Beach Reads for Boys

We present you with our list of books for guys that you won’t find promoted by the weepy Opraphilic media.

Angels of Death
: Inside the Bikers’ Empire of Crime, by William Marsden and Julian Sher: A follow-up to the bestselling The Road to Hell: How the Biker Gangs Are Conquering Canada, the new book scrutinizes one Sonny Barger, media-friendly U.S. biker leader, to show how deeply involved he is with murder and mayhem of all kinds. There’s no real story here, but a number of throat-gripping vignettes of biker insanity and pandemonium from all over the world. Our particular favourite is the real story of an all-out biker brawl at a Nevada casino.

Can I Keep My Jersey?
11 Teams, 5 Countries and 4 Years in My Life as a Basketball Vagabond, by Paul Shirley: There are lots of talented players in the NBA, but as far as we know only one of them writes like a funny newspaper columnist. This midwestern high-school basketball star, who admits that his greatest asset is the fact that he happens to be 6’10”, was never going to be a star player, and he’s always on the verge of getting fired from whatever big-league teams he gets briefly on to, but at least he’s our man on the inside, and he gives a somewhat depressing account of the locker and hotel rooms of the itinerant pro athlete. He’s exaggeratedly self-deprecating and deeply cynical, which makes this an amusing if unchallenging read.

Nearest Thing To Heaven:
The Empire State Building and American Dreams, by Mark Kingwell: Not just a history of the New York landmark, but a philosophical reflection on the creation of American myths, the value of skyscrapers and the nature of icons generally. Kingwell’s friendly conversational style makes the densest ideas transparent. You’ll come away from any given chapter knowing a whole lot more about a whole lot of things.

Fresh, by Mark McNay: One you get used to the rapid-fire Scottish dialect in the dialogue, you’ll be absorbed by this funny, high-energy first novel. It’s about a guy working in a chicken processing plant whose nutso brother gets out of jail early and wants some money back, thereby putting everyone in a state of high anxiety. There’s a spark in this language which is a huge relief after the earnest, turgid melancholy of Canadian prize-winning fiction.

The End of the Alphabet, by C.S. Richardson: We like this novel as much for its elegant Old-World design as for its urbane writing. It’s a gorgeous little hardcover book, just the size for a beach bag. The story is a somewhat contrived one, about a guy who finds out he has just a few weeks to live and must decide what he wants to do with them. He’s called Ambrose Zephyr; his wife’s name is Zappora Ashkenazi (get it?); it’s full of little literary jokes like this which may amuse or annoy, but we like its simple, elegant style, and its contemporary romanticism.

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