I finished The Handmaid's Tale. Fantastic book. That gets me down to 177 books to be read. I'm rapidly approaching the end of Boy's Life. There is too much going on in that book, but I've gotten to a point where the story is finally starting to move a bit. The lack of competing reading demands has also made it easy to commit to that book rather than jumping back to Jonathan Strange. Now that I think about it, the massive gravity of Jonathan Strange was probably my biggest challenge with Boy's Life.
I read a few pages of To the Lighthouse on Monday. I read a column on Medium about a DIY MFA and To the Lighthouse was mentioned in the context of reading hard books. I wanted to gauge that difficulty for myself. I actually like the writing style and didn't find the first 10 pages overly ponderous. The perspective shifts from one character to the next with no warning, but I'm kind of nonlinear in my thinking style so that discontinuity makes sense to me. I'm due to read another Modern Library 100 book so that might be the next book that I focus on after I finish Boy's Life later this week.
My weight is finally going down. I spent a bunch of time at work last week reading a short stack of papers about energy expenditure. Those papers suggested that diet was much more critical to weight control than exercise. My discovery of these papers neatly coincided with the release of a book about the role of the brain in eating and obesity. I used an Audible credit to get it the day it came out (Hamilton can wait until next month). The book, it's called The Hungry Brain, is engrossing, informative, and simply astounding. It's gets pretty technical in places concerning neuroanatomy and chemical pathways, but as a scientist I very much appreciate this aspect of the book.
The Hungry Brain just reinforced everything I learned from reading the energy expenditure papers. I will never lose weight until I eat right. My workouts burn calories, but any deficit those workouts create is usually nullified by excessive eating. A few snacks here, a couple of treats there, throw in a few beers, and I've basically given back all the calories I burned working out. I avoided those behaviors last week and dropped a couple of pounds. We'll see if this trend continues. Sticking to my workout routine is hopefully contributing as well. I've managed to maintain the Wednesday rowing session and Friday morning short run. My body felt pretty tired while I was rowing this morning and during my lifting workout over lunch, but I can't tell if that's workout fatigue of lack of sleep. Getting more sleep is another piece of this weight control puzzle. That's definitely the hardest behavior for me to modify.
I successfully registered my wife and I for the Disney World Half Marathon yesterday. I jumped on the site minutes after registration opened to ensure that we could do the race. This is my best chance to do one of these races for the next couple of years. I don't want to miss it. I am more excited for this race than any race that I've run since I started running races consistently. I don't have to worry about training for this as I will be a couple of months past my full marathon and we're not running it for time. This is about the experience. I can't wait. Only 321 days to go!