"Running on Faith: The Principles, Passion and Pursuit of a Winning Life," by Jason Lester with Tim Vandehey (HarperOne, $25.99)
Some lives just seem to be marked. Despite some basic broken-home issues growing up in Arizona, Lester discovered he had a natural talent for sports. It all seemed to be over when he was hit by a car that shattered his body. The bones eventually knitted; his right arm was paralyzed and useless. High school coaches suggested he try long-distance running, and soon Lester was a top-ranked biathlon runner in Arizona.
More trials. His father died suddenly. His mother was a drug user. His own marriage unraveled. Still, Lester persevered, moved to Kona and became an Ironman competitor. Two years ago, Lester became the first disabled person to complete the Ultraman and won an ESPY in 2009 for Best Male Athlete with a Disability.
This memoir is naturally thin, as Lester is still a young man, and it’s mostly devoted to keep-trying-you-can-do-it inspirational memes. We don’t get much of a sense of other personalities in Lester’s world, perhaps because Ironman is such a solitary sport. For a book that supposedly gives insight into what makes him tick, there’s not much tock. Family, friends, other humans, they’re depicted at a distance, and that’s too bad, because Lester can’t have done it all alone, including writing this book.
New York times best-sellers
An (x) indicates that a book’s sales are barely distinguishable from those of the book above. A (b) indicates that some bookstores report receiving bulk orders.
1. "Freedom," by Jonathan Franzen (Farrar, Straus & Giroux, $28). A family of Midwestern liberals during the Bush years; by the author of "The Corrections."
2. "The Girl Who Kicked the Hornet’s Nest," by Stieg Larsson (Knopf, $27.95). The third volume of a trilogy about a Swedish hacker and a journalist.
3. "Dark Peril," by Christine Feehan (Berkley, $25.95). A Dragonseeker undertakes a deadly mission; a Carpathian novel.
4. "Lost Empire," by Clive Cussler with Grant Blackwood (Putnam, $27.95). Sam and Remi Fargo, a husband-and-wife treasure-hunting team, pursue an important relic.
5. "The Postcard Killers," by James Patterson and Liza Marklund (Little, Brown, $27.99). An NYPD detective joins a Swedish reporter in a search for the killer of young couples in Europe, including his daughter and her boyfriend.
6. "The Help," by Kathryn Stockett (Amy Einhorn/Putnam, $24.95). A young white woman and two black maids in 1960s Mississippi.
7. "The Way of Kings," by Brandon Sanderson (Tor/Tom Doherty, $27.99). In the first book of a new series, the Stormlight Archive, war ravages the world of Roshar.
8. "Spiderbones," by Kathy Reichs (Scribner, $26.99). Temperance Brennan investigates the case of a man who seems to have died twice.
9. "Body Work," by Sara Paretsky (Putnam, $26.95). V.I. Warshawski probes the death of a club patron.
10. "Star Island," by Carl Hiaasen (Knopf, $26.95). A paparazzo attempting to kidnap a drug-addled pop star grabs her stunt double by mistake.
1. "Crimes Against Liberty," by David Limbaugh (Regnery, $29.95). A political indictment of the Obama presidency. (b)
2. "Sh*t My Dad Says," by Justin Halpern (It Books/HarperCollins, $15.99). A coming-of-age memoir organized around the musings, purveyed on Twitter, of the author’s father.
3. "A Journey," by Tony Blair (Knopf, $35). A memoir by the former British prime minister.
4. "The Perfect Point," by John Brenkus (Harper/HarperCollins, $26.99). The absolute limits of human performance in various sports.
5. "Outliers," by Malcolm Gladwell (Little, Brown, $27.99). Why some people succeed, from the author of "Blink."
6. "The Immortal Life of Henrietta Lacks," by Rebecca Skloot (Crown, $26). Race, poverty and science intertwine in the story of the woman whose cancer cells were cultured without her permission in 1951 and have supported a mountain of research undertaken since then.
7. "Let’s Take the Long Way Home," by Gail Caldwell (Random House, $23). A tribute to a deep friendship between two women.
8. "Empire of the Summer Moon," by S.C. Gwynne (Scribner, $27.50). The story of Quanah Parker, the last and greatest chief of the Comanches.
9. "The Big Short," by Michael Lewis (Norton, $27.95). The people who saw the real estate crash coming and made billions from their foresight. (x)
10. "Committed," by Elizabeth Gilbert (Viking, $26.95). The author of "Eat, Pray, Love" wrestles with, and overcomes, her ambivalence about marriage.
Advice, how-to and miscellaneous
1. "The Power," by Rhonda Byrne (Atria, $23.95). Living the life of your dreams, from the author of "The Secret."
2. "Women Food and God," by Geneen Roth (Scribner, $24). How women can free themselves from the tyranny of fear and hopelessness surrounding their bodies.
3. "Delivering Happiness," by Tony Hsieh (Business Plus, $23.99). Lessons from business (pizza place, worm farm, Zappos) and life. (b)
4. "The Carb Lovers Diet," by Ellen Kunes and Frances Largeman-Roth (Oxmoor, $24.95). A weight-loss program with favorites like bread, pasta and potatoes.
5. "The One Minute Negotiator," by Don Hutson and George Lucas (Berrett-Koehler, $21.95). Simple steps for reaching better agreements. (b)