💪Books & Biceps - Issue 179

Your 5-Minute Brain and Body Flex

Every Friday I write an email recommending books & workouts including regular exclusive interviews with your favorite authors. Get smarter & stronger for free.

BOOKS

The Spenser Detective Series by Robert. B Parker

Last week we extolled the virtues of a true master, Elmore Leonard. This week, as our brief summer hiatus from non-fiction books continues, we are revisiting and rereading the series that got me hooked on books: Robert B. Parker’s detective novels starring David Spenser, a wise-cracking, weight lifting, tough guy private eye from Boston, who often solved crimes with his bad ass partner/best friend, Hawk. The books have been turned into a TV series and even a loosely-based movie starring Mark Wahlberg.

These books are personal to me because my grandfather, who really nurtured my love of reading when I was a kid, suggested them to me as a young teenager and then gave me about a dozen books to sift through. I shared a brief story about this here on twitter.

These books are written about as casually and coolly as you could imagine. Even though I read about 90% of the series (there are 40 books) I hadn’t picked one of the classics up in about two decades. I gotta say, it was like returning to my childhood. They’re quick-witted and fast and have some great fight scenes and suspense and there’s a real buddy/action comedy feel to the writing.

I found this site, fictiondb.com, that displays all the books in chronological order.

My personal favorites are: Mortal Stakes, The Promised Land, Looking for Rachel Wallace, Pale Kings and Princes, Crimson Joy and Double Deuce. I didn’t read the books in order, but Pale Kings and Princes was the first book of Parker’s that I read and loved.

BICEPS

We’re about a month or so out from both my kids playing fall soccer again and that means I’m about a month out from pulling my quad or tweaking a hamstring. I say I’m going to go light when we practice and play and then, at some point on the field, I decide I have the right leg of a young Tony Meola (90s reference, you’re welcome) and I try to blast a goal from 70-yards out. I miss. I pull something. Repeat every year.

What I’ve come to realize is that deadlifts and squats and sprints and swimming just don’t cut it when prepping for soccer. I THINK I’ve got to start getting the soccer motions down with the ball to loosen up the joints and strengthen the kicking/dribbling muscles as a sort of pre-season for me and warm-up for the kids.

My kids love YouTube. So do yours. I found this 15 minute soccer workout we could do to get comfortable with a ball again and get some footwork in. It’s not something we’ll do daily, but if you’re stuck inside because of rain or the heat, you can do this in a really small space. Nice little cardio workout for you and the kids. Run it back for a half-hour if you’d like.

QUOTE OF THE WEEK ON WRITING

“College had little effect on me. I'd have been the same writer if I'd gone to MIT, except I'd have flunked out sooner.” - Robert B. Parker

QUICK FLEXES

Longtime readers know that I pretend to be an amateur photographer from time to time and I like to think that I take phenomenal photos. In fact, with these two samples, I promise you’ll agree that I have an eye for a good pic. This one of the sunrise over a lake after my morning lift on Wednesday was amazing.

And this one…man. The background is that we have a family of cranes who regularly visit the lake behind our house. Sometimes they come up to the fence to say “hi”. Last weekend, this one bird I call Hercules strolled over for a flexing contest and I caught this incredible shot! Tell me that’s not awesome, I dare you!

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