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3 Quick Non-Fiction Picks

by on July 30th, 2012
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The Iowa City Public Library is happy to welcome its first Guest Blogger, Lisa Edwards.

Growing up, I almost always had a book with me and made time to read often. I loved getting lost in fiction stories, and never thought I would be one for non-fiction books. I thought biographies would be stuffy and boring, and why would I research anything outside of school? As I got older, I got busier (or lazier), and had a hard time even finishing readings for class, so my library card became lonely.

Now that I’ve gone through the motions and graduated college, I find myself craving books and regret skimping on homework in school. Motivated by interests and desire for knowledge, I’ve wandered into the non-fiction section more in the past year than I have in most of my five years of college. From autobiographies to athletic training, I’ve hit a range of topics lately, and I’m going to touch on three of my recent favorites.

10-Minute Toughness: The Mental Exercise Program for Winning Before the Game Begins by Jason Selk – I’ve always been naturally athletic, and very competitive, so I never thought it would be my head that would trip up my feet. A year after living in Iowa City, I joined the Old Capitol City Roller Girls and am now in my fourth year with them. As a chaotic, hard-hitting sport, I knew that I would physically get frustrated, but was utterly paralyzed during a couple of bouts when I mentally gave up. Knowing there was a deeper problem, I set off to the Library in search of sports psychology books. I came across Selk’s book and absolutely loved it. He is not only a performance coach for many professional and Olympic athletes, but provides mental training for the business world as well.

He lays out a very thorough, yet simple plan to help get your mental game into tip-top shape. With a clearer mind and goals to focus on, he helps you get mentally aligned before you ever step on the track/court/field. Even if you don’t follow his exact steps, his stories and words are inspiring and help you train in a different light. Everything he teaches can be applied to life outside of athletics as well.

Bonk: The Curious Coupling of Science and Sex by Mary Roach – This book I picked up and put down multiple times over the last year. It wasn’t that I didn’t like it, I just had limited time and it was one of those reads that you could just pick up randomly. I was dying to finish it though, and that’s why I started it with a book in hand and finished it through an audiobook (Both available in the Library). Roach managed to write almost purely scientific, yet with a touch of humor, and kept it very interesting. I suppose it didn’t hurt that her topic was sex.

Sex is obviously a controversial subject and taboo to talk about depending on what decade or culture you live in. You probably never stop to think how so much knowledge about our sexual bodies has come to be, or how those experiments played out. Roach delves into that research and reveals how hard it was (and is) for researchers to be taken seriously about the one topic that drives human life. She traveled all over the world to various libraries, research labs, and pig farms (yes, pigs) to cure her every curiosity. She goes so far as to throw her and her husband into an MRI machine for an experiment. Pick it up for the laughs, and walk away with a little bit more knowledge about your body.

Nerd do well: A small boy’s journey to becoming a big kid by Simon Pegg. I got over my fear of biographies, thinking that they all would read like a history book, by reading a string of books by comedians. Pegg’s autobiography translated his life story in a unique way, by adding a touch of comicly-exaggerated prose, depicting him as a dashing superhero with a robot butler. The chapters would go back and forth between his real life and this imagined one.

I found myself connecting the dots with his background on becoming a comedian, creating Shaun of the Dead, and many other cinematic endeavors. I also found myself dying to know what would happen next in his fiction chapters. After reading this, I feel more inspired to go after what I really want in life. It’s hopeful to hear stories about how people get from one place in their life to another, and reminds me to be patient and keep working hard.

Lisa Edwards is a member of the Old Capitol City Roller Girls. She works as a production assistant and a barista. Edwards is known as Left 4 Deadwards on the flat track, and writes her own blog about roller derby: deadwards.blogspot.com.

2 Responses to “3 Quick Non-Fiction Picks”

  1. Erin says:

    I’m gonna have to read that sports book!

  2. Dave Tiffany says:

    I am one of Lisa’s greatest fans – though I must admit, I have great admiration for the entire team. For those who don’t follow roller derby: It’s more than just a bunch of women on skates. They do this as a social ‘thing’, but the women are also true athletes. They are both physically and mentally tough, and risk their wellbeing for the fun of competition and comraderie.

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