20 Books Every Man Should Read in His Lifetime – Men’s Journal

Posted in Wisconsin Tattoo on May 06, 2021

Books are transportive, eye-opening, life-affirming. Whether youre jonesing for your next adventure or looking for a bit of inspiration, get all that and more from these glorious reads. Theyre our top list of books every man should read in his lifetime.

With some classics and curveballs thrown in the mix, theres something for every kind of reader. And if youre looking for a great gift for the bilbliophile in your life, this list has got you covered.

Its a miracle this page-turning 2009 memoir and New York Times best-seller hasnt been turned into a movie. A few years back, Sean Penn was set to direct the film adaptation of the book, but it fell through. We think its a blessing in disguise, because no amount of cinematic glory could ever capture this unbelievable tale of a young boy surviving a mountainside plane crash interwoven with surfing stories, road trips, and a look at Ollestads troubled relationship with his father.

[$8.99; amazon.com]

This posthumous travel guide released in spring of 2021 is already a New York Times No.1 best-seller, and with good reason. Its funny, sharp, practical, and makes this pale blue dot seem like ours for the taking. Whether youre seeking Bourdains thoughts on Tangier or where to stay in Toronto, this comprehensive book has it all, along with some stellar essays from Bourdains friends, brother, and co-workers about the man who made us all want to journey to parts unknown, be they around the corner or half-way across the globe.

[$19.99; amazon.com]

When Alboms college professor from nearly 20 years ago is diagnosed with ALS, hean overworked sports writer, whose life is unravelingis able to reconnect with him and learn the lessons of life and death that too many are afraid to teach or speak. If youre feeling burdened by dense tomes as of late, this 1997 best-selling memoir can easily be devoured in a sitting or two.

[$13.99; amazon.com]

If youre all about being one with the mountains, its hard to outshine this collection of alpine stories that was the winner of the 2019 National Outdoor Book Award for Outdoor Literature, as well as the 2019 Banff Mountain Book Award for Climbing Literature. Fittingly, it covers a lot of ground, from essays on adventuring in the 21st century to adrenaline-filled sagas from life at great, glorious, and terrifying heights.

[$10.49; amazon.com]

Under the Wave at Waimea by Paul Theroux Courtesy Image

This spring 2021 release is Theroux at his fictive finest: descriptive, nuanced, sagacious, and just a touch unlikable for how damn good of a writer he is. The novel chronicles a champion surfer who accidentally kills a homeless man with his car while hes inebriated. Surf culture, Hawaii, the road to renewaltheres a whole lot to love in these 421 pages.

[$15.99; amazon.com]

Okay, well try not to fill this whole list with Theroux picks. This 1982 instant best-seller was shortlisted for the American Book Award, and its a novel you wont be able to put down, even on your fifth read: The crazed and genius inventor Allie Fox relocates his family from America to the Honduras jungle in a story that may very well change how you look at the world. In 1986, Harrison Ford starred in the movie rendition of the novel, and it now makes for an especially timely read, or reread, as its an Apple TV series starring Therouxs nephew, Justin Theroux.

[$9.99; amazon.com]

If theres ever been a hiking memoir to read, its this one. Hailed as one of the best books of the year by NPR, Entertainment Weekly, and more after its 2012 release, Strayed tells a deeply moving, sometimes humorous, and ever-vivid account of her more than 1,000-mile hike along the PCT in an attempt to turn her life aroundor at least find something like life again after her moms death, the dissolution of her marriage, and drug addiction in a few short years in her early- to mid-twenties.

[$11.99; amazon.com]

This 2001 Wisconsin memoir will both entice and dissuade you from taking the plunge. After a 10-year absence, Perry moves back to his rural Wisconsin hometown and joins the volunteer fire department where he fights fires and works as an EMT. In a hamlet of only 485 people, he takes calls of heartbreaking tragedy and crazier-than-fiction humor along the way, chased by plenty of philosophical waxing that never preaches, yet really makes you think.

[$9.99; amazon.com]

What happens when a pro runner carves his way across the country with a high-quality camera? An excellent tribute to the people and places that make up our nation on this athletes journey from South Carolina to San Francisco. The only downside? The last page has you wishing you had about 100 more pictures and stories to go.

[$2.84; amazon.com]

This 1971 hit book got an excellent movie treatment starring Johnny Depp and Benicio del Toro in 1998, but nothing compares to the trip of both the psychedelic and highway persuasion captured on the page in Thompsons inimitable tongue. Expect drugs, drama, and for some strange Dr. Duke interludes.

[$9.99; amazon.com]

Quite possibly the best cross-country travelogue youll ever read by one of Americas finest authors, this 1962 criss-cross takes you to cities and wastelands, striking vistas and craggy cliffs. Steinbeck evocatively captures himself, his beloved pup Charley, and his country in a moment ripe with literal and figurative crossroads.

[$9.99; amazon.com]

The Kiowa novelist and poet dazzles in his Pulitzer Prize-winning novel about Abel, a veteran and Native American toeing the line between his cultural upbringing and the modern world that is just as relevant today as when it was first published in 1968. With breathtaking natural scenery and lyrical language throughout, youll definitely finish feeling inspired to wander through New Mexico, or retreat into a dingy dive in Los Angeles nursing a whiskeyor both.

[$10.99; amazon.com]

How could we not put this non-fiction marvel on the list? It follows the real-life story of Christopher McCandless peregrinations to Alaska from his cushy upbringing in Virginia. If youve seen the 2007 filmdirected by Sean Pennand loved it, prepare to be truly amazed when you pick up the 1996 international best-seller. (And if youve already read this one half-a-dozen times, may we suggest adding Krakauers fine exploration of Mormon fundamentalists, Under the Banner of Heaven: A Story of Violent Faith

[$12.99; amazon.com]

Everyone needs a good self-help book once a while. Preferably one that doesnt disappoint. Weiners quest for the most joyful place on the planetand its inhabitants secretsmore than delivers with science, laugh-out-loud personal anecdotes, and hard-won lessons woven in throughout. Good luck closing the last page not feeling in a better place than when you started.

[$10.99; amazon.com]

From the author of Bright Lights, Big Citycomes this delightful 2006 collection of essays on all things wine. It pairs really well with a five oclock tipple.

[$9.99; amazon.com]

Historical fiction keeps you enthralled from the first page until the last in this Pulitzer Prize-winning stunner about the antebellum South. With characters that leap off the page and language that punches you in the gut, allow this to be your gateway into the Trinity School- and Harvard-bred author.

[$11.99; amazon.com]

Mrquez chronicles the shipwreck of a Colombian boat, and one man who survived 10 days alone at sea. Published in 1955, its one of the best sagas of man versus nature youll ever read. Its certainly a non-fiction gem youll want to return to again and again.

[$11.99; amazon.com]

If youre reading our site, were going to go ahead and guess youre a fan of the inimitable Hunter S. Thompson. In this revealing 2016 memoir, his son Juan shares his experience of growing up with the legendary author in Woody Creek, CO, including their struggles and triumphs.

[$12.99; amazon.com]

Jim Harrison has always held a special place on our bookshelf. This 1988 glimpse into the life of a young woman who leaves California to return home to the wide expanse of Nebraska for a new life with her long-lost son. This is poignant and powerful, jabbing and jeering.

[$9.87; amazon.com]

I sing of arms and a man begins arguably the most epic journey of all time as Aeneas sets sail to Rome. Translated by Robert Fagles, this classic text dates back to somewhere around 20 BC. The Latin epic poems 12 books covers war, love, treacherous seas, and enough profound lines to fill a tattoo wish list.

[$9.99; amazon.com]

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20 Books Every Man Should Read in His Lifetime - Men's Journal

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