Check out Lambley’s recommendations below:
*A note from Bryce: Five of my favorite books follow. The first two ARE my favorite books. The next three are just a trio of my varsity lineup:
This is the cult classic for serious distance runners and I find it inspirational to this day. It is the semi-autobiographical story of an elite college runner Quenton Cassidy trying to excel at an extremely high level at a very demanding, difficult sport while also balancing a college life full of the usual tomfoolery, girlfriends, and pressures of any young man leaving adolescence behind and growing up. A fascinating book written by someone who genuinely spent time in the very trenches he describes more accurately than anyone I’m aware of. It has motivated runners of all ages since its release in 1978, and I have gifted copies of it and its sequel below to many good friends over the years.
The much-anticipated sequel to Once A Runner that most fans truly doubted would ever happen (it took until 2007 for it to be published). For this reader, it did not disappoint and in many ways it is even better than OAR. I say that probably because I have matured, and so did the hero of our first book. Matured into the often mundane world of adulthood and making a living and forming new relationships, while still considering former relationships and having other desires and dreams–professional and personal–lurking unseen and unquenched beneath the surface. Again To Carthage finds Quenton Cassidy not quite ready to completely close the book on his running goals just yet. There is a ton of “real life” woven into this meandering tale that related to me deeply in my own different, but parallel realm. To completely appreciate this book, one must first read OAR.
Maybe this book is on the list because it takes me back to college and a Science Fiction course I took only to finish my English requirements in earning my degree. Science fiction was not a favorite genre, but the class proved better than anticipated and this particular title was the best of the lot. But I think there is more to it than just trying to step back into college. This is the story of a man wanting to revisit his past, and perhaps even atone for a part of it, on a planet that Earth had colonized and disrespected the local resident species. These major species, the nildor and sulidor, were considered animals by the human colonizers but perhaps there is more than meets the eye here for the keen observer. The book’s protagonist is determined to find out, even at the risk of his own life.
The longtime columnist for Sports Afield is a master at seeing the humor that weaves its way in and out of the outdoor sporting world. Like the previously mentioned titles, I frequently pause to admire his writing skill and grudgingly admit that I wish it was I who had penned that. Many of my own more humorous columns are in the same vein as Heavey’s and I am reminded I still have a fair bit to go.
Nothing incredible about the literature here, but a detailed book that transports the reader back into the West when it truly was wild (1834-1843). The author’s diary provides a glimpse into the harrowing and fascinating world of the mountain man, the Native American, and the still-unspoiled vistas of the American West. For me, it tantalizes the outdoorsman in me with the hunting and trapping tales, but also ignites my passion for history before the hordes of settlers tamed this wild country forever.