Review: Palmer’s Seven Surrenders

Seven Surrenders
Ada Palmer
The second book in Ada Palmers incredible Terra Ignota series. This one picks off exactly where Too Like the Lightning ended, and moves along at a blistering clip through scores of plot revelations, and extended explorations into the nature of gender, the place of violence in society, the complexities of competing duties, the nature of divinity and more.

I can’t get enough of these books. The world Palmer has built is incredibly complex and nuanced and I fear I’ll never get to see as much of it as I’d like to. The books are overflowing with ideas sometimes, almost too many to keep up with, and the writing is clean, clear, and often funny. If I have a quibble, its that at times it feels rushed. Palmer has so many plot points to tie up that reveals happen at a breakneck speed and not always with the level of pre-work I’d like to see.

Still and all, there is so much here. Including real insights into what the future might look like, and fascinating explorations about how we might view our own history in coming eras.

Recommended (for a certain type of big idea SF loving) enthusiast.

Advertisements
Posted in Books | Tagged , , , , , , , | Leave a comment

The Boston Qualifier Questionnaire — Ashley N

Name

Ashley N

Sex:

Female

Age (at the time of first BQ):

34

Height:

5’6″

Weight (at the time of first BQ):

118

At which marathon did you get your first BQ?

Richmond

Tell us a little about the race.

It was my first marathon, highly recommended by many running pals – great choice for my first!

How long had you been running when you ran your first BQ?

21 years

Did you run in college or high school?

Yes

What was your approximate lifetime mileage at the time of your first BQ?

No idea

How many miles did you run in the year before your first BQ?

4000

Approximately how many races did you run in that year?

7

Did you follow a canned program? If so, which one? If not, can you give us an idea of what your training philosophy was?

No, Loosely followed Pete Pfitzinger plan with some elements from Greg McMillan and Hanson

Did you run with a running club or utilize a coach?

No

Did cross training play a role in your training? If so, how?

Not much. Some pilates and yoga for strength and flexibility.

Did speed work play a role or specific workouts play a role in your training? If so, how?

Yes. Speed workouts and/or tempo runs every week in the few months leading up to my BQ marathon.

Any other thoughts you would like to share with those of working towards a BQ?

Put in the effort, week after week. Read all you can about different training plans and approaches to see what fits with your lifestyle and preferences. Find a running group/friends to hold you accountable for speed work, tempo and long runs. Enjoy the process!

Posted in Boston Qualifier Questionnaire | Tagged , , | Leave a comment

Book Review: Grann’s Killers of the Flower Moon: The Osage Murders and the Birth of the FBI

Killers of the Flower Moon: The Osage Murders and the Birth of the FBI

David Grann

This is a story of a mass murder.

The murdered were members of the Osage tribe of Native Americans, who, for a host of complex reasons tied to U.S.’s horrific treatment of Native Americans, ended up inexplicably wealthy owners of extremely valuable land rights. Their murderers were members of the white community around them, people who befriend them, even married them, and then systematically went about killing them to gain their wealth and land titles.

This book is also about the early days of the FBI, when Hoover was trying to turn a little known group of law men into a feared national surveillance and enforcement unit. They solved at least some of the Osage murders, but for their own reasons.

It all makes for some dark, sociopathic, racist, stuff. Its also deeply compelling, extremely well researched, and written in a style that keeps the pace of the story high, without descending into sensationalism.

This one will be on a lot of best of the year lists and for good reason. It’s a compelling, heartbreaking story, long overlooked and its excellently told.

Recommended.

Posted in Books, Uncategorized | Tagged , , , , | Leave a comment

The Boston Qualifier Questionnaire — Jason Martin

Name

Jason Martin

Sex:

Male

Age (at the time of first BQ):

29

Height:

 

Weight (at the time of first BQ):

165

At which marathon did you get your first BQ?

Thunder Road, Charlotte, NC

Tell us a little about the race.

First marathon, 2008 Thunder Road. Had run 3 half marathons in the previous 2 years. Evenly paced first 17 miles, 7:05s. Was trying to run under 3:05. Stopped for a quick potty break betwen mile 17 and 18. HUGE mistake. Spent the next 4 miles trying to catch up to group I was with, running 6:55-7:00 per. That fried me. Tough last 5 miles. finished in 3:09. Got in to Boston that December. This was before the window for registration was super tight.

How long had you been running when you ran your first BQ?

4 years

Did you run in college or high school?

No

What was your approximate lifetime mileage at the time of your first BQ?

6,000 miles

How many miles did you run in the year before your first BQ?

2,200

Approximately how many races did you run in that year?

3

Did you follow a canned program? If so, which one? If not, can you give us an idea of what your training philosophy was?

no

Did you run with a running club or utilize a coach?

No

Did cross training play a role in your training? If so, how?

No

Did speed work play a role or specific workouts play a role in your training? If so, how?

No

Any other thoughts you would like to share with those of working towards a BQ?

Every long run needs to finish fast. No sugar or gatorade after 15 miles.

Posted in Boston Qualifier Questionnaire | Tagged , , , | Leave a comment

Review: Goldstein’s Janesville: AN American Story

The story of what happens to a small town in the industrial Midwest when the primary employer (here, an auto plant) closes down. We all know the broad outline of how this goes down – the fight to keep the plant open eventually fails, and the town spirals down economically. But how the town changes, and how individual families cope with those changes, is not something I have seen covered as well, or with as much nuance and care, before. We learn here of the people who used the closing as a chance for reinvention, and those who couldn’t really recover. Those who would compensate by driving hundred of miles for work, and others tried to rebuild the town.

It’s a complicated story, made all the more so by the national ambitions of the town’s representative in the House, Paul Ryan, who, while never afraid to use his hometown as a political backdrop, couldn’t in the end do much to save it.  I found the reporting compelling, and the story full of revelations. I was moved by the tragedies some of these families endured, and fascinated to learn that many of the ex factory workers who took the opportunity to go back to school ended up worse than their peers who’d headed straight back out into the work force.

If you care about the end of industrial America, and it is an end, these jobs are not coming back, then this book is well worth the time.

Recommended.

Posted in Books, Uncategorized | Tagged , , , , , , , | Leave a comment

The Boston Qualifier Questionnaire — Ben

Name

Ben

Sex:

Male

Age (at the time of first BQ):

29

Height:

5′ 10″

Weight (at the time of first BQ):

158

At which marathon did you get your first BQ?

Light at the end of the tunnel

Tell us a little about the race.

Gradual downhill the entire way. On an old railway trail that’s now a gravel running/biking trail

How long had you been running when you ran your first BQ?

2 years

Did you run in college or high school?

No

What was your approximate lifetime mileage at the time of your first BQ?

2500

How many miles did you run in the year before your first BQ?

2000

Approximately how many races did you run in that year?

8

Did you follow a canned program? If so, which one? If not, can you give us an idea of what your training philosophy was?

no

Did you run with a running club or utilize a coach?

High mileage (90-100 mph). Most running at marathon pace sometimes faster

Did cross training play a role in your training? If so, how?

No

Did speed work play a role or specific workouts play a role in your training? If so, how?

Did 10×800 at least once a week

Any other thoughts you would like to share with those of working towards a BQ?

Figure out how much your body can take and push as hard as you can without injury. Through hard training, my marathon pace was faster than my 5k pace 1.5 years earlier

Posted in Boston Qualifier Questionnaire | Tagged , , | Leave a comment

Review: Desmond’s Evicted



Evicted: Poverty and Profit in the American City

Matthew Desmond

An examination into how housing insecurity leads to general insecurity and upends lives. A brilliant book. It follows a number of different people in the Milwaukee area struggling with housing issues and uses their stories, and plenty of social science, to tell explain the way housing in this country keeps the poor, poor, and communities segregated by race and class.

Books like this, where a reporter/social scientist parachutes into a poor community and comes out with a heartbreaking story can often feel exploitative. To me, this one never did. Desmond lived amongst the people he chronicles here, and it shows. He treats their predicaments with a bit of distance, for sure, but also with a level of compassion and humanity I found admirable. In the notes at the end, Desmond explains that not only did he know these people, live in their neighborhoods, eat in the their homes, but he also at times lent them money and supported them. That might cross some social science rules, but I found it humanized the situation and, frankly, was the right thing to do.

We talk a lot about the housing crisis in this country, but never have I seen anyone examine exactly how it works, and how clearly we could create a world in which it didn’t leave people broken and desperate. I left this book convinced that the housing situation in this country is both horrific and preventable. We just need the national will to change things.

Recommended.

Posted in Books, Uncategorized | Tagged , , , , , , , , | Leave a comment