What We Are Reading Today: Never a Lovely So Real

Updated 08 July 2019
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What We Are Reading Today: Never a Lovely So Real

Author: Colin Asher

Colin Asher’s book is an incredibly detailed account of the life of a fascinating author, Nelson Algren. 
“The biography ends on a sad note, but in it, we learn that Nelson Algren enjoyed a wide variety of successes and failures along the road,” said a review on goodreads.com.
Algren was a “fascinating and bewildering character with an empathetic heart for the marginalized in society and a keen critique of American consumerism that emerged after the Second World War and a disdain for elitism,” the review added.
Susan Jacoby said in review for The New York Times that the first biography of Algren was published in 1989 — too soon after his death “for reconsideration of a novelist whose emphasis on the unfortunate was then deeply at odds with American culture.”
Another biography was published in October 2016. “The timing of Asher’s book, by contrast, is fortuitous, because many Americans are now preoccupied by economic and class disparities in ways not seen since the Depression,” the review added.


What We Are Reading Today: Running to The Edge

Updated 22 July 2019
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What We Are Reading Today: Running to The Edge

Author: MATTHEW FUTTERMAN

Drawing a direct line from coaching high school students to Olympic medalists and Boston Marathon winners, Matthew Futterman tells the story of coach Bob Larsen and his efforts to unlock the secrets of running far fast.
Futterman, a deputy sports editor at The New York Times,  is a “good writer and he knows how to heighten the drama,” a critic commented in goodreads.com. 
The review added: “Thanks to a deft, fast-paced writing style and especially great characterizations that bring unheralded high schoolers to life just as vividly as national champions, this is the best book on running since Christopher McDougall’s Born to Run.”
In a review for The New York Times, critic Katie Arnold said: “In personal vignettes interspersed throughout the book, the author recounts his own forays in the sport, from his first five-miler, at age 10, to soggy slow marathons and hitting the wall in Central Park. Though at times these scenes distract from the central narrative, they remind us that the allure of running — just like its tolls — is universal, regardless of where we finish in the pack.”