I’ve been reading a few books throughout the summer and needed to be more active in reviewing them here. Rather than writing five individual posts in a row (too lazy for that), I will catch up with this single post.

Born to Run 2

I’ve been back to running after a long hiatus, and this book helped me get back on track with the right, lightly-hearted approach. The fundamentals are solid (the barefoot-like technique is the way), the 90-day training plan is a good platform, the nutrition hints are remarkable, and I appreciated the injury-treatment segments. There’s too much chitchat for my liking, though, with many stories, anecdotes, and non-technical, gospel-like content. Some chapters are unattractive to the experienced runner (running with dogs, the music while running debate, and training with scooters?). This book targets the newcomer and the veteran runner switching to the barefoot technique. The first book in the series, Born to Run, was the commercial hit introducing barefoot running to the masses. This one is trying to be both a sequel and something different that can live independently. Meeting all these goals was a complicated bet. Authors: Chris McDougall, Eric Orton.

Immersione rapida (Blind’s Man Bluff)

For decades, American submarines have roamed the depths in a dangerous battle for information and advantage in missions known only to a select few. Now, after six years of research, those missions are told in Blind Man’s Bluff, a magnificent achievement in investigative reporting.

This book made a lot of noise when it came out in 1998. Back then, most of the events narrated were unknown to the general public. The cold-war stories contained within are as enthralling as spy, maritime and Cold War stories can get. This book is still relevant today, as it does an excellent job of recounting the Cold War craziness and revealing how close humanity got to shooting his own feet, and we never knew. Authors: Sherry Sontag, Christopher Drew, Annette L. Drew.

Cime tempestose (Wuthering Heights)

What a weird work of fiction. I was expecting the usual romantic story between noble landowners in late 19th-century England, full of heartbreak and probably opposed by their respective families, the difficulties of rural life, or both. I found myself immersed in a much darker, twisted and sick version of the story, in which every single character is flawed, and there is not a single light of hope. A few weeks passed since I read it, and I’m still trying to come to terms with it. This book was well ahead of its time (1847) and still challenges the readers today. As I read, I could not help but think, “What kind of sick author would write a thing like this?” Emily Brontë’s life was not easy, and many experiences of her and her family percolated in the novel in one way or another. I found an excellent review on Goodreads, and I’m using it as a guideline for pondering this novel. For as an oddball as it is, this book is a must-read. Author: Emily Brontë.

L’umanità è un tirocinio (Life is an apprenticeship)

Getting to know my beloved Starnone better through the literary fascinations that turned him on, the sharp reflections on authors and texts, and his very personal “shattering” of articles representing a lifetime’s thoughts on writing and writing was terrific. “The texts collected here owe what little good they possibly hold to the forty-five years of passionate, enjoyable daily conversation with Anita; time has passed too quickly.” It was not an easy read, mainly because most of the mentioned texts I had never read before, but worth it. My to-read list has surely grown much longer now. Author: Domenico Starnone.

Il sussurro del mondo (The Overstory)

The Overstory is a sweeping, impassioned work of activism and resistance that is also a stunning evocation of - and paean to - the natural world. From the roots to the crown and back to the seeds, Richard Powers’s twelfth novel unfolds in concentric rings of interlocking fables that range from antebellum New York to the late twentieth-century Timber Wars of the Pacific Northwest and beyond. There is a world alongside ours—vast, slow, interconnected, resourceful, magnificently inventive, and almost invisible to us. This is the story of a handful of people who learn how to see that world and who are drawn up into its unfolding catastrophe.

I found it overly dull and did not finish it. Strange, because it sounds like a book I’d love. Maybe I’ll try again in a few years. Author: Richard Powers.