My favorite biography is Marathon Woman by Kathrine Switzer (she was the first woman to run the Boston Marathon with a number in 1967. The race official tried to rip if off her shirt and throw her out of the race — but she stayed and finished!) She was also influential in convincing the Olympics committee to allow women to compete in the marathon in 1984. I loved her book!!!!!
If you’d like a beginning training book, I’d recommend Jeff Galloway‘s Marathon! or any of his other titles. He’s so laid-back and set on injury prevention. Very encouraging! I used his methods to train for my marathon last year. I also really like The Runner’s Handbook by Bob Glover. I consult it often when I have questions.
One book, I’m sure you’d like but that I don’t have a copy of yet is The Courage to Start: A Guide to Running for your Life by John “The Penguin” Bingham. He’s been one of my favorite writer’s for Runner’s World for years. My Mom used to adore reading his articles that appeal to the “regular, back of the pack” runners since she and I relate to that.
I’m betting you could find every one of these titles at your local library if you just wanted to browse and get a feel for them. I have many more to suggest if you are looking for something specific!!!! I’m especially fond of memoirs and autobiographies. I feel so jazzed after reading about how other people overcame the couch-potato syndrome and started putting one foot in front of the other — just like I did. It helps motivate me!