I haven’t been posting much to The Bookshelf on Fridays lately. I’ve been reading but haven’t been blogging.

Here’s a quick list of what I’m reading lately:

Mountains Beyond Mountains: The Quest of Dr. Paul Farmer, a Man Who Would Cure the World (Random House Reader’s Circle) by Tracy Kidder. Excellent. Enough talk about the ‘right’ and ‘wrong’ ways to do aid. Serve people. See individuals. Believe every life matters. I love this book.

Going Clear: Scientology, Hollywood, and the Prison of Belief by Lawrence Wright. Scientology. Fascinating and yikes, especially since after reading this, I watched Mission Impossible, i.e. Tom Cruise.

The Professor and the Madman: A Tale of Murder, Insanity, and the Making of the Oxford English Dictionary by Simon Winchester. Just started it, can’t say much yet but I love the title.

Thunderstruck by Erik Larson. I probably didn’t need to know so much about the development of the telegraph system but I was reading as research. And, Larson is always good, a master at the bizarre details.

And here’s my one recommendation, totally biased, for your weekend. You’ll be able to finish it in 30-45 minutes, I think. And it is by yours truly so, like I said, totally biased:

The Long Run

Underdogs Dreaming

I loved writing this story about Kadra because I was able to address some questions I’ve personally wrestled with – what the heck makes people (including myself) run in Djibouti?! It is so hot. It is so dusty. People sometimes tell us to stop. No one has expressed concern for my knees, like Americans tend to do, but some have been worried about my ovaries. So what makes us press on and especially, what makes her press on and dream of big things, like not coming in last? I needed to know the answer to this, in her own words.

So, if you want to know what makes underdogs motivated and how they persevere, read Kadra’s story in The Big Roundtable, technically a ‘longform essay’ but feel free to call it a small book as some have said to me. I like the sound of that.

The Long Run.