A brutal, complex, and cool-as-hell '70s version of the hard boiled private eye noir, with nihilism, humor, and radical left-wing politics aplenty.
Yes, surfing is cool, but did you know just how cool? Peek inside for an encyclopedia of grainy old photos, vintage advertisements, sleek swimwear, and an extensive collection of writing on the history and lifestyle of the sport. Perfect as a gift.
This collection of essays by Mars Room author and noted cool-person Rachel Kushner is a fine read, covering everything from art to underground motorcycle racing to shipwrecks to Clarice Lispector. I admit I didn't really know anything about some of the topics she covered, but it didn't matter - her keen observations (always unpretentious) and skillful prose make you feel well-acquainted with the material.
I'm a big fan of the entire Very Short Introduction series, but this one is my favorite, by far. The book goes into all the creative choices involved in documentary film (way more than I had ever considered), and gives a detailed history of the genre. It directed me towards some great films I had never heard of and changed the way I watch all movies.
For those of us who appreciate a hefty dose of childhood nostalgia.
Cather guides us through friendship, community, childhood, adulthood, memory, and immigration, and examines all the ways the people we care about shape and stick with us throughout our lives. This is a book to be read and re-read for years.
You may know Annalee Newitz best from their sci-fi or journalism, but did you know that they also wrote an archeology book?
While so many books about the past focus on rulers & leaders, Newitz instead considers the individuals who lived under normal circumstances some 9,000 years ago. It's a fascinating read that thinks on a large scale and places much about our current place in time into perspective.
A fascinating collection detailing Krakauer's personal experiences with mountaineering. It's an excellent place to start if you're curious about how people climb mountains, or if you're looking to get into the sport yourself, or even if you just want to read something with adventure.
Dark, cynical, and suspenseful like nothing else, Cain’s classic tale about one couple’s murder plot gone wrong is an excellent entry point into the world of noir. It’s a short read that unfolds brilliantly and will haunt you for years.
An expansive, but very readable, collection of histories that many of us are not taught in school. Perfect for anyone interested in the story of our country.
To those who wonder if the western genre is worth their time, I present this book. Oakley Hall’s 450-page western epic is a fantastic read, with an extensive cast of odd characters, an unparalleled attention to detail, and some very real questions about justice and the fragility of society. It’s a thriller, a romance, a crime novel, and a book that captures a side of the old West we don’t see anywhere else. Think John Ford by way of Thomas Pynchon.
A fast-paced, action-packed, 1970s crime thriller from France. From the clothing to the cars to the architecture, it’s every bit as cool as you want it to be.
Sure, you know that swamps are cool, but did you know just how cool? Pulitzer Prize-winner Proulx has delivered an excellent assessment of how these three title ecosystems impact not only our planet, but our culture and daily lives. Beyond wetlands, it’s also a book about conservation, moss, birds, time, archaeology, labor, literature, and more. You will learn way more than you expect.
If you, like me, are interested in the space that exists between what can easily be called fiction or nonfiction, I recommend The Twilight World. Landing somewhere between a biography and a novel, Herzog recounts the story of Hiroo Onoda and creates a work that is at once terrifying and beautiful. Herzog fans will be pleased to find another eccentric loner, far removed from society, dealing with strange existential dilemmas, yet even those unfamiliar will be taken in by this fascinating, dreamlike tale of survival.
The great Steven Wright has taken the situation of a 7-year-old boy daydreaming in class and written a beautiful novel out of it, using his signature absurd humor to explore topics like the nature of reality, birds, friendship, Carl Sagan and more. Those familiar with the comedian will be happy to find plenty of his strange philosophical insight, yet this book will also appeal to fans of authors like Saramago, Calvino or Kundera.