Although it might not seem a good mix, certain audiobooks and running go together well. (Robert Neubecker illustration, Chicago Tribune)

Howard says mysteries are a good starting point, if mysteries are your thing. If you like nonfiction, she recommends starting with something exciting; she's a fan of "The Boys in the Boat," about a University of Washington's rowing team that fought an against-all-odds battle for gold at the 1936 Olympics.

In separate and very different interviews, both Howard and Wilson recommended the new J.K. Rowling mystery, "The Cuckoo's Calling," written under the pen name Robert Galbraith.

"It's a really good book and it's perfectly paced for running," says Wilson.

"Mysteries and things like that, things that have a little action but aren't big long mysteries that you have to really, really concentrate on [are good]. I think series books are probably really good. I've listened to a lot of the Harry Dresden novels while running, too, but that's because he's my competition, so I have to keep up."

Howard was very impressed by the first Harry Potter book, as narrated by the Tony Award-winning actor Jim Dale. She's also a fan of "The Yiddish Policemen's Union" by Michael Chabon, Louise Penny's Chief Inspector Gamache mysteries and anything by John le Carré.

"He reads his most recent book himself, and it is fabulous," Howard says. "He is one of the best readers ever."

My own favorites include "Bernadette," utterly charming in the reading by actress Kathleen Wilhoite, and "Me Before You" by Jojo Moyes, a compulsive page-turner (foot-mover?) about an unambitious young woman who lands a job caring for a bitter paraplegic.

I'm not much interested in teen angst, which is too bad because my run-reading tastes are otherwise very much in line with the plot-driven intensity of young adult literature.

But I did adore the best-selling YA novel, "The Fault in Our Stars," about a smart-mouthed teen who finds love in a cancer support group.

It's been a long time since I've pursued my interest in popular fiction, but book-running has forced me to do that. I've read a young adult book for the first time since "Twilight" — and I've discovered authors who write really thought-provoking, accessible books about love and family.

If subtleties are lost on me when I run, a great phrase or moment will stand out in bold relief. Bernadette's gloriously grouchy line about how Dale Chihuly's glass sculptures are the omnipresent "pigeons of Seattle" falls into that category, as does an utterly unexpected eulogy that the heroine delivers in "The Fault in Our Stars." I'm an impatient reader, but when I'm running, I'm forced not to skip or skim, but to allow stories to unfold in their own time.

I sometimes remember places where I "read" an audiobook — a strip of Lake Michigan shoreline, a neighborhood park, and that fixes the experience in my mind in a surprisingly satisfying way.

I'm not saying that reading on the run is better than stationary reading. But it has its own rewards, and it gets me out of the house in the morning — motivated, reasonably mobile, and eager to know what will happen next.

Nara Schoenberg is Tribune lifestyles reporter.

Reads worth a run

→"The Yiddish Policemen's Union" by Michael Chabon

→"The Fault in Our Stars" by John Green

→"A Delicate Truth" by John le Carré

→"The Husband's Secret" by Liane Moriarty

→"Me Before You" by Jojo Moyes

→"Still Life" by Louise Penny

→"The Witness" by Nora Roberts

→"Harry Potter and the Sorcerer's Stone" by J.K. Rowling

→"The Cuckoo's Calling" by Robert Galbraith (aka J. K. Rowling)

→"Where'd You Go, Bernadette" by Maria Semple