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on April 10, 2012
"For in running, as in life, you must be both self-assured and daring, content with where you are yet always striving for something better. You must have a destination in sight but not forget to enjoy the scenery along the way."

This is the story of the sweet and enigmatic Lola and her journey to becoming a serious runner and her relationship with Mr. Speedypants, her unintentional coach and self proclaimed personification of awesomeness. An unsung character in the book is the road, which provides an ever changing canvas for Lola's training, races, and daydreams. The stories of Mr. Speedypants and the discussions he and Lola engage in perfectly capture the playful, random banter of close friends that spend a lot of time together. The rapid exchange dialogue is reminiscent of Dickens, to whom there is a dedication in the front of the book. The real treat of the narrative are the sweeping, descriptive wanderings of Lola's mind; ranging from the extremely emotional to the admittedly silly (for my money Michealangelo is definitely best Ninja Turtle), they are always entertaining and engaging. If you are someone who is a runner, knows a runner, or likes to daydream, you'll be charmed by Lola and enjoy this book. Highly recommend.

After reading the final page, I immediately went for a run and let my mind wander.
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on September 12, 2012
As a female distance runner, I basically assumed I would like this book, but I was mistaken. I found myself bored and skimming quite a bit of it. I could tell the dialogue was supposed to be funny, but it was kind of like when a friend tells you about a funny conversation they had with someone filled with inside jokes, and it's still funny to her but it's not really funny to you because you weren't there. I also didn't really appreciate her presenting herself as such a newbie runner -- what newbie runner has already run two full marathons? Not any I know. I'm clearly in the minority here with reviews, so you might like this book, but it definitely wasn't my thing.
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on July 28, 2012
I love this book. I'm not finished yet (thankfully!) but as a long time runner and college track coach, I have found this book to be funny, identifiable, motivating, inspiring, and full of wisdom. I'd like to make it "required" reading for my entire team and have told all my running friends about it. Whether you are new to running or an experienced marathoner, you will enjoy this book. You will relate to many of her stories and think, "Oh my gosh... that's exactly what "fill in the blank" does" or "ugh that is exactly how I felt" or "YES, THAT is exactly how I felt". It's well written and inviting. I find that I want to go take a run after most chapters, preferably with a friend. Running is a metaphor for life, and the author describes this perfectly.
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on February 18, 2013
I have to admit, at first I was skeptical to read this book. My sister knows Amy and had been reading the book right after its release last spring. I reluctantly began reading because I feared it would not hold up to my favorite running books like Born To Run...I could not have been more wrong. Within the first several chapters Amy had me captivated. I completely understand where she is coming from in her writing and I felt as though I was reading my own thoughts. She captured what many of us runners face on a daily basis, she addressed the joys, the heartache, the comedy of it all, and what one can achieve when you set you mind and body to a goal. I would highly recommend this book to anyone who is passionate about running. This book spoke to my heart on so many levels and I am confident it will to yours.
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on October 13, 2013
I could not get through this book and had to return it. It made no sense to me how she casually says at the beginning she has run a couple 5ks and a couple Marathons! But is a beginner runner with no clue how to train! Im not a marathoner but I know that involves a lot of training! The book was just not what I expected.
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on January 6, 2013
This book was a great read! I loved the humor, the insightful thoughts, and the motivation to run. It helps knowing that running isn't easy, even for those runners who look super fast! I love to run and this book has motivated me to want to run a marathon!
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on May 13, 2012
The Lola Papers will inspire you as a runner. It really makes you examine why you run. It will make you laugh and make you cry. Amy's imagination is off the chart. If you run, get this book.
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on February 2, 2014
Great book! Well written, funny, & thoughtful. This is a great inspirational book for new runners or runners who are looking for a new challenge.
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on January 3, 2014
Great book for anyone who enjoys running. I loved reading about Amy, Mr. Speedy Pants and their misadventures of running and racing.
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on December 22, 2012
In case you're not familiar with the term, 'fartlek' is the name for a running workout where you alternate fast and slow running at more or less random intervals. I think that accurately describes this book. It alternates between the inane and profound at more or less random intervals.

Amy Marxkors book intends to describe her journey from a casual to a serious runner. However it fails to live up to its intention. It doesn't really tell us the how or why of becoming a serious runner. Rather it attempts to be an amusing account of her relationship with two unimaginatively named characters, Mr Speedypants, and Big J. For reasons not entirely clear she organizes the story around the seasons, from Winter through the following Autumn.

I found the long dialogs about Mutant Ninja Turtles, discussions about peeing in corn fields, her reaction to sweat freezing in her hair, and the desperate search for a bathroom during a long, early morning run to be among the more inane passages in the book. As another reviewer mentioned, I found myself paging quickly through these sections.

On the other hand the author displays some insightful and profound reflections. Her discussion of the pain of a challenging race or training session, insights gathered by the observation of common things during a solitary run, reflection on goals and dreams that are true challenges and not merely tasks, and the internal struggle to overcome fear in racing were nearly worth the kindle cost of the book.

Somehow character development was both lacking and surprisingly sexist. Ms. Marxkors is a experienced hockey player so she has a background in an aggressive, demanding, and challenging sport. But you would never guess that she is an accomplished athlete and strong woman. In this book she is "the kid". Her character depends on two alpha-male sorts, one who advertises himself as "Mr. Awesome". For some reason she seems to have taken on the role of the weak, guileless woman who needs men to find her way. I found this both surprising and totally inconsistent with me experience. I find women who are ultimately successful in achieving their goals to be strong, focused, and confident. While welcoming help they typically continue to display their independence.

The book is both disappointing and hopeful. I think there are intervals of great writing randomly interspersed with shallow narrative and dialog. I think Amy Marxkors has the makings of a great author. I think she could do better than this and hope she does.
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