Imagine with us: You’ve just left work on a sultry Friday, and damn do you feel good. Why? Because it’s summer, for one, and you’re off for a weekend, or a long weekend, or a week even, if your boss isn’t a Nazi and your job still includes that sweet rarity, “vacation time”. But no one’s around to hang, which is fine — it’s relaxation time, baby. What better way to enjoy the weather (without sweating) than a summer read? We’ve got 10 great picks for every type of reader, right here.
The story of a fish pickling prodigy
From a fish pickling Polish immigrant to a businessman with a burgeoning national clientele, Mark Russ Federman’s walked an interesting, often difficult path. Russ & Daughters: Reflections and Recipes from the House That Herring Built ($15) spins Federman’s personal reflections and heartwarming anecdotes on the growth of his adored New York City appetizer store.
Face funny pictures of your fears
Whether it’s celebrating the terror caused by peanut butter (arachibutyrophobia), being watched by a duck (anatidaephobia) or, more timely, the Pope (papaphobia), Phobophobia ($15) is a clever visualization of the broad spectrum of human dread.
Coffee table, meet coffee book
Left unattended, the ubiquitous coffee table quickly becomes a gatekeeper of everything from last October’s cable bill (you paid that, didn’t you?) to the feet of undisciplined friends and family. We know you run a tighter ship than most and appreciate how a well-placed read can stimulate conversations faster than a triple shot. Here’s a crop of coffee-themed books worthy of displacing Ansel Adams or your decades-long dedication to the Maxim Hot 100.
We've Bean Reading
Feet up, couch bound with a good book in one hand and a hot cup of coffee in the other is a reader’s rite of passage. Those co-mingling aromas of parchment and fresh grounds are undeniably intoxicating. Any favorite book can be heightened by the pairing, but it being the Fortnight of Coffee and all, we decided to filter some new picks in a sort of meta-coffee vein: five first-rate reads to further your knowledge of one of the world’s most popular drinks.
Behind the Iron Curtain (of the dining room)
If you put a book about Churchill’s favorite sod selections in front of us, we’d read it. Dinner With Churchill: Policy-Making at the Dinner Table ($16) delves into two slightly more interesting aspects of the British Bulldog’s history: politics and social life. He was a notorious drinker, smoked cigars with an unnatural relish, and was one of the most sly, entertaining and clever politicians of the 20th century
A stagger on the wild side
For the connoisseur of fine spirits, the dabbler of craft brews, arcane wine regions and exclusive distillations, we’ve got a read that’s a cat of a different feather. Twisted like a mixed metaphor, Alt Whiskeys: Alternative Whiskey Recipes and Distilling Techniques for the Adventurous Craft Distiller ($30) offers the experimenting distiller some whiskey recipes that step past the fringe.
Keep calm and read on
Selecting the 100 best books for men requires some audacity — but so does hitting a good tee shot or giving a toast, and we like those things fine. We figured the best way to do an honest job of it was to imagine ourselves as audience members: What do we want to read? The answer we discovered, after some hemming and hawing, was simply something we’ll enjoy.
So that’s what we did. Our 100 selections are our all-time favorites — albeit considered in the light of how much they changed our lives, and might change yours — and each of the six “auditors” had a general (but not universal) slant. Our car editor loved motorcycle manuals and top-tier action novels. Our watch and diver fanatic loved tales of true survival. One co-founder was into age-of-thought-shifting sci-fi. I had a definite classics fetish.
Ultimately, we realized that each of our individual favorites made up an extremely wide range of suggestions. And really, on a very large scale, that’s what a library is. Sure, we have an immense amount of room to go, and some incredible literature has been missed. But we’ve also hit at least a small corner of what most might consider the “core readings”; and, sticking to our previously mentioned “read what you like” rule, there have to be at least a few you’ll truly enjoy.
Ignore those cries for Yelp
Customer reviews make or break countless decisions — particularly when it comes to where to dine. But why take the word of all the world’s self-righteous social media whores when you could rely on expert advice? That’s the idea behind Where Chefs Eat: A Guide to Chefs’ Favourite Restaurants ($13).
Hop to it
Stan Hieronymus’s tome, For the Love of Hops: The Practical Guide to Aroma, Bitterness and the Culture of Hops ($11), looks to be the required reading for a college course. An awesome college course, with pints, flights of adult beverages and a professor that’s eternally tipsy. This isn’t light reading. And that’s why it’s fantastic.
Objective? Learn about the real Bonds
Unless you hang around some pretty tough circles, the only MI6 you know comes from Ian Fleming and one Mr. Bond. The Art of Betrayal: The Secret History of MI6 ($21) by Gordon Corera delves into the real deal, detailing the subterfuge and sabotage that the British spy agency has engaged in with varied success…
The folks at MR. PORTER know a fair thing or two about living the good life. Subsequently, adding The MR. PORTER Manual For a Stylish Life Volume 1 ($35) to your ever-evolving style library is an easy recommendation. The new paperback is compiled by the site’s editor-in-chief, Jeremy Langmead, and provides detailed analysis of timeless…
Remember to flip the pages, not tap
We cling to our smartphones like Wesley Snipes to a tax attorney — but even the coolest apps are worthless when your battery bar’s hurting. A new line of National Geographic Recreation Atlases ($18), described as “part road atlas, part trail guide, part trip planner”, serve as a great old-school solution getting the most out of your next vacation.
Learn his methods, Watson
Psychology was the easy way to learn in college — sorry, psych majors — and Maria Konnikova’s Mastermind: How to Think Like Sherlock Holmes ($16) is the fun way to bone up your brain skills as an adult. In our age of lean diets and expensive gym memberships, we do often forget about that pink, fleshy master and commander of ourselves: our brains, that is. Ahem.
Know the password
Not much is secret anymore. We probe the strange, glorious depths of the world, wherever they be. Then we post them to Facebook. Secret Society: Modern Speakeasy Style and Design ($125) divulges with a bit more class. The hulking book bulges with the descendants of ’20s speakeasies — secret clubs that no longer hide illegal…
A road map to the map
That we take technology for granted is a fact we take for granted. Unlock that flashy smartphone, navigate your bloated American thumb to the map app, and millennia of man’s navigation efforts appear before your very eyes. On the Map: A Mind-Expanding Exploration of the Way the World Looks ($17) by Simon Garfield (author of…
F*** it Dude, let's go reading
Like The Dude from 1998?s The Big Lebowski, Jeff Bridges is a chill guy. He attributes much of his amiable nature to the teachings of his good friend and, most recently, co-author, Zen Roshi Bernie Glassman. The decidedly serene duo has paired up to pen The Dude and the Zen Master ($14), a collection of conversations that meanders through the intricacies of life in Hollywood — and life on the path to Enlightenment.
Because MacGyver Wasn't Real
Perhaps you’re thinking that since the Mayan faux-pocalypse is a thing of the past, you won’t be needing to Bruce Willis yourself out of a life threatening situation any time soon. But it’s that kind of thinking that’ll get you in trouble, friend. The hard truth? It’s a dangerous world we live in, and even if you haven’t recited the Scout Motto for two decades, it’s a prime idea to Be Prepared at all times.
Beauty of the Beast
It’s high time your Cats of the World coffee table book got moved to its rightful place… storage. In its place, lay down something your friends won’t mock you about: The Porsche 911 Book 50th Anniversary Edition. With 304 pages and 250 stunning color photographs shot by automotive photographer René Staud, the book covers the…
Vinyl that's music to our eyes
Vinyl-loving hipsters (redundant!) looking for a healthy dose of self-fulfilled prophecy, take heed: 101 Essential Rock Records ($40) is the perfect opportunity to simultaneously read up on your favorite retro music format and eschew the mainstream e-book fad. Gracing 260 pages, this compendium’s 300 record cover illustrations chronicle the “Golden Age” of vinyl — that…
12 gifts for the tech obsessed
To the inexperienced, the words “techie” and “guy” seem synonymous. Sure, most guys do like technology these days — but like does not true a techie make. So while this list can absolutely be applied to any modern man, its real target is the hardcore gadget nut. The one who scours the blogs and refreshes…
Dad couldn't have made this one
There’s a coffee table book for everything these days, so we’re a little surprised it’s taken this long to address a topic so near and dear to anyone with even a scrap of inner childhood left kicking around: tree houses. Maybe we’re just rusty on our Swiss Family Robinson. Taschen’s Tree Houses: Fairy Tale Castles…
No, it wasn't a four-hour talk
Pine pollen is a powder that contains the cellular material used to produce male sperm cells in coniferous plants. It’s available on Amazon.com as a supplement to increase testosterone, with some companies marketing it as a source of “perpetual youth”, claiming that it helps with everything from improving endurance to regulating prostate function. As part…
Get in the director's chair
After you watch Skyfall and discuss its epic quality with your friends, you may feel a bit of a pinch in your gut. This is Bond withdrawal. Sure, you’ve got Thanksgiving Day marathons coming in a few weeks, but what will you do until then? Keep your Bond high rolling with Greg Williams’ Bond on…
Examining 007's inky origins
I’ve gaped at car chases, grinned from ear to ear over sly one-liners and left theaters flushed with the gory glory of Daniel Craig’s stone-faced massacres. No arguments here: theatrical James Bond is the perfect feel-good character for a whole sect of males. Cars, women, subterfuge and wit — that’s not a hard pill to…
De-throning the Kings of Beers
Mom, baseball, and apple pie might just be the only things more American than Budweiser beer. Except Bud’s not — American, that is. Though the logo of the number-one-selling beer in the U.S. remains burned into our national psyche, Anheuser-Busch is now a wholly owned subsidiary, bought out in a 2008 hostile takeover by the…
(Nearly) Instant Intrigue
You’ve watched all the Bond movies — yes, even George Lazenby’s go at it. But the on-screen secret agent born from the extravagant wallet of Albert R. Broccoli bares only a fleeting resemblance to the card-carrying killer of Ian Fleming’s 14 seminal novels. The entire Bond book series has always been available in paperback form…
It's Elementary, Our Dear Readers
“You stand on the very brink of the unknown, and every duck that you shoot bears pebbles in its gizzard which come from a land which the maps know not”. Before satellites, before Google Maps, before GPS on your cell phone, there was bold-faced exploration. For a young medical student by the name of Arthur…
Napoleon had Marengo, Speed Racer had the Mach 5 and Magnum P.I. had his Ferrari. Man has always tethered an emotional bond to his mode of transportation, and that much more so with the automobile. But what of the men who’ve boosted the contemporary car’s ascent to a beloved, even worshiped, object? Masters of Modern…
A reference guide for the beeferati
People always ask us, “How do you find time to read when you’re busy eating all that beef?” We kill two steer with one stone — that’s how. The market for beef books is robust, so we’ve winnowed the list of our favorite beef-related cookbooks and resources to only five. That should be easy enough…