Ah, summertime. The most magical time of the year, if you ask me. Mornings are cool out on the patio sipping iced tea, afternoons are perfect for lazy tanning at the park, and evenings just beg you to cozy up in your bed with open windows. And what better accessory for all of these sublime situations than a book?
I’ll be honest, I’m a horrible reader. As a writer, I’m pretty sure I should be reading 100x more than I usually do – so I’m trying to amp up my literary chops with five fantastic adventurous books. As I complete each publication (bear with me, I read at a sloth’s pace), they’ll get their own individual reviews, but here are the five books that will keep my nose buried deep in their pages throughout the summertime.
Great American Dirtbags by Luke Mehall
If you’ve ever dreamed of living in a van, eating canned beans for days at a time, and showering at a rate that would make your mother rather upset, this book by Luke Mehall will put you in the kind of mood where you seriously consider quitting your job to go live in the desert.
Here’s all you really need from this book to make you know you need to read it (okay, and there’s a video too):
Where do we look from hope, for America, the planet, for the human race? The dirtbags.
Slow is Fast with Dan Malloy, Kanoa Zimmerman, and Kellen Keene
When I think about writing my own book, I shudder at the thought of just cranking out a novel. It’s 2014, y’all – media is changing, and it’s wonderful when books adapt too. Slow is Fast achieves a balance of classic print form with the digital space – the book itself combines storytelling and compelling photography, all of which is complemented by an included DVD.
This piece from Patagonia Books is simply described as “A portrait of California only accessible via human-powered travel.” I adore flipping through the pages that offer constant coastal inspiration and lifestyle bliss. It’s the kind of book you flip through and think “man, I want to live like this.” And then you watch the ~30 minute film, and all you can think about is surfing, sand, and the characters brought to life by this story.
Unbridled by Barbara McNally
I’m not quite sure how it happened, but I’ve been really feeling the “woo, yeah women!” vibes lately. This book published by Balboa Press has totally continued to fuel that fire with a memoir chronicling one woman’s journey of self-discovery, personal acceptance, and learning how to roll with life’s punches.
I’m about halfway through the book, and McNally is currently (in the story, that is) traveling through Ireland on a mission to connect with her family history. So far there have been romantic horseback rides, sultry encounters, and enchanting scenery described with imagery. Every page evokes the misty magic of Ireland, and I’m looking forward to the next destination in McNally’s trip – which I believe is Jamaica.
On The Road by Jack Kerouac
No but seriously, I still haven’t read this book. Can you believe that? One of the most iconic adventure stories of all time – and I haven’t read it yet. As you can tell from the header image, Amble munched on the book cover a little bit, but it’s still totally readable.
Packing Light by Allison Vesterfelt
This is another book that has been on my to-read list for quite some time – I actually received it as a birthday gift from Justin Fricke last year while I was out climbing at Foster Falls. Written by Allison Vesterfelt, this piece combines my love of exploring America with a journey that ditches life’s baggage in favor exploring what we really want from our lives.
The back cover of the book pretty much sums up my own personal journey: Vesterfelt starts from a point in her life where the future is filled with visions of white picket fences and a stable relationship – and then it quickly turns into a reality of flailing to figure out your life and accumulating bills, emotions, and belongings.
My favorite part of Packing Light so far? After the last page, there’s a faux library card that invites you to pass this book onto others in the spirit of refusing baggage and spreading the art of packing light.