The Terrible and Wonderful Reasons Why I Run Long Distances (The Oatmeal) Paperback – 30 Sep 2014
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"A short, laugh-out-loud graphic book about the promises and perils of exercise.The hilarious and the profound are often only inches apart, and Inman (Why Grizzly Bears Should Wear Underpants, 2013, etc.) consistently nails the space between them. Sure to delight Inman's fans and probably win him some new ones.”
"This graphic novel of sorts is for those of us who run so that we can have a guilt-free donut or five; those of us battling our inner fat kids. Writer and illustrator Matthew Inman, aka The Oatmeal (from his blog), chronicles his arc from a chubby sometimes jogger to a ultramarathoner who runs until his toenails fall off. You can’t help but conclude: If The Oatmeal and his inner Blerch (the ultimate self-underminer) can do it, you can, too." (New York Post)
"Finally! A voice that sings with the blerches of angels!" (Christopher McDougall, author of "Born to Run")
"He runs so hard his toenails fall off. He asks himself, why? Why do I do this? Here, gorgeously, bravely, hilariously, is Matt's deeply honest answer." (Robert Krulwich, NPR)
"All runners wonder, at some point or another, why we do what we do. Mr. Inman's explanation is the best I've ever seen. And the funniest. Because he is clinically insane." (Mark Remy, Editor at Large, Runner's World and author of "The Runner's Rule Book")
"You will have seen many of these cartoons on his website, The Oatmeal, but there is so much more in this book, and the price is well worth the extra content. Not only that, there is no excuse to not have this if you are a runner. I cannot express how many times I put this down and cried laughing." (Joe Hempel, Top of the Heap Reviews)
About the Author
TheOatmeal.com is an entertainment website full of comics, quizzes, and stories. The site gets more than 7 million unique visitors and 30 million page views a month, and 250,000 blogs and websites have linked to it. TheOatmeal.com is written, drawn, and coded by Matthew Inman, a king of all trades when it comes to the Web. Matthew lives in Seattle, Washington, with his dogs, Rambo and Beatrix.
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If you are a fan of running, or of the oatmeal, or of comedy you must buy this book. It may be a bit more expensive than other books, but it is completely worth it.
The last (and only!) book I read about long distance running was Haruki Murakami’s What I Talk About When I Talk About Running and it was ok – Murakami’s writing always has this strangely Zen/peaceful quality to it. But it basically repeated the same thing over and over: he likes running because it makes him feel good about writing, about his life, about everything.
Matthew Inman’s written a similar book, albeit in comic form, in The Terrible and Wonderful Reasons Why I Run Long Distances, which also informs you that he likes to run because it makes him feel better about his life, about his work, about everything. But it’s also about other things like Inman’s hatred of gyms and gym culture, his dislike of healthy food-only diets, and an anecdote about giant Japanese hornets (which are literally the size of sparrows!).
Thanks to a combination of natural storytelling ability and appealingly over-the-top imagery (his apathy is characterised as a morbidly obese fairy called The Blerch who urges him towards cake and Netflix), Inman is able to take this rather mundane-seeming material and turn it into a compelling and fun book.
Besides the autobiographical stuff, there’s actually a lot of good advice for anyone looking to start running themselves. Like how not to pressure yourself early on to change all aspects of your life if you decide to start running, or to set unrealistic targets (waking up at 5am every day? Nope!).
There’s a refreshing honesty to his approach – he’s not setting out to tell you how to lose weight, and he’s not telling you that running will solve all of your problems; he’s just telling you what works for him. You won’t get a ridiculously sculpted body if you run long distance – instead you’ll get giant legs! And if you want a six pack, you’ll have to starve for it to show, and Inman is steadfastly against dieting/starvation – by all means make healthy choices but don’t deny yourself junk food either (that said, the schlumpy guy he portrays himself as in the book isn’t who he is in real life – man looks like a catalogue model, damn him. But he says he was a fat kid growing up so I guess that mentality is for life).
But Inman’s message is clear: whatever you do, choose to run. The rewards far outweigh the costs, which are quite minimal and mostly consist of time which most people have, they just talk themselves out of using it to exercise (it’s just easier not to!). And he is quite a convincing proselytiser of running; the idea of reaching a void-like space in your mind when running is quite appealing.
I liked his anecdote about running in Nagoya, Japan (a beautiful city) which makes you feel his pain acutely as he ran out of water early on in the run on a hot day and began being chased by giant hornets. He eventually outruns them and gloriously discovers a vending machine in a bamboo grove, calling the moment when he drank a cold purple grape drink a near religious experience! The Japanese do put vending machines EVERYWHERE and I’ve had that purple grape drink before – Fanta Grape is godly whether you’re dehydrated or not.
My favourite part of the book is his critique of gym culture, showing all kinds of body types in the gym and revealing their thought bubbles – basically everyone has body issues whether you’re a massive blob or a skinny, tanned Adonis. Running won’t get rid of that – nothing will until you start liking who you are - but it will give you a high that’ll help put things into perspective and make you feel better too, mentally and physically.
The Terrible and Wonderful Reasons Why I Run Long Distances is a highly readable, fun comic about the joys of running with some amusing insights into our current overly-health obsessed society. It almost makes me want to become a runner too.
That didn't matter though - it's still hilarious!
It's a book about why we should run (or indeed exercise) - that is, not to look good, but to feel good. It's also a book about Japanese hornets, godzilla, binge eating and the kraken.
If you've enjoyed the Oatmeal before, you'll love this. If you enjoy humour, you'll love this. If you run, you'll love this. If you don't run, you'll love this.
One disclaimer: I got this as a present, so the price wasn't a problem for me as it seems to be for other reviewers.
If you cannot tell what the book is about after reading the title, then, blerch, because it does what it says on the tin. A humorous look at the reasons why Inman wills himself to run and all the reasons he uses to talk himself out of running. Hounded by the Blerch a fat cherubic demon who constantly offers him cake, and cheesy (US) chips, anything to get him to stop and become the baked potato he so fears, Inman takes us through the agony of the chase.
It will be ‘hilarious’ if the Oatmeal is your home page, or simply ‘just too funny’ if you visit the Oatmeal several times per week. If you don’t visit that often then it runs from becoming less amusing to oh my god, are they really selling this for £7.31.
I have to take issue with the UK price £7.31 (such a strange price point), is far far far too steep for 148 pages.
Strictly for fans of The Oatmeal, which is just about everyone who has ever been on the internet, right?
Received from the publisher for an honest review.
With a picture and a few words he can express the feelings of a long distance runner better than others will do in 1000s of labored text.
It won't take you long to read it, but you will read it again and again. It's perfect to have lying around the house for when friends come round and they might ask you why you bother running and you can just throw this at them.
I am going to leave it on my desk in my office, so that when I am debating whether to go out for a run or sit in a chair and count my "likes" for some stupid facebook post I'll open this and hope that it kicks me out the door.
knowing what sort of comics the oatmeal draws, i expected this to be a hilarious book of comics and such. which it is, but it is also so much more than that!
it also surprised me and became such an inspiring book, that i have vowed to start making changes to my life.
if you want a reason to change your life, a good few chuckles or both, buy this book RIGHT NOW!
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