We loved this memoir by Emily Pifer, former collegiate track and field runner for Ohio University. Emily chronicles her journey in developing an eating disorder while on the team, and how a culture of ‘thinner is better’ can insidiously spread amongst teammates. Her writing style is unique, and really draws you into the inner workings of a mind overcome by anorexia nervosa. The book is at the same time heartbreaking, when she describes the mental and physical ramifications of starvation, and hopeful, as she chronicles her recovery and acceptance of a new, healthier body.
Lauren Fleshman is an elite runner that has represented USA on the world stage. Her memoir, “Good For A Girl: A Woman Running In A Man’s World”, is a must read for anyone that is, knows, or supports a female in athletics. Lauren’s vulnerability and honesty in recounting her experiences in sport makes you feel as if you are getting an intimate view into her life, both as an athlete, and of the complicated relationship with her father, which was an integral part of her development as a runner.
In the discourse surrounding eating disorders, the two that are most often discussed are anorexia nervosa, and bulimia nervosa. However, orthorexia can be equally as damaging and disabling to one’s life. In the era of social media and food Instagram pages, there seems to be value attached to “eating clean” and choosing “good” foods over “bad” foods (there is no such thing!). Yes, it’s important to be mindful of what we put in our body, but the path towards healthy eating can lead to a dangerous obsession that has serious health consequences, both mental and physical.
This book does a great dive into the world of youth athletics, and the increasing pressures placed on children in sport. It specifically looks into the role that parents play, and explores the fine line between encouraging children to reach their potential, or living vicariously through their children’s accomplishments. The book gives compelling yet disturbing accounts of children who were pushed by their parents and/or coaches to compete through serious injuries, and how these experiences had lifelong psychological effects.
This book opened our eyes to one of the most heartbreaking parts of Canadian history. The Five Little Indians by Michelle Good is a true tear-jerker as it walks you through the interweaving and connected stories of Kenny, Lucy, Clara, Howie and Maisie during and after their life in residential school. It does not save the reader from the reality these children faced, this book shows how every child who stepped through residential school doors was robbed of a typical childhood experience often romanticized in North-American culture.
We couldn’t put this book down once we started reading it. When it comes to running shoes and running gear, Nike has been a go-to for many runners, from beginner to elite. This book does a deep-dive into the recent controversy surrounding Nike and the training groups they support. The details and facts are unsettling, and one thing becomes clear – although there have been no overt illegal practices, Nike seems to have a pattern of supporting practices that fall into a grey area of riding the fine line between cutting edge and unethical.
This engaging book is a compilation of stories from 50 of the best female distance runners in history. The athletes share what they have learned from their years in the sport with regards to training, nutrition, mental health, and much more.
This book by Blair Imani is a must-read for anyone wanting to gain a solid, foundational knowledge of important societal topics including identity, relationships, class, disability, race, and racism, as well as sexuality and gender.
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This book is a groundbreaking masterpiece that sheds light on how trauma reshapes the brain, compromising sufferers’ ability to experience life in the same way that others do. It details how neural pathways are affected in such a way that trauma sufferers cannot experience pleasure, engage with others, or exhibit self-control or trust in the same way as someone who has not experienced pervasive trauma. The book also describes in detail the diagnosis of Complex Post Traumatic Stress Disorder (CPTSD), which usually arises from a pervasive pattern of emotional, physical, or sexual abuse during childhood.
And now for something completely different: Mom Genes is a fascinating look at the most recent research on the biological and psychological changes that happen as woman evolves into motherhood. So often researchers focus on fetal and childhood development without considering the massive changes that happen to the woman carrying the child as her body prepares for this new exciting, but challenging, journey.
This character-driven novel follows the Walsh-Adams family as they navigate the highs and lows of life, raising a family, and doing what is right for their child with gender dysphoria. While the story delves into the charming and unique characters of parents, Penn and Rosie, and all five children, it particularly focuses on the youngest child. Vibrant and sweet, when Claude is asked what he wants to be when he grows up, he wholeheartedly states he would like to be a girl.
The Clockmaker’s Daughter is so much more than your typical ghost story. Told by the perspective of multiple characters over several generations it primarily features the stories of two main female protagonists: Albertine “Birdie” Bell, a young woman who tragically loses her life in 19th century England and appears as a ghost throughout the book, and Elodie Winslow a young archivist in 2017 London who starts to uncover the mysterious story behind Birdie’s death.
Rachel Joyce embarks us on an emotional journey when she introduces us to the likeable, yet fallible character Harold Fry. His spontaneous pilgrimage to find Queenie, his dying friend, becomes more of a journey to find himself, and to make sense of his relationship with his wife, and son. You’ll laugh, you’ll cry, you’ll find yourself relating to Harold’s humanistic qualities. Joyce has an uncanny ability to make us see ourselves through Harold, and don’t be surprised if you find yourself doing your own soul searching when reading this book. Highly recommended read if you are yearning for a great fiction book!
"A Mind Spread Out on the Ground", a title derived from the Mohawk translation of depression, is a brilliant collection of essays focused on a variety of topics including anti-indigenous racism, colonialism, mental illness, sexual assault, poverty, indigenous representation, trauma, and so much more. Alicia Elliott shares her lived-experiences and in-depth understanding of crucial subjects while impressing readers with beautiful prose. This book is an indispensable resource for those who are wanting to gain insight and view important new perspectives on some of the most pressing issues that society is facing today.
Refusing to fit into one box, Alexi Pappas is not only an Olympic distance runner, but also an actress, filmmaker, and talented writer as demonstrated in this recent memoir. Pappas recounts both the highs and lows of her life, including her journey to the Olympics, losing her mother to suicide at a young age, her struggles with post-Olympic depression and body image, as well as her search for strong female role models.
Not technically fiction, this book is an autobiography written by Tara Westover – an American Author who has a Ph.D. in history from Cambridge. Tara was born in Idaho to a survivalist who opposed public education; she spent her childhood working for her parent’s junkyard and largely educating herself, first setting foot in a classroom at the age of 17.