Saturday, November 10, 2012
Review: I Run, Therefore I Am Still Nuts (2012)
Is there anything more subjective than written humor? Probably not.
Everyone has a different reaction to attempts to be funny on the printed page. What strikes one person as flat out hilarious leaves another cold.
That brings us to "I Run, Therefore I Am Still Nuts!"
Bob Schwartz wrote a book that mixed running with humor more than a decade ago. If you've visited the running section of the bookstore over that time, you've probably seen it. I've done that, but moved along pretty quickly.
A review copy for the sequel came along recently, giving the chance at an honest try at reading it. For me, at least, it fell short.
The book is essentially a collection of stories or essays (43 in fact) about the sport. (By the way, each chapter gets a cute illustration - good work by B.K. Taylor, who has a nice style.) Schwartz obviously has been a good runner in his long career, breaking three hours in marathons. He's also run long enough to realize that his best days are behind him, and like all of us is doing his best to avoid the march of Father Time.
Is this a case of some essays are better than others? Well, no. I wish I could use the "the essays are good one at a time, but a collection is a little difficult" excuse, but I can't. Let's give a "for instance." One essay is about a trip to the doctor, as Schwartz worries what the diagnosis will be when the doctor is done taking a look. The author works hard to make comments along the way as he tells the story, but I just didn't think the situation lent itself to laughs too well.
It's all done good-naturedly - Schwartz probably would be good company for a run - and in a slightly technical way. In other words, maybe veteran long-distance runners (as in half-marathoners or marathoners) will pick up on the humor a bit more than I did..
The problem, from my perspective, is that there's a good chance you might disagree with my reaction. Schwartz has written a few books over the years, and has been nominated for several awards in the humor column. The comments on Amazon.com about the first book are glowing. If it comes down to "is this funny?" I get the feeling I'm on the outside looking in.
So use my technique and carry "I Run, Therefore I Am Still Nuts!" over to a chair at the bookstore, or read the sample chapters on Amazon.com. The odds are at least good that you'll think I had something of a sense of humor transplant somewhere along the way.
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