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Summer Reading List: 8 Must-Read Health and Fitness Books

From the fitness-obsessed to the healthy food lover, there’s something here for everyone.

Come summer, there’s nothing more relaxing than cracking open a good book on the beach. If you’re more a fan of Born to Run than 50 Shades of Grey, we’ve got you covered with these eight must-read health and fitness books.

1. Run or Die by Kilian Jornet
If you’re a fan of the extremes, you’ll want to read Kilian Jornet’s autobiography. Deemed the “most dominating endurance athlete of his generation” by the New York Times, Jornet holds the speed record for running up and down Mount Kilimanjaro—and he’s only 26.

2. Gulp by Mary Roach
With Gulp, Roach explores the alimentary canal—the tube that connects our mouths and rears—in her typical humorous fashion. With a tinge of ick, a good dose of laughs, and a whole lot of research, this book answers questions about our digestive system that most of us are too scared to ask.

3. Eating on the Wild Side by Jo Robinson
Ever wondered where your fruits and vegetables actually come from? That’s the question Jo Robinson examines in her book, which reveals the nutritional history of produce, beginning with wild plants that were once key parts of our diet.

4. Salt Sugar Fat by Michael Moss
Pulitzer Prize-winning reporter Michael Moss delves into the processed food industry and how the food giants helped cause the nation’s obesity epidemic. Through damning interviews with CEOs and a hearty dose of research, Moss’s book is an exposé on how the food industry fooled the American consumer.

5. Eat & Run by Scott Jurek
If you’ve read Born to Run, you’re already familiar with Jurek’s story. The famed ultrarunner, who set a new American record by running 6.5 marathons in one day, writes about his life as a vegan elite athlete. Expect some plant-based recipes, too.

6. What I Talk About When I Talk About Running by Haruki Murakami
In this memoir the best-selling Japanese author steps away from the dark and fantastical fiction he’s known for and instead writes about training for the New York City Marathon—plus how running helped him decide to become a writer.

7. Wild by Cheryl Strayed
Warning: Reading this book may cause a serious case of wanderlust this summer. Cheryl Strayed, the voice behind Dear Sugar, writes about finding herself while hiking the Pacific Crest Trail, alone, after her mother’s death and a divorce.

8. Cooked by Michael Pollan
In his seventh book, Pollan recounts his foray into making classic recipes—North Carolina barbecue, a loaf of bread—using one of the four elements (fire, water, air, and earth) and with the help of experts and trained chefs.

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  • Janet McNichol

    Always happy to add some new books to my reading list. Thanks! I'd also recommend Spark by John Ratey, MD. It's a little sciency, but I wanted to give a copy to everyone I love when I was done. Here's my review -- http://www.insideworkplacewell...

  • AshAllenFitness

    Some stellar picks here! Thanks for letting me know about Run or Die by Kilian Jornet. I'll definitely read that.

    Loved reading Eat & Run by Scott Jurek and What I Talk About When I Talk About Running by Haruki Murakami!

  • Great picks! I loved Run or Die and Eat and Run, and just finished up What I Talk About. I'm excited to check out a few of the others.

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