Marathon Man

By Bill Rodgers & Matthew Sheptain

Marathon Man - By Bill Rodgers

Marathon Man – By Bill Rodgers

Type: Non Fiction
Started: 4 July, 2013
Finished:  15 July, 2013
Pages: 336

“Running wasn’t an escape from life;
rather, it was an embrace of it”

Bill Rodgers

In the few years after Frank Shorter won the Olympic gold medal in the 1972 Olympic marathon, officially starting the running boom in the United States, there was no marathoner more famous or more accomplished than Bill Rodgers. A small town, easy going, aloof, simple man, who decided to quit the party, smoking and drinking scene to discover his gift for running and embraced it to the fullest. He won the Boston Marathon four times and is the only man with four victories in the New York City Marathon. He also was an Olympian in 1976.

Rodgers was an above average runner during his high school years. Faster than whatever you or I can run a mile to 5K, but not enough to be a legend or anything close. But in college he happened to room with Amby Burfoot, whose dream was to one day win the Boston Marathon, which he did in 1968. Burfoot was tutored by Young Johnny Kelley, the 1957 Boston champion, who in turn had been tutored by Johnny “The Elder” Kelley, winner of two Bostons plus a record seven second places.

Rodgers trained with Burfoot in 1968 and even kept pace with him in long 20+ milers after a night of drinking and partying. Yet, he never thought of running long distances competitively.

In Marathon Man, Rodgers treats us with a first person account of his journey from an ordinary citizen, a teacher and an OK runner to the most decorated long distance US runner in history. This is not your typical “look-how-great-I-am” biography, it is a journey with many ups and downs; with struggles, both physical and financial; it is a story of both DNFs and breaking finish line tapes.

Bill Rodgers made it twice to the cover of Sports Illustrated

Bill Rodgers made it twice to the cover of Sports Illustrated

Most of the book is centered on Rodgers’ win of the Boston Marathon on April 21st, 1975. Fifteen of the 21 chapters start with an exquisitely detailed account of the race, enriched throughout with the lore of this, the most famous footrace in the history of footraces. From there on, the second part on each one of those chapters are flashbacks to his life starting eight years before that day and finishing at the start of that particular race. Two chronicles of the same story are happening simultaneously, which provides incredible dynamism to the narrative. Once he wins, he focuses on his Olympic experience and his first New York City win. The latter one was the one that happen to put that marathon in the map.

Bill was not just an airheaded runner. He stood for certain political beliefs and stood by them, becoming a conscientious objector to the Vietnam War, who paid consequences. He had clashes with the AAU and voiced his displeasure at them taking away the monies athletes won while not allowing them to make a living from their talents. There are also plenty of insights about the early days of the running boom. This is great stuff for anyone who enjoys or has enjoyed long distance running or followed it 25-30 years ago.

On a personal note, Rodgers has always intrigued me because when I started running as a teenager he was the top dog. He won the very first marathon I ran, Orange Bowl 1983, and I had the chance to see him fly by twice throughout the course. After my second Marathon, New York 1983, my dad bought me a Bill Rodgers set of short and shirt, which I used only for my top races, including my 3rd and 4th marathons, where I had my two best times. My 5th Marathon, Philadelphia 2012, was won by Rodgers way back when. So somehow he’s been a presence during all my long distance endeavors.

This is a fascinating biography about a fascinating character narrated in a fascinating way. Worth not only every penny but also every minute you’ll invest reading it.

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Moonwalking With Einstein

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By Joshua Foer Type: Non Fiction Started: September 15, 2011 Finished: Octobre 2, 2011 Pages: 320 Pages Joshua Foer was a freelance journalist who once, just by chance, bumped into a memory tournament. Out of curiosity went to cover it and met to international mental … Continue reading

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El Sari Rojo

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Por Javier Moro Tipo: No Ficción Inicio: 27 de agosto, 2011 Finalizado: 14 de septiembre, 2011 Páginas: 538 Javier Moro es un confeso enamorado de todo lo que tiene que ver con la India. En El Sari Rojo nos presenta … Continue reading

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Michelangelo and the Pope’s Ceiling

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By Ross King Type: Non Fiction Started: August 12, 2011 Finished: September 21, 2011 Pages: 318 Pages (10.5 Hr Audiobook) If you ever had the opportunity to stand underneath it, your breath was taken away. If you haven’t yet, you … Continue reading

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Book Related Funny Videos

I decided it was time to take a little break on book reviews and have some fun. Not that books are not fun. So I want to share with all of you a couple of book related funny sketches. The … Continue reading

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Out on the Pampas

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By G. A. Hentry Type: Fiction Started: August 23, 2011 Finished: August 25, 2011 Pages: 209 This is a book from the late 19th Century. I have conflicting information about the year it was written, maybe it was on 1871 or maybe it was … Continue reading

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Luckiest Man – The Life and Death of Lou Gehrig

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By Jonathan Eig Type: Non Fiction Started: August 4, 2011 Finished: August 22, 2011 Pages: 432 Pages (6 Hr Audiobook) Heinrich Ludwig Gehrig was not just the premier baseball player of the 1930s or one of the greatest who ever … Continue reading

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Margarita Infanta

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Por Francisco Suniaga Tipo: No Ficción Inicio: Agosto 6, 2011 Finalizado: Agosto 20, 2011 Páginas: 119 Margarita Infanta es una colección de 17 cuentos cortos que nos revelan la vida del autor durante sus años de infancia en la Isla … Continue reading

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El Matemático del Rey

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Por Juan Carlos Arce Tipo: Ficción Inicio: 7 de agosto, 2011 Finalizado: 11 de agosto, 2011 Páginas: 148 No me gusta la ficción histórica. Comencé este libro basado en lo que dice su contraportada. Pasadas unas 40 páginas, me pareció … Continue reading

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Evel: The High-Flying Life of Evel Knievel: American Showman, Daredevil, and Legend

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By Leigh Montville Type: Non Fiction Started: July 17, 2011 Finished: August 6, 2011 Pages: 416 Somebody recently asked me what in the world moved me to read a bio on Evel Kneivel. Even though the guy was an icon during my youth, I … Continue reading

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Get in the Game

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By Cal Ripken Jr. and Donald T. Phillips Type: Non Fiction Started: July 2, 2011 Finished: August 5, 2011 Pages: 247 Pages Even though the book is about Cal Ripken Jr., his life in baseball and, of course, the streak, … Continue reading

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Outposts: Journeys to the Surviving Relics of the British Empire

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By Simon Winchester Type: Non Fiction Started: July 12, 2011 Finished: August 3, 2011 Pages: 400 Pages (6 Hr Audiobook) For how long have we heard about “The Great British Empire”? Phrases like “The sun never sets under the British … Continue reading

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El Cuaderno de Maya

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Por Isabel Allende Tipo: Ficción Inicio: 1 de julio, 2011 Finalizado: 15 de julio, 2011 Páginas: 279 Tras una serie de libros de corte histórico, Isabel Allende volvió a la ficción. Investigando un poquito sobre el libro antes de iniciarlo, … Continue reading

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La Sombra del Viento

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Por Carlos Ruiz Zafon Tipo: Ficción Inicio: 4 de marzo, 2005 Finalizado: 19 de marzo, 2005 Páginas: 479 Crítica por Michelle Lopez Click here for review in English El talento literario de Carlos Ruiz Zafón envuelve a los protagonistas de … Continue reading

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Marco Polo

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By Laurence Bergreen Type: Non Fiction Started: May 16, 2011 Finished: July 8, 2011 Pages: 432 (16.5 Hr Audiobook) We have all heard of the greatest traveler of all time. We’ve all heard about his travels to faraway lands. We’ve … Continue reading

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In the Garden of Beasts

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By Erik Larson Type: Non Fiction Started: June 12, 2011 Finished: July 1, 2011 Pages: 464 Pages There is no doubt that Eric Larson has become one of the master story tellers of our time. Not only his books are … Continue reading

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Books, A Memoir

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By Larry McMurtry Type: Non Fiction Started: May 17, 2011 Finished: June 28, 2011 Pages: 259 I learned about the existence of this book while reading “The Man Who Loved Books Too Much”, by Allison Hoover Bartlett. I liked the … Continue reading

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La Otra Isla

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Por Francisco Suniaga Tipo: Ficción Inicio: 11 de junio, 2011 Finalizado: 11 de junio, 2011 Páginas: 258 Me enteré de la existencia de Francisco Suniaga leyendo “El Pasajero de Truman”. Me pareció tan maravilloso que me puse a buscar nuevas … Continue reading

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The Prince

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By Niccolo Machiavelli Type: Non Fiction Started: May 31, 2011 Finished: Now reading Pages: 79 Pages “A Prince ought to have no other aim or thought, nor select anything else for his study, than war and its rules and discipline; … Continue reading

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Barnes & Noble New Nook: Just Amazing

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Commentary Last Sunday I walked into Barnes & Noble, as I do at least once a week, and I was greeted at the door by something I’ve never seen: A little Nook. This one was about half the size of … Continue reading

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Chasing Moonlight

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By Brett Friedlander and Robert Reising Type: Non Fiction Started: May 10, 2011 Finished: May 17, 2011 Pages: 208 Pages As anyone may expect, I picked up this book in order to learn about Doctor Archibald Wright “Moonlight” Graham, the … Continue reading

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Redes Sociales Para Todos

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Por Ana María Jaramillo Tipo: No Ficción Inicio: 18 de Mayo, 2011 Finalizado: 19 de Mayo, 2011 Páginas: 202 Redes Sociales Para Todos más que el título de este libro es un concepto. Se trata de cómo sacarle provecho a … Continue reading

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Something Wrong With This Picture

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Commentary I was listening to the New York Times Books podcast late last week when and heard something weird when they talked about the current non-fiction list of best sellers. Tell me if you see anything weird with this list? … Continue reading

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Atlantic

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By Simon Winchester Type: Non Fiction Started: March 21, 2011 Finished: May 13, 2011 Pages: 495 Pages (14.5 Hrs audiobook) I love Simon Winchester’s books. He’s one of those few authors that you read anything they write just because it’s … Continue reading

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Pasion India

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Por Javier Moro Tipo: No Ficción Inicio: 15 de abril, 2011 Finalizado: 9 de mayo, 2011 Páginas: 441 El tema de la India nunca ha sido necesariamente de mi predilección. Comencé a leer este libro porque se me había acabado … Continue reading

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Is This The Real Life?

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By Mark Blake Type: Non Fiction Started: April 5, 2011 Finished: May 2, 2011 Pages: 393 Let’s start by stating that Queen was my favorite music group while I was growing up and it is still my favorite as I … Continue reading

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One Year With My Nook

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By Adolfo Salgueiro As much as I wanted to avoid it, the eBook was slowly creeping on me until it was right there. I couldn’t pretend any longer. I have been researching eBook reader options for months until I realized … Continue reading

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Four books at a time is too much

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Commentary It is not unnatural for someone to read more than one book at a time. It is cool to read about two totally different subjects. This way if you feel like reading something light, you can; and if you … Continue reading

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El Patón Carrasquel

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Por Carlos Figueroa Ruiz, Carlos Alarico Gómez y Javier González Tipo: No Ficción Inicio: 28 de febrero, 2011 Finalizado: 7 de abril, 2011 Páginas: 389 Todos los venezolanos que seguimos el beisbol profesional sabemos “al caletre” quién fue el primer … Continue reading

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Jet Age

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By Sam Howe Verhovek Type: Non Fiction Started: March 29, 2011 Finished: April  4, 2010 Pages: 272 Pages The subtitle for this book is “The Comet, the 707 and the Race to Shrink the World” and it is very interesting … Continue reading

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The Emperor of All Maladies

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By Siddhartha Mukherjee Type: Non Fiction Started: Want to Read Finished: Pages: 592 This book caught my eye because it was named one of The New York Times 10 best books of 2010. Many of those who know me are … Continue reading

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WordPress For Dummies

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By Lisa Sabin-Wilson Type: Non Fiction Started: March 22, 2011 Finished: March 28, 2011 Pages: 380 I started reading this book because I needed to set up a website immediately. A friend I asked for advice told me the best … Continue reading

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Unbroken

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By Laura Hillenbrand Type: Non Fiction Started: February 17, 2011 Finished: March 21, 2011 Pages: 473 pp (14.5 Hr Audiobook) Louis Zamperini has an incredible story and Laura Hillenbrand did a very good job conveying it but she could have … Continue reading

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Rabbi Paul

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By Bruce Chilton Type: Non Fiction Started: Februay 12, 2011 Finished: March 15, 2011 Pages: 336 I am a Christian, a believer and a fairly educated man when it comes to his faith, who has read the Bible and without … Continue reading

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Decision Points

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By George W. Bush Type: Non Fiction Started: February 7, 2011 Finished: February 17, 2011 Pages: 7.0 Hr Audiobook I heard this audiobook just to try to understand how a guy like this was able to lead our country for … Continue reading

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Higher

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By Neal Bascomb Type: Non Fiction Started: January 16, 2011 Finished: February 10, 2011 Pages: 336 We’ve all been to NY and have marveled at the Empire State and the Chrysler Building. We’ve heard about the Woolworth and have marveled … Continue reading

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The Ghost Map

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By Steven Johnson Type: Non Fiction Started: Jnuary 17, 2011 Finished: February 5, 2011 Pages: 320 (8.5 Hr Audiobook) The Ghost Map: The Story of London’s Most Terrifying Epidemic–and How It Changed Science, Cities, and the Modern World, is a … Continue reading

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El Sueño del Celta

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Por Mario Vargas Llosa Tipo: Ficción Inicio: 20 de diciembre, 2010 Finalizado: 14 de enero, 2011 Páginas: 454 Me gusta Mario Vargas Llosa desde que en 4to año de secundaria me obligaron a leer “La Guerra del Fin del Mundo”. … Continue reading

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At Home

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By Bill Bryson Type: Non Fiction Started: December 13, 2010 Finished: January 14, 2011 Pages: 515 (16.5 Hr Audiobook) Let’s start by saying I love Bill Bryson. I pick up his books just because he writes them, regardless of the … Continue reading

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Brunelleschi’s Dome

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By Ross King Type: Non Fiction Started: December 9, 2010 Finished: December 19, 2010 Pages: 167 This book, subtitled: “How a Renaissance Genius Reinvented Architecture” is the fascinating story of Filippo Brunelleschi and how he build the dome that crowns … Continue reading

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The Last Lecture

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By Randy Paush Type: Non Fiction Started: December 1, 2010 Finished: December 9, 2010 Pages: 224 (4 Hrs Audiobook) A nice perspective of life from someone that is about to die and wants to leave something to his three young … Continue reading

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Femme Fatale

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By Pat Shipman Type: Non Fiction Started: November 16, 2010 Finished: December 9, 2010 Pages: 464 This book has two parts. The first one is awesome. It tells the story of Zelle MacLeod and why she turns in to Mata … Continue reading

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Michelangelo: Biography of a Genius

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By Bruno Nardini Type: Non Fiction Started: November 30, 2010 Finished: December 6, 2010 Pages: 190 A quick biography on one of the greatest artistic minds in the history of the world. A guy capable of producing the Sistine Chapel’s … Continue reading

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So You Want To Be a Major Leaguer?

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By Cy Block Type: Non Fiction Started: November 15, 2010 Finished: November 16, 2010 Pages: 120 (2Hr Audiobook) A quick and interesting read (or hear in my case) from a fringe major leaguer in the 1940s. It has a good … Continue reading

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Rome 1960

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By Dave Maraniss Type: Non Fiction Started: October 29, 2010 Finished: November 15, 2010 Pages: 431 The subtitle of this book is “The Olympics That Changed the World” and as far as I can tell, the Olympic Games are what … Continue reading

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The Grand Design

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By Stephen Hawking and Leonard Mlodinow Type: Non Fiction Started: October 28, 2010 Finished: November 5, 2010 Pages: 208 (4.5 Hr Audiobook) The parts that I could understand seemed very interesting but it is definitely not a book for everybody. … Continue reading

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Ada Blackjack

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By Jennifer Niven Type: Non Fiction Started: October 5, 2010 Finished: October 28, 2010 Pages: 394 Thee title is a little bit misleading since Ada isjust one of the five main characters, not the only main one. The subtitle: “A … Continue reading

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Where Men Win Glory

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By Jon Krakauer Type: Non Fiction Started: August 10, 2010 Finished: September 24, 2010 Pages: 480 (13 Hrs  Audiobook) I started reading this book only because it was a Krakauer book, not because I care too much about Pat Tillman, … Continue reading

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Two Sides of the Moon

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By David Scott and Alexei Leonov Type: Non Fiction Started: August 9, 2010 Finished: August 26, 2010 Pages: 390 Pages This book is a great read for anybody interested in space exploration and/or the race to the moon. It is … Continue reading

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Freddie Mercury

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By Paul Freestone Type: Non Fiction Started: July 20, 2010 Finished: August 8, 2010 Pages: 243 Pages A must read for any Freddie Mercury or Queen fan. Not by any means the ultimate biography but definitely an interesting point of … Continue reading

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The Perfect Mile

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By Neal Bascomb Type: Non Fiction Started: May 25, 2010 Finished: July 20, 2010 Pages: 344 (14 Hr Audiobook) This is a powerful and well taught story about human beings reaching their physical limits in a time when the science … Continue reading

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Clearing the Bases

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By Mike Schmidt Type: Non Fiction Started: June 10, 2010 Finished: June 28, 2010 Pages: 199 Pages It was a very interesting book from my all-time favorite player. He touches on his career for half of the book and expresses … Continue reading

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Blockade Billy

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By Stephen King Type: Fiction Started: June 4, 2010 Finished: June 6, 2010 Pages: 49 It is hard to believe that an accomplished story teller like this can write such a crappy tale like this. Especially being an avid baseball … Continue reading

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Venezuelan Bust, Baseball Boom

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By Milton Jamail Type: Non Fiction Started: May 19, 2010 Finished: June 3, 2010 Pages: 284 I met Milton Jamail in the Estadio Universitario de Caracas during my days as a baseball journalist in Venezuela. Milton was not just passionate … Continue reading

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Fifty-Nine in ’84

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By Edward Achorn Type: Non Fiction Started: April 4, 2010 Finished: April 20, 2010 Pages: 306 Pages This was a surprisingly good read. I thought I would read about Old Hoss Radbourn and some of his teammates, but I got … Continue reading

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Three Cups of Tea

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By Greg Mortenson and Oliver Relin Type: Non Fiction Started: December 22, 2009 Finished: January 16, 2010 Pages: 338 Greg Mortenson is a remarkable man and his job is as remarkable as him. The subtitle of this book is “One … Continue reading

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Have a Little Faith

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By Mitch Albom Type: Non Fiction Started: November 28, 2009 Finished: December 5, 2009 Pages: 254 In the best Mitch Albom’s tradition, a nice story that touches your soul, makes you think and somehow changes your life, even if it … Continue reading

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Past Due: The End of Easy Money and the Renewal of the American Economy

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By Peter S. Goodman Type: Non Fiction Started: October 17, 2009 Finished: October 30, 2009 Pages: 285 We all had a good idea on how the whole economic meltdown started, but this is so well put together that even if … Continue reading

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How Starbucks Saved My Life

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By Michael Gates Gill Type: Non Fiction Started: September 20th, 2009 Finished: September 27th, 2009 Pages: 269 The subtitle of this book is as provocative as the title: “A Son of Privilege Learns to Live Like Everyone Else”. With both of them put together … Continue reading

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A Saint on Death Row

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By Thomas Cahill Type: Non Fiction Started: June 22, 2009 Finished: July 7, 2009 Pages: 160 (3.5 Hr Audiobook) This book is the story of a guy that never had a chance in life. Born in the wrong side of the tracks, with … Continue reading

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Night

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By Eli Wiesel Type: Non Fiction Started: June 15th, 2009 Finished: June 20th, 2009 Pages: 144 Wow!!! There are plenty of books out there that describe the horrors of the Holocaust. Now, this is one of the first things ever written not about what … Continue reading

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La Sociedad de la Nieve

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Por Pablo Vierci Tipo: No Ficción Inicio: 17 de Mayo, 2009 Finalizado: 30 de Mayo, 2009 Páginas: 361 Es interesante como un libro de una de las tragedias e historias de supervivencia más espectaculares de la historia de la humanidad … Continue reading

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Replay

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By Ken Grimwood Type: Fiction Started: October 23, 2008 Finished: November 20, 2008 Pages: 320 (10Hr Audiobook) This book was a total surprise.This guy dies and comes back as a teenager but with the same brain he had at the … Continue reading

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Driving Mr. Albert: A Trip Across America with Einstein’s Brain

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By Michael Paterniti Type: Non Fiction Started: July 28, 2008 Finished: August 10, 2008 Pages: 207 It was just OK. It was funny at times and boring some other times. This is the story of a random guy that ends up with a part of … Continue reading

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