Blanche’s Book Club: ‘Running Home’.

Howdy! Today is the start of a very busy week for me, but it’s one of those things where… this is just how it’s going to be for AWHILE, if not forever.

I’ve spoken on here some about how slow of a summer it was for me, and while, at times that was nice, I don’t particularly thrive in that environment. So, I’m completely making it for it the rest of this year and going bonkers with a new client and all sorts of additional personal projects.

If I did the math right, I have between 65-70 hours of my week committed to work-type things… so, which me luck! Have no fear about the blog though, I am never too busy to create content for my beloved corner of the internet.

I was however, calling this weekend my “Final Freedom Weekend” because I feel like I’ll be using my remaining weekends of the year to catch up on work and/or sleep. So, even though I did do several hours of work this weekend, I also took a dance class, went to yoga, saw a movie (“The Goldfinch”, it was so good), ate at my favorite Vietnamese restaurant, got some frozen custard, and saw Claudia Oshry’s show!

I also fit in enough time to finish reading the latest book from Blanche’s Book Club, “Running Home” by Katie Arnold. Here’s the scoop:

I’m running to forget, and to remember.

For more than a decade, Katie Arnold chased adventure around the world, reporting on extreme athletes who performed outlandish feats—walking high lines a thousand feet off the ground without a harness, or running one hundred miles through the night. She wrote her stories by living them, until eventually life on the thin edge of risk began to seem normal. After she married, Katie and her husband vowed to raise their daughters to be adventurous, too, in the mountains and canyons of New Mexico. But when her father died of cancer, she was forced to confront her own mortality.

His death was cataclysmic, unleashing a perfect storm of grief and anxiety. She and her father, an enigmatic photographer for National Geographic, had always been kindred spirits. He introduced her to the outdoors and took her camping and on bicycle trips and down rivers, and taught her to find solace and courage in the natural world. And it was he who encouraged her to run her first race when she was seven years old.

Now nearly paralyzed by fear and terrified she was dying, too, she turned to the thing that had always made her feel most alive: running. Over the course of three tumultuous years, she ran alone through the wilderness, logging longer and longer distances, first a 50-kilometer ultramarathon, then 50 miles, then 100 kilometers. She ran to heal her grief, to outpace her worry that she wouldn’t live to raise her own daughters. She ran to find strength in her weakness. She ran to remember and to forget. She ran to live.

Ultrarunning tests the limits of human endurance over seemingly inhuman distances, and as she clocked miles across mesas and mountains, Katie learned to tolerate pain and discomfort, and face her fears of uncertainty, vulnerability, and even death itself. As she ran, she found herself peeling back the layers of her relationship with her father, discovering that much of what she thought she knew about him, and her own past, was wrong.

Running Home is a memoir about the stories we tell ourselves to make sense of our world—the stories that hold us back, and the ones that set us free. Mesmerizing, transcendent, and deeply exhilarating, it is a book for anyone who has been knocked over by life, or feels the pull of something bigger and wilder within themselves.

I saw this book in an issue of “Real Simple” magazine (each month they offer five book recommendations) and I’m into books on grief, and learning about how other people cope with death, loss and grief.

One thing I’ll say about this book is that, while I did not find it as beautifully written as I did “What Remains” and “Wild”, but it’s probably the first time while reading any of these types of books that I felt like someone took the words out of my brain.

Her feelings and thoughts on death and grief were incredibly relatable. The other part of this book is the whole… running thing. I’m in no way a runner, never have been, never will be and I legit do not understand why people do it. So, those parts were less than favorable, but she makes them easy for non-runner to understand.

I would definitely recommend this book to anyone coping with grief or loss, especially that of a parent or a close friend or family member.

The next book Blanche’s Book Club will be reading is “How Could She” by Lauren Mechling.

For more book recommendations, be sure to subscribe to the blog (look to the right) and follow me on Instagram @Orangejulius7– where I share more of my daily life. Live in the Baton Rouge area? I’m teaching a Blogging Boot Camp this September. If you don’t live in Baton Rouge, you can always schedule a Creative Session with me!

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