The Terrible and Wonderful Reasons Why I Run Long Distances by Matthew Inman (the Oatmeal)

run long

I have read The Oatmeal for years, and generally like it and sometimes adore it (the comic on loading the dishwasher, for instance, explains my relationship with my dishwasher pretty well, though I will load the thing if my husband is in France and no other options are available). But with this particular comic about running (and eating, and bees…part of what I love about this book is the tangents), I get the impression that Matthew Inman can actually see inside my mind and has written a book that says everything I have ever secretly thought and believed about running. And eating. And my own propensity to exercise only as a means to eat more fried foods. If you have ever found yourself adopting an exercise regimen only because you lack the willpower to follow a healthy diet, this book is for you.

It’s good to read it online, of course, but way better to buy the book because not only does Inman probably get paid more for his brilliance if you buy it, it comes with Blerch and 0.0 stickers. This sticker might actually break my resolve not to put bumper stickers on my car. Also, the book has the bonus tangent section about the Japanese bees that kill wasps, which makes it educational.

If you like Allie Brosch’s Hyperbole and a Half, or Randall Munroe’s XKCD, or…fill in your favorite irreverent, quirky comic here…, you might like this book. If you like running in particular, you will like it even more. Incidentally, I was unreasonably pleased that Inman mentions Haruki Murakami’s What I Talk About When I Talk About Running in this book – until this book came out, Murakami’s book had been my favorite running book ever. I guess now I’ll have to have two favorites? Well, there’s also Born to Run : a Hidden Tribe, Superathletes, and the Greatest Race the World Has Never Seen by Christopher McDougall, which is up there, too. Maybe I should stop reading about running and go for a run or something.



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