The 10 Books (Yes, That's Right, Books) Every Man Should Pick Up This Summer
We, Millennials, don't typically fancy reading all that much. At least outside of our Twitter timelines. Unlike our parents, and generations before, books have never been the first choice of entertainment for us.
Why would they? The Gameboy Color was released in 1998. Books pretty much went out the window when we all caught our first Pokemon. When social media started popping up (literally and figuratively), forget about it.
Nonetheless, books exist (newsflash), and honestly – if you find the right ones – they can be quite enjoyable, too. Instead of complaining about how sh*tty the iPhone's battery life is, after narrowly surviving your Instagram frenzy on the morning train-commute, why not bring a book instead?
It's really a win-win-win scenario considering you'll gain some knowledge, save your phone battery and even impress any women who are sitting nearby.
All right, on a serious note, it's crucial, as I touched on before, to make sure you find the right book. Until now, most of the reading you've probably done has come within the four walls of some classroom, or the library, or (generally unsuccessfully) in your bedroom, for strictly school-related purposes.
I assure you, not all books will be as much of a chore to read as, say, your organic chemistry textbook. Remember, your own personal reading won't have any chapters assigned, either; you can pick up and leave off whenever you please.
There's a reason the old cliché, “the book is better than the movie,” has stood the test of time, and probably because it's true.
Whether it be the amount of detail dedicated to each character, or the un-rushed buildup of suspense, there's a magnitude of investment placed within two covers of a novel that far surpasses that between the opening and closing credits of a film.
Books, and reading in general, are good habits to practice as you get older. And, no, since speed-reading through your Twitter timeline doesn't count, here are a few of my own personal recommendations to help jump-start your summer reading list. Get crackin'.
1. Cat's Cradle by Kurt Vonnegut
This is the perfect book for any poli-sci majors who also watch "Seinfeld" at night. It's a gripping novel, by one of the most forward-thinking authors (Kurt Vonnegut) ever to pick up a pen.
"Cat's Cradle" takes many pressing issues of mankind and... satires the sh*t out of them. The message is poignant, and the novel itself is massively influential – the Grateful Dead named their publishing company “Ice Nine” in recognition.
2. Fever Pitch by Nick Hornby
I'm sure most of you have at least heard of the 2005 baseball movie "Fever Pitch," with Jimmy Fallon and Drew Barrymore. Although this novel is different, as it revolves around the Arsenal Football Club, and its relationship to the author, Hornby -- it loosely sets the framework for the baseball version.
Substitute baseball for football, as in soccer, and remove Drew Barrymore from the plot and you will begin to see the resemblance.
Unlike the movie, this novel is a bonafide classic, and commonly revered as one of the greatest non-fictional pieces of sports literature ever written and published. It's well-timed to start reading now, too, as the World Cup afterglow is still bathed upon us.
3. Fear and Loathing in Las Vegas by Hunter S. Thompson
People who have purely seen the movie, sadly didn't have the opportunity to read Thompson's deliberately placed subtitle, as it appears on the novels front cover: Fear and Loathing in Las Vegas: A Savage Journey to the Heart of the American Dream.
The plot follows an avant-garde journalist and his wacky attorney, as they bypass their work duties (covering a major motorbike race) in Las Vegas and opt for a suitcase of hardcore drugs. Their mission? A savage journey to the heart of the American dream. The result? Fear and loathing in Las Vegas.
4. Steve Jobs by Walter Isaacson
Okay, young people, time to put down those iPhones and educate yourselves on the man behind them, who, to be honest, is exponentially more interesting as a man.
Walter Isaacson paints a vivid backdrop of Jobs' personal life and, inevitably, his life-obstacles. If you consider Jobs to be a visionary, now, before reading this biography – just wait until you finish. An immensely inspirational and motivational read.
5. The Kill Artist by Daniel Silva
The Kill Artist is the first installment of Silva's "Gabriel Allon" series of espionage thrillers. The boundless amount of detail Silva applies to every facet of each of his novels, is truly remarkable.
These books are nearly impossible to put down once you get started, and perhaps the only downfall to reading Silva is realizing that his catalogue of books is, indeed, finite.
6. The Book of Basketball by Bill Simmons
The Book of Basketball is, in many ways, any hoops fan's Bible. Many Basketball enthusiasts see it as a prerequisite for any well-versed basketball debate, and rightfully so.
The book serves as a primary source for many “secrets” of the sport, as told – and lived through – by ESPN's “The Sports Guy,” Bill Simmons.
Broken down into three parts, and 20-something sections, Simmons' mission is to debunk a number of timeless debates (think Russell vs. Chamberlain) and provide 100 years of basketball history in a little over 400 pages. Get started.
7. Future Hype by Bob Seidensticker
As Millennials, experiencing the impact of rapid technological advancements, this book is without a doubt, a must-read.
Seidensticker offers the less-than-glamorous effects of technological changes, and provides its readers with the tools necessary for any well-bodied tech-conversation.
Seidensticker's tone is on point, throughout, extrapolating a potentially dry subject matter in a very light and humorous way.
8. One Flew Over the Cuckoo's Nest by Ken Kesey
Penned by the progressive theorist, Ken Kesey – if you weren't forced to read "One Flew Over the Cuckoo's Nest" in high school, well, what are you waiting for? Infamously banned, early on, "OFOCN" supplies its readers with a courtside view into the daily existence of a callously-run mental hospital.
Although it's resolution is not exactly uplifting, it is poignant, and will certainly leave readers thinking. Kesey, himself, had worked the graveyard shift at a mental health facility, prior to writing the novel – giving its contents an authentic level of validity.
9. Flatland by Edwin Abbott
Introduce yourself to "Flatland," a two-dimensional world where geometric figures are the inhabitants. Abbott uses Flatland to parallel the social class issues of the time when it was written, in 1884.
Although you more than likely won't agree with all of Abbott's theses, or views at all for that matter, I believe it is an important read, if all else fails. It's utterly baffling to imagine a world lacking a third dimension, although after reading Abbott describe it -- the concept seems... rather normal.
This book is definitely thought-provoking and surely one-of-a-kind -- and I believe all young people should read it, or at least pick it up and give it a try.
10. The Boys of Summer by Roger Kahn
If you're a fan of nostalgia and baseball, or ideally, baseball nostalgia, The Boys of Summer is the read for you. Roger Kahn takes you into the dugout, clubhouse and even onto the field, alongside "dem bums" over the course of their World Series run in '55.
The Brooklyn Dodgers definitely had a cast of characters, and Kahn does the ultimate job of shedding light on them as both baseball players and people. Definitely a perfect place to start your summer reading list, just as soon as the playoff race and temperature outside heat up.
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