Humorist Remy, 46, is the author of the recent release Runners of North America: A Definitive Guide to the Species. It includes a study on the different subspecies of runners, like the Serial Marathoner, the 7-Minute-Mile Guy and the Bucket Lister (whose distinguishing characteristic might be a scar from bungee jumping). Remy's other books include The Runner's Rule Book, The Runner's Field Manual and C Is for Chafing, and he also is the creator of DumbRunner.com. Remy is a former staff writer for Runner's World, where he wrote the online column Remy's World for seven years and continues to serve as a writer at large. We caught up with the author by phone from his home in Portland, Ore., where he lives with his wife and two young kids.
What's on your nightstand?
First, Operating Manual for Spaceship Earth by R. Buckminster Fuller.
Is it more philosophy or science?
He blends the two. The gist is the earth is like a spaceship, and we have a finite amount of resources. We need to do some hard thinking. He looks at history and also takes a look at how everything has become so specialized. He takes a hard look at that. He believes that is a bad thing, not a good thing. I also am reading Slaying the Badger by Richard Moore. It's about the 1986 Tour de France, and the complicated relationship of Greg LeMond and Bernard Hinault. At that time I was super geeky about cycling. I couldn't put this book down. I devoured it. I also have a couple more books. I've got Infinite Jest by David Foster Wallace.
Whoa, quite a large book. What made you decide to take it on?
It's 1,079 pages. There was talk on Facebook about its 20th anniversary, and so it started eating at me that I had never read it, but I have given myself permission to take time, like a marathoner.
Any thoughts on it yet?
So far, the thoughts have been less about the book and more about David Foster Wallace. I think he was a genius. Insofar as any book gives you a glimpse inside an author's head, I can only imagine what it was like to be him.
Are you far enough in to tell why it would have to be over 1,000 pages?
No, not really. Of course, the editor in me can't help but think that, sure, it could have been whittled down to a mere 700 pages. I also have one more — The Language of Things by Deyan Sudjic, who is the director of London's Design Museum. I've been interested in art and design. You walk away from reading this, and you look at everyday objects and think about how people have put some real thought into creating them. Reading this and then going through daily life is like going through a museum with an art historian.
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