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New, updated books deal with Marathon, bombings

Author Paul C. Clerici is flanked by elite runners Bill Rodgers and Dick Beardsley during a recent book signing.Tim Kilduff

As the anniversary of the Boston Marathon bombings approaches, local bookstores say there has been a swelling of new and updated books published by local authors commemorating the elevated importance of the 26.2-mile race.

The books on the Marathon have nearly doubled from previous years, said Jamie Tan, events director at the Brookline Booksmith, an independent book shop that sits along the Marathon route on Beacon Street.

“We have about 10 to 14 new books coming in, whereas in a normal year, we’d usually have five to 10,” Tan said. “And there are more and more bound to come out every year.”


Lorna Ruby, general book buyer for Wellesley Books on Central Street, said many books this year focus on or include coverage of last year’s bombings.

“This year, these stories are even more poignant,” Ruby said. “It’s going to be a tricky and emotional thing to cover, since the Marathon has such a long and glorious history. And this is now part of it.”

New titles released this year include “Boston Marathon History by the Mile,’’ in which Walpole resident Paul C. Clerici, 48, seeks to enlighten runners, spectators, and fans with historical anecdotes and signature elements that can be seen along the race’s route between Hopkinton and Boston.

Clerici, a journalist and 23-time Marathon runner, said his book features some of the quirkier things that bind the history of the Boston Marathon route. He said the book, which recounts the Marathon’s history through its host communities, also features about 80 photographs from the iconic race through the years.

“When you’re running the Boston Marathon, there are so many things to look forward to,” Clerici said. “You see these landmarks and these people, and it carries you through for 26 miles.”

Clerici describes his new work as reminiscent of a coffee-table book, but sized down to a portable 6-by-9-inch paperback. “A little souvenir is how I thought of it,” he said, “but dense with information and facts.”


Clerici paints a picture of a race course dotted with family barbecues, serenaders performing Neil Diamond songs, and even jolly old Saint Nick.

“There’s this guy who always dresses as Santa Claus, hot or cold, and has a friend along who’s dressed as an elf,” he said, laughing. “Runners will stop to get their picture taken with them.”

Clerici has a whirlwind of appearances related to his book, which was released March 4, including at the Public Library of Brookline on Thursday at 7 p.m., and at Natick’s Morse Institute Library on Tuesday at 7 p.m.

Meanwhile, at least two other authors have focused on rereleasing classic works on the Marathon with new updates in light of last year’s events.

Tom Derderian, a Winthrop resident and Greater Boston Track Club coach, has updated his 1995 release, “The Boston Marathon: A Celebration of America’s Greatest Race,’’ to include new essays, such as one in which 1968 Marathon winner Amby Burfoot jarringly recounts last year’s bombings.

“There’s so much more to the Marathon now, unfortunately, because of the bombing,” Derderian said.

His book is scheduled to be released this month, according to a statement from the publisher. Derderian is slated to appear at various Barnes & Noble bookstores across the state, including in Burlington on Saturday at 7 p.m.; in Hingham on Sunday at noon; in Peabody at 3:30 p.m. Monday; and at Framingham’s store in Shopper’s World on Route 9 at 7 p.m. next Thursday, according to his publicist.


Another Marathon author, Michael Connelly, revamped his 2002 book, “26 Miles to Boston: The Boston Marathon Experience from Hopkinton to Copley Square,’’ and renamed it to “26.2 Miles to Boston: A Journey into the Heart of the Boston Marathon.’’ Connelly noted that the updated version is about 70 percent new content. It was released March 18, and is available from major booksellers like and Barnes & Noble.

“Following the events of last year, it seemed like an opportunity to give a new perspective to a race dear to my heart,” Connelly said, adding that the course itself serves as a type of character in his new book. “I saw the day of the bombings as a paradox. It was the most horrific day in Boston history, but also one of greatest days. It showed how close we are, what a community we are.”

Other anticipated new releases this year include “Long Mile Home’’ by Boston Globe reporters Scott Helman and Jenna Russell, “4:09:43: Boston 2013 Through the Eyes of the Runners,’’ by journalist Hal Higdon, and “Stronger’’ by Jeff Bauman, one of the spectators badly injured in the bombings.

Another Marathon-related book is “Our Boston: Writers Celebrate the City They Love,’’ an anthology of original and reprinted essays by prominent literary figures and journalists that was published in response to the bombings on the attack’s six-month anniversary, Oct. 15.


Contributors include Boston Globe columnist Kevin Cullen, novelist Dennis Lehane, National Public Radio’s Bill Littlefield, and three former Globe journalists: Esquire magazine writer-at-large Charles Pierce, MSNBC commentator Mike Barnicle, and sportscaster Lesley Visser.

For every copy of the book sold, publisher Houghton Mifflin Harcourt is donating $5 to the One Fund Boston, and, in keeping with this spirit of giving, no contributor is taking any royalties.

“People almost need these books right now,” Brookline Booksmith’s Tan said. “It’s an easy, accessible way to talk about something that had a big impact on all of us.”

Jaclyn Reiss can be reached at