Tag Archives: non-fiction

Audiobook Review – You Are An Ironman – Jacques Steinberg

you are an ironmanYou Are An Ironman: How Six Weekend Warriors Chased Their Dream of Finishing the World’s Toughest Triathlon
Author: Jacques Steinberg

Cross-posted on my Triathlon Blog – HERE

Jacques Steinberg creates a compelling portrait of people obsessed with reaching a life-defining goal. In this instance, the target is an Ironman triathlon-a 2.4-mile open-water swim followed by a 112-mile bike ride, then finally a 26-mile marathon run, all of which must be completed in no more than seventeen hours.

Steinberg focuses not on the professionals who live off the prize money and sponsorships but on a handful of triathletes who regard the sport as a hobby. Vividly capturing the grueling preparation, the suspense of completing each event of the triathlon, and the spectacular feats of human endurance, Steinberg plumbs the physical and emotional toll as well as the psychological payoff on the participants of the Ford Ironman Arizona 2009. His You Are an Ironman is both a riveting sports narrative and a fascinating, behind-the scenes study of what makes these athletes keep going..

I’ve never hidden the fact that one of my goals prior to my 40th birthday (although still a ways away) is to do an Ironman. And after meeting up with a few Ironmen at a reading conference I went to in October (hang on, they find time to work and read/write)…it just sealed the deal. So my goal for 2013 is to do a half-ironman (Beach 2 Battleship in October), with a full Ironman in 2014 (still trying to figure out which one)…and then I came across this book in an audible sale and for 4.95, I figured why not. I have to say that this is probably the best and emotional 4.95, I have ever spent on an audiobook – I was a complete and utter blubbering mess by the end of it. Thankfully, I was sitting in the car by myself, so no one could see.

There was just something about the stories of each individual competing in IMAZ 2009 (held in Tempe, Arizona) that made me feel like I knew them. From listening to entries on their blogs (I even went and looked a few of them up), to their trials/tribulations as they dealt with training, injuries and also life in general. From Scott, the recipient of a double-lung transplant (I mean, seriously – I couldn’t believe it when I heard that), to Bryan, who got into working out and then triathlons after a scary medical diagnosis. Listening to their stories made me realize that yes, I could do it.

Kirby Heybourne’s narration was pitch perfect – I really have nothing to complain about after listening to the audiobook. I loved his narration in Gone Girl, and this just sealed him as a narrator to look for in the future. I highly recommend this book, even if you don’t necessarily want to do an ironman, but just as a motivational read. I can only hope that my journey towards an Ironman is as successful. Oh, and make sure that you have a box of tissues for reading/listening.

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Posted by on February 5, 2013 in Audiobook Review


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Review – A Thousand Lives – Julia Scheeres

A Thousand Lives: The Untold Story of Hope, Deception, and Survival at Jonestown
Author: Julia Scheeres

Book Description:
In 1954, a pastor named Jim Jones opened a church in Indianapolis called People’s Temple Full Gospel Church. He was a charismatic preacher with idealistic beliefs, and he quickly filled his pews with an audience eager to hear his sermons on social justice. After Jones moved his church to Northern California in 1965, he became a major player in Northern California politics; he provided vital support in electing friendly political candidates to office, and they in turn offered him a protective shield that kept stories of abuse and fraud out of the papers. Even as Jones’s behavior became erratic and his message more ominous, his followers found it increasingly difficult to pull away from the church. By the time Jones relocated the Peoples Temple a final time to a remote jungle in Guyana and the U.S. Government decided to investigate allegations of abuse and false imprisonment in Jonestown, it was too late.

I have often heard the term “drinking the koolaid” and have even said it a time or two, but until I finished this book, I didn’t know the originals of the saying. Not growing up or attending school in the United States means that things many people learned in their history classes, I am clueless about (and don’t even get my started on my lack of knowledge of politics)…but when I was listening to Ice Cold (Tess Gerritsen), the Jonestown cult and massacre was mentioned and I was intrigued. And funnily enough, I was talking to some coworkers at the same time I was reading this and one of them mentioned the phrase and I was then about to put two and two together to understand. I then found out about this book while I was trying to find a book set in Guyana for my Around the World reading challenge – so it was like hitting two birds with one stone.

I loved how the author was able to use various documents that had been released by the FBI to develop the picture of what happened – since there is very little eye-witness testimony and most of the people who did survive (not that there were many of them) have since died. I was actually surprised to see the amount of information that had been recovered from the camp after the massacre was discovered. I found that the author did a good job of weaving the tale to make it interesting, I wanted to know about what happened. It wasn’t like a normal NF book where I can read bits and pieces and be ok with stopped, in the end, I think I read this in about 3 days, which is significantly less time than most non-fiction books that I read. I will definately be looking for her other book to read and will be interested to see what more she writes in the future. 3.5 stars.

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Posted by on November 10, 2012 in Book Review


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Review: Packing for Mars: The Curious Science of Life in the Void

Packing for Mars: The Curious Science of Life in the Void
Packing for Mars: The Curious Science of Life in the Void by Mary Roach
My rating: 3 of 5 stars

Book Review
I joking remarked that the sub-title for this book should be everything you ever wanted to know about peeing, pooping, puking and screwing in space, but were afraid to ask. But in all seriousness, there is at least one chapter if not more devoted to those major bodily functions, intertwined with the history of the space program, not only in the US, but also Russia and also a little bit about Japan. It also looks at what the future of the program might be, but since NASA has had huge budget cuts in the last few years, who rightly knows.

Audiobook Narration
Sandra Burr provided a lite, easy narration style that went well with how the book was written. I don’t know if I would have been able to keep a straight face during the reading aloud of this, but overall a really good job.

View all my reviews

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Posted by on February 29, 2012 in Audiobook Review


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