I’m talking all-time you crazy people. All-time. Top ten. These are the books I reread on a yearly basis. Most of them anyway. Some are behemoths, the literary equivalent of the tar pit. Some of these might be on your list. Some you might dislike. That’s okay. And another thing, the list is fluid, as are most things in life. In no particular order.
- The Solace of Open Spaces, Gretal Erhlich. I could put a number of her books on this list but the bar for me starts with Solace. Now, I spent part of my life on a ranch in Wyoming and NOBODY nails this time and this place like Erhlich. I’ve always wanted to meet her, never have.
- Blood Meridian, Cormac McCarthy. This is so scary good I don’t even know what to write about it. Imagine Apocalypse Now meets Pale Rider. Apparently, a script has been floating around for years but nobody has been able to figure out how to make it. If they screw this up I will personally hold them responsible. This is one book of a three-book trilogy about the border and all three are incredible but Blood Meridian is the standard of which all other books of this genre are gauged. According to lore, he wrote it while living in a trailer behind a grocery store in El Paso.
- Rum Diary, Hunter Thompson. His first book. Here is the thing about Thompson. He never gets his due from literary snobs because of his incredible lifestyle and his disregard of the same establishment. Rum Diary was his first book and was the beginnings of what would later become Gonzo Journalism, a perfect blend of fact and fiction. Thompson was unique and has been copied and ripped off by many, many other writers and creatives. The movies about him pale compared to the books. And, if you ever get a chance to read his letters then by all means. He was prolific and sent hundreds and hundreds of letters, sometimes to the same person. And he hated Nixon like no one else.
- Seven Pillars of Wisdom, T.E Lawrence. Holy shit. If you think you are an adventurer well then take a month to read this beast and you will realize you are mostly amateur hour. Lawrence, also known as “Lawrence of Arabia,” was the man. Early 1900’s, Arabia and his exploits as a military officer unlike any other.
- The Quiet American, Graham Greene. I became a photographer because of seeing the work of Larry Burrows from the Vietnam War. There are a few seminal books about the war and Green’s Quiet Ameican is one of them. Want to know others, hit me up below.
- Giving you two-for-one The Naked and the Dead by Norman Mailer and The Thin Red Line by James Jones. War. It’s in our nature and it’s good for business. We can learn SO much from war if we give ourselves a chance. Most of the time we do not. These two books are long enough for you to feel like you are there, in the trenches.
- The Bhagavad Gita. what piqued my interest in the Bhagavad Gita was a reference from Oppenheimer when asked about the atomic bomb test. From there I realized T.S. Eliot, Thoreau, Emerson and Gandhi all referenced this baby, and the combination of those people prompted the purchase. I loved this book and will probably reference it again again. It points to the basics I see around me every single day. It may or may not give meaning depending, well, on you.
- Into the Silence, Wade Davis. Everest. Mallory. The summit, not quite. This was an incredible book that led me on a reading voyage that spiraled out in numerous directions.
- The Razor’s Edge, Somerset Maughn. I read this every year. And I have friends who are equally attached. We have meetings where we just talk about Larry Darrell. This book has influenced me in so many ways I can’t’ tell you.
- Okay, lazy wins out. Anything from Terry Tempest Williams and anything from Joan Didion. Oh Hell, and John McPhee. I tried to narrow it down but I can’t. Uber women, Uber man who put it down like nobody else.
I realized after about point number two that this is impossible to do well. I’ve left out all the classics. Dickens, etc. Whatever. This ought to hold you for a few months.