Born to Run: A Hidden Tribe, Superathletes, and the Greatest Race the World Has Never Seen

Filled with unforgettable characters who go fully against the cultural grain (a mysterious Mexican tribe of cliff dwellers who run hundreds of miles with ease, a cerebral former prizefighter who's become a hermit in the Mexican hills, a vegan ultra-serene ultramarathoner, two Beat-loving young guns who drink as hard as they run, a hilarious, Kramer-like renegade barefoot runner with logorrhea), Christopher McDougall's first book, Born to Run: A Hidden Tribe, Superathletes, and the Greatest Race the World Has Never Seen, ostensibly tells the tale of the seriously socially challenged and self-named Caballo Blanco (White Horse) and his attempts to put together a 50-mile running race between the elite members of the dwindling Taruhumara tribe and some of the best American practitioners of ultrarunning, a sport for those who for some reason want to go farther than the standard 26.2-mile marathon distance. But McDougall, a contributing editor for Men's Health and a writer-at-large for Runner's World, as well as an ultrarunner who competes in the eventual race, uses the occasion to convincingly overturn standard running ideas (you don't need those super-expensive, mega-cushioned shoes!), figure out just why our ancestors picked up their hands from the ground and started running upright, and back up the concept that Nike is to blame for every running injury in existence for the past two decades. Along the way, he shares the stories of his characters and the history of ultrarunning in such an entertaining and engaging fashion that at times you want to put the book down, kick off your shoes, head out the door, and just simply run.

April 18: "[W]ould it be too bold to imagine that all warm-blooded animals have arisen from one living filament…?"

Donna Tartt's The Goldfinch is the winner of the 2014 Pulitzer Prize for Fiction. James Parker calls this Dickensian coming-of-age novel "an enveloping…

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Books, CDs, DVDs to know about now
Poems That Make Grown Men Cry

And women too.  Luminaries from Colin Firth to Nick Cave and Jonathan Franzen chose the poems that bring them to tears, and the result is a stunning collection of poignant verse from writers like Auden, Whitman, Bishop, Larkin, Neruda and many others.  Warning: choking-up hazard.

The King of Pain

Trapped beneath his entertainment system, reality TV mastermind Rick Salter reflects on his life and tries to piece together the events of the previous evening. Seth Kaufman’s romp is an outrageous meditation on pain and entertainment in a deranged world in which the two are often interchangeable.

The Good Inn

Frank Black, frontman for the Pixies, has written a transgressive historical fiction with shades of Thomas Pynchon (focused as it is on the history of explosives and cinematic pornography), all set in a hallucinatory Edwardian Europe.