I was reading this book while running the other day....

Time, so they tell me, is precious.
As a father of three awesome, motivated and active kids; as a generous and loving husband (collector of more hubbie points than anyone in my neighbourhood); as a busy and very important lawyer (in certain respected and well-spaced circles); as a member of an elite crew of crazy Cow people; as an inspired sportsman; as the 78,065,385,909th person (more or less) to have ever lived on planet Earth; I find that I don't have much free time, let alone experience spare time to read.   

Sure when I lived in the UK it was easy. Lock me in a tin can called The Tube two to three hours every day, give me access to a postal system that drops bundles of books at your front door within 24 hours of purchase, and I tend to make my way pretty rapidly through quite a few books.

However now I reside in the playground called Johannesburg (South Africa of course - look at the bottom of the African continent) with my rabble of children who require my undivided attention, and I find that ingesting literature is a luxury. I have a sorry stack of books next to my bedside table which look at me longingly and with disdain. As they gather dust. And sulk.

Not to be overwhelmed by my current state of affairs, with surrender an unlikely option, I have embraced my technological age and allowed for an iPod to be acquired for me. This gadget coupled with my sporting engagements, which involve lots of sweat and time for reflection, has allowed me once again to re-enter the literary world.

There are plenty of books out there. Some are horrible and, although I hate unfinished business, if the author fails to keep your attention for the first few chapters (100 pages at most) then alas that book should be jettisoned into a heap and set alight. Even blogs should fit into this category. Except don't set them alight - that'd be logistically tricky and potentially dangerous. If you can't get through the first 5 paragraphs of a blog without a glimpse of enlightenment then you should banish the blogger to the cyber bin. And that goes for this blog too. Unless you are my friend. Then you should stay on. It's the right thing to do.

So word-of-mouth recommendations for books is an absolute necessity. A sieve to ensure that you maximise your reading pleasure. Here are my recent books I have had spoken to me via my iPod whilst running.

11/22/63 - Stephen King
I was never a Steven King fan during my youth. This was mainly because my brother Stef could never get over watching The Shining and seeing all that blood seeping out of the walls. That stuff affects your childhood. 11/22/63 came recommended by my online bookshop. They've seen what I've read and knew I'd like this. Very clever people. The story is about a guy who travels back in time and decides he is going to stop Lee Harvey Oswald from assassinating JFK. It's like Back To The Future mixed with the History Channel. Faction at its best.

When you are Engulfed in Flames - David Sedaris
A good friend of mine from New York, Blair Fethers, a photographic artiste of note, recommended David Sedaris to me several years ago. Blair knows me well. Since then I have read everything Mr Sedaris has to offer. I have an automatic notifier every time he releases a new book and, to date, I have never been disappointed. WYAEIF is another pearler of a book. He writes like you think Hemingway would write, before you actually read Hemingway. He shows a humorous side of the world and an introspection that is bee-oo-tee-ful.

Flanagan's Run - Tom McNab
This book was inadvertently recommended to me from a runner's Ultra Marathon race report on the Barkley 100 Miler. If ultra guys remember the name of the book, chances are it's a good read. Flanagan's Run is a bit like Chariots of Fire goes Cross Country. It helps if you like running or books that make you google whether it actually happened or not.
Endurance: Shackleton's Incredible Voyage - Alfred Lansing
The same Barkley runner spoke about Lansing's "Endurance". For all you polar sadomasochists out there, this is a must read! It has everything from ice caps to frost bite to imminent death at every turn of the page. You'll never complain again about the cold or hunger after this book. And this confirms what I have thought for some time now, Man is getting soft the more he evolves. 

Boomerang - Michael Lewis
My brother Stef recommended Boomerang. It's an informative read about the world's economic crisis that makes you feel intelligent and provides you with an arsenal of anecdotes that allows you to speak to bankers and economists at dinner parties with ease. You'll never look at Iceland or Greece again without thinking of this book. 
Happy reading and happy trails,