Saturday, January 16, 2016

Saturday Suggestion: "The Boys in the Boat" is a great read.

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Update (1/18/16). In an attempt to format this post a little differently and improve the way that it is loading on this blog, I am adding one more photo. This photo (taken in 2010) has nothing to do with the following book review, but it is of "a boy (my son) ... in a boat!" 

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The Boys in the Boat

I recently picked up a copy of The Boys in the Boat by Daniel James Brown, and I could hardly put it down until I read it all.

I have been blogging and writing less than usual in recent weeks, but I have been reading more. I have always been an avid reader and love to lose myself in a fiction book. Unfortunately, other obligations can easily become neglected when my mind is held captive between the pages of a good book. In order to be a productive writer, for a while I was neglecting reading. As I establish a new blogging routine, I am hopeful I can find a good balance between writing and reading and everything else!

Before reading Daniel James Brown's book I had very little interest in or curiosity about rowing. I had never even heard about the dramatic quest for an Olympic gold medal in 1936 by the University of Washinton's 8-man crew team. My attention was riveted, however, from the very first page.

Brown draws the reader in quickly and completely, with his beautifully written prose and ability to make characters come alive on the page. This is a book about rowing - and so much more. I learned some interesting historical and geographical facts of which I was previously unaware, gained new insight into human character,  and most of all gained a better understanding of the elusive element that takes a team (of any kind) from good to great.  Brown explains that the near-magical quality of "the Boat" is not the vessel itself, or the expertise of a single person, or even the contributions of each team member, but something else; something made up of everything that they each contribute.

Recently touring a college in the Pacific Northwest with my son, our campus tour leader was a member of the school's crew team. I wanted to ask her if she had read Brown's book, but I refrained as that question somehow seemed redundant. I had already seen the book for sale on a table of "staff pick's in the University bookstore, and I assume that by now it is mandatory reading assigned by every crew coach across the nation.

This book has something for everyone. It reads like a novel; filled with adventure, competition, and even a little romance while being both informative and inspirational. I'm very glad I took the time to read it.

rowing, concrete canoe

As I looked at this display, I thought about the amount of trust and teamwork it would take to build and row a boat like this!
Have you read The Boys in the Boat yet? 
Did you enjoy it as much as I did?
In the spirit of full disclosure, this post contains affiliate links. If you make a purchase after clicking on one of them, the price you pay will not be affected but I may receive some small compensation. All opinions expressed, however, are entirely honest and my own.
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  1. I'll add this to my reading list. My uncle was on a championship crew team when he was in college, and he has taught all of his nieces and nephews how to row properly. Sounds like a great book.

  2. Bookie temptation for my weak-willed self. Thank you.

  3. Love the sound of this book! I've put it on my list . . .

  4. it sounds very tempting - I'm in the middle of book 4 of a fantasy series so it might be time for a change of pace soon :)

  5. I haven't been doing a whole lot of either unless its a how to video or a course book. I need to take a day and get lost in one. That's my favorite past time and the other is canoeing so you got both loves with one shot! Have a great weekend even though its the following week.


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