17 June 2010 – Suggested Readings

June 17th, 2010 § 15 comments

17 June 2010, originally uploaded by academichic.


  • Plaid tunic button down – Zara
  • Gray tank – Hanes
  • Skinnies – S.Oliver
  • Orange sandals – American Eagle
  • Scarf – Echo Design
  • Silver cuff – gift from dad


So here’s another incarnation of my ‘uniform’ look that I last wrote about. Except I’ve switched out the flats for orange sandals. This for two reasons: I like how the orange sandals pick up the shades of orange in the plaid button down tunic without being too matchy-matchy, and my much worn Palladium flats have finally been retired after four years of faithful service and many many miles together. They tore at last and I’m putting them to rest in Europe, where we have shared many a pleasant trip together. Thank you, Palladium flats, you were a wise purchase indeed.

So it was in this comfy reiteration of the same look I’ve been sporting for a while now that I enjoyed yesterday’s day despite the rain and clouds.I took cover in one of my favorite bookshops in Munich – the five floored Hugendubel on Marienplatz – and cozied up in their top floor cafe with a hot mint tea, a good cycling book, and some intermittent people watching on the square below…

Cycle Readings, originally uploaded by academichic.
Rainy days in Munich, originally uploaded by academichic.

The second challenge for the LGRAB Summer Games included reading a book on cycling, so I began that task with Mark Beaumont’s The Man Who Cycled The World. Beaumont writes about his adventures riding over 18,000 miles on his bike in 194 days and 17 hours (making him the new world record holder). This book is his personal account of that incredible and often painful yet undoubtedly amazing journey on his bike.

I love reading books about the sports I enjoy, such as running and now cycling. (So the girls over at Let’s Go Ride a Bike didn’t really need to twist my arm with this one). But I’ve never been one to get all technical and read about the mechanics of said sport. Rather, I really love a good adventure memoir that focuses on the thrill, excitement, and discovery resulting from engaging in a given activity. I also like historical or theoretical readings on the development of a sport, which trace the social response to and understanding of said activity. Some of my favorite reads on these topics are:


McDougall, Christopher. Born to Run. A Hidden Tribe, Super Athletes, and the Greatest Race the World has Never Seen. Knopf, 2009.

(This one made me seriously think that I should be running ultras. It just made me fall in love with the art of running all over again.)

Murakami, Haruki. What I Talk About When I Talk About Running. Knopf, 2008.

(I put it down and vowed to also run one marathon a year for the rest of my life. So I’m not really going to be able to do that, but I still think the book is beautiful and brilliant).


Mackintosh, Philip Gordon and Glen Norcliffe. “Men, Women and the Bicycle: Gender and Social Geography of Cycling in the Late Nineteenth-Century.” Cycling and Society. Eds. Dave Horton, Paul Rosen and Peter Cox. Burlington: Ashgate, 2007. 153-177.

Oddy, Nicholas. “Bicycles.” The Gendered Object. Ed. Pat Kirkham. New York: Manchester University Press, 1996. 60-69.

Simpson, Clare S. “Capitalising on Curiosity: Women’s Professional Cycle Racing in the Late-Nineteenth Century.” Cycling and Society. Eds. Dave Horton, Paul Rosen and Peter Cox. Burlington: Ashgate, 2007. 47-65.

(All really great and accessible articles on the social development of cycling and the gendered aspects of said activity, especially in the early stages on bicycle development).

Aesthetics and Sport in General:

Gumbrecht, Hans Ullrich. In Praise of Althletic Beauty. Harvard University Press, 2006.

(A beautiful and moving book on the aesthetics of athletics. I read this for a class on aesthetics a few years back and have since reread it for pleasure. Gumbrecht is a professor at Stanford University and I had the pleasure of meeting him shortly before coming to Germany. I had him autograph my book. Yes, I’m an academic groupie).

Do you have any great adventure memoirs you’d recommend? What are some of the books (aesthetics or athletics related) that have moved you? I’d love to get your reading tips! S.

17 June 2010, originally uploaded by academichic.

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§ 15 Responses to 17 June 2010 – Suggested Readings"

  1. brockett says:

    Haruki Murakami’s What I Talk about When I Talk about Running is a great read! especially if you enjoy Murakami’s novels. This is a very different book: half about running and half insight into the author himself.

    Love this blog! Thanks for sharing.

  2. Dottie says:

    Thanks for the recommendations! I haven’t read any of those books. I’m a sucker for wonky books, so Pedaling Revolution is on the top of my list. In the adventure memoir category, I really enjoyed David Byrne’s Bicycle Diaries, which does read like a diary of the most interesting and coolest person ever. For Christmas I bought my husband several running books he had on his list, including Born to Run, and he devoured them. Now he has a whole new perspective on running and, like you, a renewed passion.

    I love reading your entries!!

  3. EmilyKennedy says:

    This is really cute. I can see your Paladium strap tan!

  4. admin says:

    @Brockett – I can’t believe I forgot that one! I love Murakami’s book, I knew I was missing something! Thanks for the reminder, I’m adding it to my post :)

    @Dottie – thanks for the tips, I’m excited to look into those! And if Mr. Dottie wants to share some of his favorite running books titles, I’d be happy to get those too. Born to Run is definitely awesome, it made me start to feel like running marathons is a ‘short’ run…I’ve since come back down to reality though :)

    @EmilyKennedy – haha, yes, I have the worst Palladium strap tan! It’s actually fading a little… but I like to think of it as a nice little remnant from my four year love affair with said shoes.


  5. Lucy says:

    I love the Hugendubel at Marienplatz! It’s one of my favourite places in downtown Muenchen. And your outfit is really cute — those orange sandals proved to me over the iterations I’ve seen here that brightly colored sandals really are the best neutrals.

  6. Lauren T says:

    “A Walk Across America” by Peter Jenkins – about an epic hike and the people that Jenkins meets along the way. It was really, really good.

  7. Well, I’ll nerd this thread up a little bit by suggesting Jacques Ranciere’s “The Politics of Aesthetics.” It’s been really helpful for me in thinking through the power of aesthetics as a system of evaluation.

    And if you like that, the follow-up is “Aesthetics and Its Discontents.”

  8. And I really like this 3/4 length sleeve on you, especially juxtaposed with the tunic-length of the top.

  9. Frances Joy says:

    I guess this kind of fits into your “adventure memoir” category, but I absolutely LOVED “Catfish and Mandala” by Andrew X. Pham. Basically, he rides his bike through Vietnam. It’s fascinating, but be warned, you’ll want to cycle through South East Asia once you’re done reading.


  10. Lena says:

    I love your Palladium flats! I have a question, though. How do you keep them from getting stinky since you wear them without socks? That is my biggest problem with adorable flats.

  11. Ris says:

    I absolutely love “A Walk in the Woods” by Bill Bryson. It’s about hiking the Appalachian Trail. Technically he’s made his name as a travel writer but he’s very informative and laugh-out-loud hilarious. I highly recommend this book.

  12. admin says:

    @Lena – yes, stinky flats is a problem. I had that same problem with my Palladiums since they were leather and didn’t breathe too well and I never used socks. I have tried natural remedies I read about online – baking powder, I think vinegar, etc. but none really worked.

    Part 1 was just accepting that they smelled. Part 2 was trying to get the small to a minimum. What did work was a shoe spray I got in Germany a couple of years ago that was meant to eat up odor. I’d spray them at night and leave it to dry until morning.

    I also got shoe inserts that eat up odor this year here. They were a German brand, but I got them at the local drugstore and assume Walgreens or the likes would have something like that in the US. They were cheap – around 2 Eu for a pack of 7 – and I changed them out about once a week. I think this was the most effective method.

    Needless to say, my husband was not all too sad to see them go because of the smell but I gladly accepted the small in exchange for how comfortable and useful they were to me.

    I’d love to hear if others have better ideas or solutions!

    @Ris – I’ve read a Walk in the Woods so many time, I love it! I didn’t include it bc it technically isn’t a running or cycling book but I should have. I’ve read everything Bill Bryson has written, he’s one of my favorite authors. I actually just saw at the bookstore – during this same visit I posted about – that he has a new book out called “At Home: A Short History of your Private Life” which I’m now excited to get my hands on.


  13. K says:

    “Across African Sand” by Phil Deutschle is a GREAT cycling memoir. He bikes across the Kalahari during a break from teaching at a local Botswana school. Excellent read.

  14. [...] at Academichic has a few ideas as well. I’m adding The Man Who Cycled the World to my bike-related reading list. Anything else we [...]

  15. [...] a bike date in Munich; followed by another bike date/group ride in Prague; sticking my nose in some bike-centric literature; and finally, decorating and utilizing my bike for its carting capabilities. The Games are now in [...]

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