Grant Robison, an elite runner and coach whose Good Form Running program was adopted by New Balance to educate runners on how to move into the company’s Minimus line, says that while teaching runners to land on the midfoot was an emphasis a few years ago, he now considers it the least important of the four points he teaches: Posture, Mid-Foot, Cadence and Lean.
Pauline, a secondary English teacher from Canberra came into the shop one day during her holidays. She said that teaching students to read with their whole body is possible, although difficult. ‘Most students read with their brain. And although that is fine for maths it is simply inadequate when reading a novel.’ She said that her views were not consistent with popular curriculum but she persisted anyway, knowing for herself the experience of reading from the feet up to the roof. She described how some of her students, when she finished reading aloud The Fault in Our Stars, were simply unable to move. She has a poster in her classroom that says: Exercise is only as beneficial as the posture in which you perform it ( Matthias Alexander ).
Even though reading is an activity of stillness, many readers refer to their reading as commotions in which they physically participate. And which can leave them exhausted.
This afternoon a young mother confessed glumly to me that she is concerned about her daughter’s reading choices. She has read all the Harry Potters and is now considering the Twilights. She said she would feel good knowing that her daughter was reading the best things, the classics instead of racing through Twilight. I asked her if she, herself, read the classics and she said she didn’t. She said they are too plodding.
An old lady told me that her husband gave her $50 for Christmas. ‘I’m spending it all on Westerns. My husband says to me did you see that? And he’s talking about some rubbish on television he’s looking at but I don’t see a thing. I’m so happy with my books. I’m galloping through the whole lot of them. And he’s watching those silly cooking shows with everyone screaming blue murder!
Tansy told me that she read The House of Spirits practically in one go. That it was like a train that she could not get off. It just steamed on until the end and she had to run with it. That’s how good it was.
Margaret dropped off a film for me about Charles Dickens and said that the only thing she is thinking about at the moment is bushfires. She said she can only read on tip toe.
John came to check the Dick Francis shelf as he was ready to dive into a new one, and also to show me his new walking stick. He said that there is nothing about Christmas that is not annoying.
Yvonne came in for Arthur Upfield again: “I’m going to cancel the NBN. Ridiculous tying up my phone line like they do. I’m perfectly good with the news of an evening and a glass of wine and a lean back with Arthur Upfield who never failed to calm her nerves.
By the time Fran got to the end of Anna Karenina, she was wrung out and Rebecca said that when Dumbledore died, she also died. Leah said that The Lampo Circus was so good you could eat it and that the colours of these books, which were mint and cream and blue and cream and raspberries and cream were why she bought the books.
Mick told me that most of the new age writers were intellectual featherweights and that he preferred a few rounds with the heavy stuff such as Freud, Kant and Jung.
I recorded all of this as excellent information.
( photography by Jonathan Pendleton)