Monday, December 22, 2014

Booknote: The Terrible and Wonderful Reasons Why I Run Long Distances

Matthew Inman, The Terrible and Wonderful Reasons Why I Run Long Distances. Kansas City, MO: Andrews McMeel Publishing, 2014. ISBN: 978-1-4494-5995-6.

This book seems more autobiographical than his usual fare. People who run or jog may appreciate it more. The book is a serious personal narrative. It is mostly a series of cartoon sets on the theme of running.The art is his usual style, amusing at times, but if you are just seeking humor, this book really is not it. For some folks, likely runners, it may be inspiring at times. This quote for example:

"Running is not about building strength and wearing it like a fashion statement. It's about finding strength and measuring yourself every single day" (36). 

Further on, Inman reflects on running. Being introspective myself, thinking too much about my job and life, and having an army of pointless, bantering demons reminding me of worries, anxieties, etc. are things I can relate to that Inman mentions.

The second part of the book is a do's and don't's of marathon running. The third part is some gym humor on who does what and who looks at who. After a while, I can't help but feel much of the book is filler. The running part is inspirational, but it's a few comics worth. I am not sure this merits a whole book. The book often feels like there is a need to fill up just enough to get a full book. By page 100 or so, it gets tiring for readers. Given that comics take up space, the book is a quick read. The art is in color, so if you are familiar with The Oatmeal, you know what to expect.

The tips on what worked for him are sincere, and they seem something that ordinary people can do, once you get past some of the common preachy tone enthusiasts of running can have. Still, there is some uplifting quality to it overall which is why I ended up liking it rather than thinking it was just an OK book.

I am giving it 3 out 5 stars.

Disclosure note: Where I tell you I got this from the publisher via NetGalley in exchange for an honest review so The Man does not come bitching later.

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