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The Memory of Running | [Ron McLarty]

The Memory of Running

In late 2003, in his column in Entertainment Weekly, Stephen King called The Memory of Running "the best novel you won't read this year." This glowing endorsement of the audiobook resulted in Ron McLarty receiving a $2 million two-book deal from Viking Penguin. Also, Warner Brothers has shelled out big bucks for the movie rights to The Memory of Running, for which McLarty will write the script.
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Publisher's Summary

Award-winning actor and playwright Ron McLarty is well known for his audiobook performances. What fewer people realize is that he's also an accomplished author. In this wonderfully quirky novel, available exclusively as an audiobook, McLarty takes readers on a quest to find hope and redemption with an unlikely hero.

Smithson Ide is 43 years old and weighs 279 pounds when his parents die in an accident. Lost in memories of childhood, Smithson uncovers his old Raleigh bicycle in the garage and begins a cross-country journey to find his beautiful, but tragically psychotic sister. Keenly aware of how ridiculous he must appear, Smithson nonetheless perseveres through a journey that is hilarious and horrifying. It is a trip, he soon realizes, that might provide his last chance to become the person he has always wanted to be.

In late 2003, in his column in Entertainment Weekly, Stephen King called The Memory of Running "the best novel you won't read this year." This glowing endorsement of the audiobook resulted in Ron McLarty receiving a $2 million two-book deal from Viking Penguin. Also, Warner Brothers has shelled out big bucks for the movie rights to The Memory of Running, for which McLarty will write the script.

©2002 Ron McLarty; (P)2002 Recorded Books, LLC

What the Critics Say

"Ron McLarty's The Memory of Running is the best novel you won't read this year. But you can experience it, and I'm all but positive that you'll thank me for the tip if you do....What I hope is that you'll order a copy and experience it for yourself....It's bighearted and as satisfying as one of your mom's home-cooked Sunday dinners." (Stephen King, Entertainment Weekly)

What Members Say

Average Customer Rating

4.0 (2969 )
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4.2 (1154 )
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1 star
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Performance
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  •  
    John Austin, TX, USA 04-28-04
    John Austin, TX, USA 04-28-04
    ratings
    REVIEWS
    1
    1
    Overall
    "An Inspirational Read"

    This book took hold of my attention early, and by the end I wanted to meet the main character, named Smithy, and befriend him. There's something about Smithy, perhaps that he's so nice or selfless or self-deprecating or self-unaware, that made me root for him. He and his experiences remind me of Forrest Gump, except that the only thing exceptional about Smithy is his ability to listen. This book evokes sadness, laughter, hopefulness, and endearment. As an added bonus, I have reintroduced bananas into my daily diet (you'll have to read it to understand that part) :).

    0 of 1 people found this review helpful
  •  
    Gerald W Bloomington, IN, USA 04-18-04
    Gerald W Bloomington, IN, USA 04-18-04
    ratings
    REVIEWS
    5
    1
    Overall
    "Both laughs and tears"

    This is one of those rare occasions when the author is also a wonderful narrator. A story about simple people going about their every day lives, this story will bring an occasional tear to your eyes between many chuckles and laughs.

    0 of 1 people found this review helpful
  •  
    Alyssa 05-18-11
    Alyssa 05-18-11 Member Since 2009

    I listen to books when I'm at work or doing chores. I prefer history and fantasy. My favorite audio book is Going Postal by Terry Pratchett.

    HELPFUL VOTES
    218
    ratings
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    43
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    Story
    "McLarty Needs to Read "On Writing""

    I had a feeling I was in for trouble when someone decided this book needed to begin with a summary telling you how good it is because you might not notice for yourself. Stephen King wrote an entire book on what makes a good novel and yet his book recommendations always run counter to his own very good advice. McLarty needs to get himself a copy and take note of some key passages:

    1): "I'm not particularly keen on writing which exhaustively describes the physical characteristics of the people in the story and what they're wearing (I find wardrobe inventory particularly irritating; if I want to read descriptions of clothes, I can always jet a J. Crew catalogue.)"

    2) "It's also important to remember it's not about the setting, anyway - it's about the story, it's always about the story...In many cases when a reader puts a story aside because it "got boring" the boredom arose because the writer grew enchanted with his powers of description and lost sight of his priority, which is to keep the ball rolling."

    3) "In medias res necessitates flashbacks, which strike me as boring and sort of corny...As a reader I'm much more interested in what's going to happen than what all ready did."

    4) "The most important things to remember about back story are that (a) everyone has a history and (b) most of it isn't very interesting. Stick to the parts that are, and don't get carried away with the rest. Long life stories are best received in bars, and only then an hour before closing time, and if you are buying."

    Where's my beer McLarty? You owe me after this mess.

    0 of 2 people found this review helpful
  •  
    Chantelle Georgetown, Ontario, Canada 07-17-09
    Chantelle Georgetown, Ontario, Canada 07-17-09
    HELPFUL VOTES
    36
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    54
    4
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    1
    0
    Overall
    "Enjoyable Listen"

    Love his voice and his ability to give each character their own sound, engaging story, I felt it was a little abrupt at the end but overall I'm glad I bought it.

    0 of 2 people found this review helpful
  •  
    Rockville Springdale Fire 08-06-08 Member Since 2007

    I listen while I drive and I love to drive

    HELPFUL VOTES
    52
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    23
    10
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    "A Fun Listen"

    I really enjoyed all of the characters Smithson meets in his quest. The book made me want to get of my old fat butt and put some miles on my bike.

    0 of 2 people found this review helpful
  •  
    Lech WarszawaPoland 09-24-07
    Lech WarszawaPoland 09-24-07
    HELPFUL VOTES
    21
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    33
    7
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    "Brilliant"

    A fabulous writer, a fabulous narrator. Enough said! Those characters are so real...

    0 of 2 people found this review helpful
  •  
    Valeri Rock Hill, SC, United States 07-26-05
    Valeri Rock Hill, SC, United States 07-26-05 Member Since 2013
    ratings
    REVIEWS
    30
    5
    Overall
    "Memory of Running"

    I did not find this story particularly compelling. The development of the main character however was good.

    0 of 2 people found this review helpful
  •  
    Nancy Northbrook, IL, USA 07-08-05
    Nancy Northbrook, IL, USA 07-08-05
    HELPFUL VOTES
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    30
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    "Good but not Great!"

    I enjoyed this book, but the flashbacks bothered me. I understand that they were an important part of the book, but the way they were written made it difficult for me to keep track of the story. Ide would begin a flashback of his sister but wouldn't finish that part of the story until much later in the book. This jumping back and forth was annoying to me.

    0 of 2 people found this review helpful
  •  
    Todd Underwood South Elgin, IL USA 04-25-05
    Todd Underwood South Elgin, IL USA 04-25-05 Listener Since 2009
    HELPFUL VOTES
    1
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    "Vivid!"

    I found this book to be wonderfully descriptive and imaginative. The simple optimism of Smithy in spite of all his hardships was very refreshing. Great job of narrating as well!

    0 of 2 people found this review helpful
  •  
    Martha rapid city, SD, USA 04-19-05
    Martha rapid city, SD, USA 04-19-05
    HELPFUL VOTES
    66
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    "I am surprised I liked it!"

    I kept thinking the main character was kind of wierd, but at the same time I really liked listening to his thoughts. Without treating them as victims - it gives a unique point of view on how mental illness affects family members.I did not want it to end - and when it did I wanted a sequal.

    0 of 2 people found this review helpful

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