Serious runners will relate to the highs and lows of Ostman’s training, but her narrow, personal journey offers little in...



A casual runner finds encouragement from a new romantic partner and makes a pact to run a marathon with him on each continent.

Divorced and facing career uncertainty in her mid-30s, Seattle-based therapist Ostman took up jogging at the suggestion of Bill, a former colleague who was quickly turning into more. Though she enjoyed running, the author was skeptical when Bill asked her to run a marathon with him in Prague. She trained hesitantly, and even using a walk-run method, had a difficult time building mileage. The race had an even more inauspicious start when Ostman and Bill missed the starting line and had to make up two miles on their own at the end. Still, she was infected by the experience—both the travel and the running—and she and Bill, who eventually married, agreed to run a marathon on every continent, which became a grueling and expensive, though ultimately rewarding endeavor. The book is more of a training log than a travel memoir, and the places become almost irrelevant apart from the actual race experience. Australia was lonely, for example—a back-of-the-pack runner, she was by herself for most of the rural course with no runners or other spectators. She earned a personal record in the shadow of Mount Fuji and got sick in Capetown, battling a debilitating stomach bug and the relentless African sun. Just as important as the races are the incredible number of training hours she logged at home, especially after a crime scare shocked the local running community. Although she and Bill embarked on the journey together, with such discrepancies in their pace, she quickly learned that it would be a largely solitary adventure, with levels of both boredom and profound introspection unparalleled by anything she had ever experienced.

Serious runners will relate to the highs and lows of Ostman’s training, but her narrow, personal journey offers little in the way of universal resonance.

Pub Date: Nov. 1, 2010

ISBN: 978-1-58005-307-5

Page Count: 328

Publisher: Seal Press

Review Posted Online: Aug. 30, 2010

Kirkus Reviews Issue: Sept. 15, 2010

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Doesn’t dig as deep as it could, but offers a captivating look at the NBA’s greatest era.


NBA legends Bird and Johnson, fierce rivals during their playing days, team up on a mutual career retrospective.

With megastars LeBron James and Kobe Bryant and international superstars like China’s Yao Ming pushing it to ever-greater heights of popularity today, it’s difficult to imagine the NBA in 1979, when financial problems, drug scandals and racial issues threatened to destroy the fledgling league. Fortunately, that year marked the coming of two young saviors—one a flashy, charismatic African-American and the other a cocky, blond, self-described “hick.” Arriving fresh off a showdown in the NCAA championship game in which Johnson’s Michigan State Spartans defeated Bird’s Indiana State Sycamores—still the highest-rated college basketball game ever—the duo changed the course of history not just for the league, but the sport itself. While the pair’s on-court accomplishments have been exhaustively chronicled, the narrative hook here is unprecedented insight and commentary from the stars themselves on their unique relationship, a compelling mixture of bitter rivalry and mutual admiration. This snapshot of their respective careers delves with varying degrees of depth into the lives of each man and their on- and off-court achievements, including the historic championship games between Johnson’s Lakers and Bird’s Celtics, their trailblazing endorsement deals and Johnson’s stunning announcement in 1991 that he had tested positive for HIV. Ironically, this nostalgic chronicle about the two men who, along with Michael Jordan, turned more fans onto NBA basketball than any other players, will likely appeal primarily to a narrow cross-section of readers: Bird/Magic fans and hardcore hoop-heads.

Doesn’t dig as deep as it could, but offers a captivating look at the NBA’s greatest era.

Pub Date: Nov. 4, 2009

ISBN: 978-0-547-22547-0

Page Count: 352

Publisher: Houghton Mifflin Harcourt

Review Posted Online: May 20, 2010

Kirkus Reviews Issue: Sept. 1, 2009

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One of the NBA’s 50 greatest players scores another basket—a deeply personal one.


A basketball legend reflects on his life in the game and a life lived in the “nightmare of endlessly repetitive and constant pain, agony, and guilt.”

Walton (Nothing but Net, 1994, etc.) begins this memoir on the floor—literally: “I have been living on the floor for most of the last two and a half years, unable to move.” In 2008, he suffered a catastrophic spinal collapse. “My spine will no longer hold me,” he writes. Thirty-seven orthopedic injuries, stemming from the fact that he had malformed feet, led to an endless string of stress fractures. As he notes, Walton is “the most injured athlete in the history of sports.” Over the years, he had ground his lower extremities “down to dust.” Walton’s memoir is two interwoven stories. The first is about his lifelong love of basketball, the second, his lifelong battle with injuries and pain. He had his first operation when he was 14, for a knee hurt in a basketball game. As he chronicles his distinguished career in the game, from high school to college to the NBA, he punctuates that story with a parallel one that chronicles at each juncture the injuries he suffered and overcame until he could no longer play, eventually turning to a successful broadcasting career (which helped his stuttering problem). Thanks to successful experimental spinal fusion surgery, he’s now pain-free. And then there’s the music he loves, especially the Grateful Dead’s; it accompanies both stories like a soundtrack playing off in the distance. Walton tends to get long-winded at times, but that won’t be news to anyone who watches his broadcasts, and those who have been afflicted with lifelong injuries will find the book uplifting and inspirational. Basketball fans will relish Walton’s acumen and insights into the game as well as his stories about players, coaches (especially John Wooden), and games, all told in Walton’s fervent, witty style.

One of the NBA’s 50 greatest players scores another basket—a deeply personal one.

Pub Date: March 8, 2016

ISBN: 978-1-4767-1686-2

Page Count: 352

Publisher: Simon & Schuster

Review Posted Online: Dec. 19, 2015

Kirkus Reviews Issue: Jan. 1, 2016

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