Memory of Running, by Ron McLarty

You think Lance Armstrong has a tough gig on the Tour de France?

That’s nothing compared to Smithy Ide’s odyssey across America. In Ron McLarty’s terrific Memory of Running, 43 year old Viet Nam vet Smithy is a gentle wreck of a human being. A star athlete in a Rhode Island high school, he ballooned to nearly 300 alcoholic pounds after he was discharged from the military to recover from 23 bullet wounds. When his parents die in a car accident, Ide attends their service in a drunken stupor and then climbs aboard his old high school bicycle and starts pedaling. His destination: California, to search for his sister, lost to the ravages of schizophrenia.

McLarty, a hugely popular narrative performer of audio books, recorded this title which, at first, was only available as a recording. Later, through the dogged efforts of a Virginia librarian, with a big push by Stephen King, Memory of Running was released last year to wild acclaim.