for a model of motivation and determination, you'll find it here in spades. This book was initially self-published but quickly became a cult classic as it brings to life the struggle and ultimate joy of cross-country running.
The Lost Cyclist: The Epic Tale of an American Adventurer and His Mysterious Disappearance
by David V. Herlihy
This list just wouldn't be complete without a book about cycling. The Lost Cyclist is the story of Franz Lenz, who dreamed of cycling around the world. In 1892 he quit his job as an accountant and set out to cover three continents on bike as a correspondent for a sporting magazine. Two years later, after numerous adventures, he disappeared. Shocked, and facing an international outcry, the magazine sent another cyclist on his trail to find out what happened. This book is a fascinating and gripping account of the world of bicycle adventuring before the absolute dominance of the automobile, and makes biking to the grocery store seem much less daunting.
Think we've missed a big one? Help us out. Tell us which books make you want to start your own training program in the comments below.