It’s the holiday season. Those dog days of summer where vacations are crammed in before fall hits. Most of us might be escaping to tropical wonderlands, new cities, or to forests and countries across the world. What are you going to read on your trip?
I’ll tell you this much: I’m going to do everything possible to keep you from reading Fifty Shades of Bore, A Girl Who Did Something Weird, or A Game of Bones: Songs of Chicks and Midgets. Never fear, friend. I suggest these four reads, all very different, to occupy some space in your duffle bag or e-reader.
Wool by Hugh Howey
We’ve touted Wool before. This sensation has became a phenomenon. One of the best selling series in the history of Amazon, rumor has it Wool has been picked up by Ridley Scott and will be published by Random House in 2013. I mean, how can we not get obsessed with Hugh Howey’s riveting prose and dynamic, flawed characters living in a silo? Destined to become a modern classic, it’s one of the sparks to the resurgence of sci-fi literature. The best use of 14,000 words in a long time. And when you get done with that one, the sequels are waiting for you.
Swoosh by J.B. Strasser
A great read on the beginning of Nike. What I enjoy the most about this book is the way it examines the shoe business pre-GOAT, back when Adidas and Puma ran the Olympics, back when shoe treads were made on waffle irons. Strasser’s style is easy going and flows well to show how an obsession with running created the iconic shoe company. It reveals the development of Nike since, well, before there was a Nike. Plus it’s about shoes. We all love shoes.
The Last of the Best by Jim Murray
He really was the best. The Pulitzer Prize winner, 14 time sports writer of the year, the treasure of the LA Times. This was a man who drank with Sinatra, golfed with Hogan, and smoked cigars with Steinbrenner. How could a man who was blind for most of these articles get the essence of sports so well? This collection is charming, engaging, hilarious, and tearful all at once. Getting benched in the World Series was “like a fourth-runner up in a Miss America contest.” Hole #15 of the Masters: “Who designed this hole – Dracula?” Los Angeles a “complicated hobo jungle,” Magic Johnson on the court becomes “an iceberg bearing down on the Titanic.” The subject of these final 60 columns ranges from Mike Tyson to a 17 year old Tiger Woods. Each is enjoyable and a lesson as to how to write to your audience with passion and what you believe in.
Mount Analogue by Rene Daumal
I read it once a year. The only book I let ex-girlfriends get away with stealing because it might change their life forever. Rene Daumal was a contemporary of the French Surrealist movement. This allegorical tale blends mountain climbing, adventure, metaphysics, the teachings of Gurdjieff, and spiritual enlightenment. That TV show Lost seems to be based on this, but Damon Lindelof can’t close a story half as well as this obscure, unfinished piece of surrealism. Daumal, translated by Roger Shattuck, crams more meaning per word anyone in years.