My favorites of summer 2012:
1. Finding Ultra by Rich Roll: I read the entire thing in nearly one sitting. It was well-written, informative, and inspiring. There's an element of "regular-guy-discovers-the-superhero-within" here that I found irresistable. If you are into running (of ANY distance or speed), and/or if you're interested in veganism, you'll probably enjoy this.
2. Eat and Run by Scott Jurek: Similar in content to Finding Ultra (emphasis on running and veganism), but the writing is a little choppier and less descriptive. Plus, although the title proclaims that Jurek had an "unlikely journey to ultramarathon greatness," given his talent, I'm not sure how unlikely it really was. Nevertheless, it's an interesting biography of how Jurek became one of the world's best ultrarunners. It also offers vegan recipes. And Jurek is clearly a very sincere, hard-working person.
3. Heaven is Here by Stephanie Nielson: Stephanie Nielson, author of the blog "NieNie Dialogues," writes about life before and after a horrific plane crash in which both she and her husband were terribly burned. The book is well-written and - something I particularly appreciated - honest. Nielson expresses a strong faith and resiliency, but she doesn't sugarcoat the hardships associated with recovering from a traumatic accident.
Also, unlike some other books I've read that are authored by bloggers, this one is not simply a collection of recycled blog content. It's a cohesive, thoughtful, fresh synthesis of events that Nielson has touched upon on her blog but didn't explore in this much detail.
4. Driving with Dead People by Monica Holloway: I LOVED this memoir. It was so well written, so engaging, so truthful. It was also incredibly disturbing because it's about an adult coming to terms with child abuse. How Holloway coped with that, how she survived and dealt with brutal betrayal and trauma, is inspiring.
5. Gone Girl, Sharp Objects, and Dark Places by Gillian Flynn: I read Gone Girl and found it compelling. The approach to the storyline was different from anything else I'd seen, though I wasn't as surprised by the ending as I hoped I might be. Still, I took to Flynn's writing (once I find a voice I like, I tend to read all of that author's work before turning to something new), and followed up with Sharp Objects. That ended up being my favorite of the three. Dark Places was also good, though I wasn't as into it as I was the other two.
Slightly frivolous chick-lit stories that are perfect for long flights:
6. Can I Get an Amen? by Sarah Healy: Sort-of Christian woman is abandoned by her husband, moves back in with her ultra-Christian parents, and tries to navigate a new life. I was skeptical about this one, but what impressed me about it was the way that the author manages to speak to both Christians and non-Christians without alienating anyone. It's modern, non-preachy, and it doesn't stereotype. (Side note: I am not a Christian and the thought of going to church gives me the hives. But I thought the author did an amazing job of reaching out to people regardless of their beliefs.)
7. Where We Belong by Emily Giffin: Total chick-lit, but if you've read any of her other novels, this one is comforting in its familiar tone and topics. It's about two people who, having been separated for 18 years, meet again - and the repercussions/outcomes of that reunion.
What about you? Do you have any favorite books you've read recently?