Wednesday, October 13, 2010

Book Reports

Stupid reading, getting in the way of my writing.

Since I last posted, I've been devouring books. While I was waiting for my copy of David Herlihy's Lost Cyclist to show up, I knocked off Earth, the latest from Jon Stewart and the rest of the crew at The Daily Show (not on-topic for this blog, but snorting-milk-out-the-nose hilarious nonetheless). Then that magic smiling box from the overlords of online reading material retail showed up.

As expected, I hit David Herlihy's book fast and I hit it hard. It's an absolutely fascinating read for biker and non-biker alike. Don't get me wrong -- there are plenty of tidbits for the wheeled nerd crowd, but pretty much anyone who likes a good adventure will eat this one up. I especially enjoyed how Herlihy wove together the stories of Frank Lenz (the lost cyclist of the title) and the equally intrepid William Sachtleben who went off in search of Lenz after his disappearance. There's history here, but it's in the service of an engrossing story -- think Jon Krakauer on wheels with an old-timey moustache.

In the hopes of horking free shipping from the smiling book giant, I also tossed Bike Snob: Systematically and Mercilessly Realigning the World of Cycling into my wobbly-wheeled virtual shopping cart:

Perchance you know the Bike Snob from his anonymous/eponymous blog (also conveniently linked over there to the right). If you're put off by his snark (I'm not), don't let that scare you away from his book -- although if you are a fan of the blog, the book actually features (spoiler alert!) photos of the mythical Ironic Orange Julius Bike. There's still plenty of snark to go around, but the blog's vitriol is definitely toned down on the page. What's left is a collection of hilariously skewed insights from a writer with a sharp eye and unique voice who just happens to be absolutely nuts about riding bikes. Bike Snob has rocketed to the top of my "recommended reads for new cyclists" list, right alongside Paul Fournel's Need for the Bike and Robert Hurst's Art of Urban Cycling. Heck, I'd recommend this book just for the description of triathletes as "the turduckens of the cycling world" -- which inspired me to christen my decal-free touring bike the Tourducken for its versatility and/or inability to decide on a real purpose in life.

Oh, and if you want to read even more good stuff for free, note that I just added the ever-entertaining fivetoedsloth (from iBOB pal Scott Loveless) to my blogroll after being treated to a couple of his posts via The Facebooks (yeah, the last holdout is finally on there -- don't ask).

Okay, enough improving my mind with good writing. Time to get back to ruining your mind with my writing.

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