This is a great book! Don’t be put off by the notion that it is some kind of technical running book or aimed only at crazed running fanatics. It’s not.
Born to Run, by Christopher McDougall, has all the elements of a great story — colorful, larger-than-life characters, adventure, joy, heartbreak, courage, heroism, lurking danger, the wisdom of indigenous peoples, the warmth of rural Mexicans, the openness of Americans, all in an other-worldly landscape and wrapped in a quest worthy of any mythology. Nearly every chapter is a cliff-hanger.
And — it’s NON-FICTION!
The locale of much of the story, the inaccessible Copper Canyon region of Mexico’s Sierra Madre — the Barrancas– is home to the Tarahumara, an indigenous people, as well as Mestizo farmers. This is the region of the town of Norogachi — the little town where the exquisite jewelry of Julio Pagliani is made — by the same people who populate the great story in Born to Run.
We at Elegant Roots knew that the good folks at Julio Pagliani went to extraordinary lengths to couple the traditional beading skills of the people of Norogachi with an outside market — committed as they are to promoting social justice. But Christopher McDougall has a way to really bring it home.
From Born to Run: “The Barrancas are a lost world in the most remote wilderness in North America, a sort of a shorebound Bermuda Triangle known for swallowing misfits and desperadoes who stray inside. Lots of bad things can happen down there, and probably will; survive man-eating jaguars, deadly snakes, and blistering heat, and you’ve still got to deal with ‘canyon fever,’ a potentially fatal freak-out brought on by the Barrancas desolate eeriness. The deeper you penetrate into the Barrancas, the more it feels like a crypt sliding shut around you. The walls tighten, shadows spread, phantom echoes whisper; every route out seems to end in sheer rock. … Little surprise that few strangers have ever seen the Tarahumara homeland–let alone the Tarahumara.”
But into the Barrancas is where the good people of Julio Pagliani go in order to help the people of the Barrancas utilize their traditional beading techniques to create striking jewelry and bring it out to support the traditional lifestyles of these remote peoples. This, too, is courageous in its own way — courage in support of social justice.
And, into the Barrancas go Christopher McDougall’s cast of thoroughly engaging characters.
I highly recommend Born to Run; and I highly recommend that you support the peoples of the Barrancas in their traditional arts. Enjoy their beautiful jewelry, designed by the folks at Julio Pagliani and rendered exquisitely by the peoples of the Barrancas using — and preserving — traditional skills. Learn more about Julio Pagliani here.