Book Review: A Tale for the Time Being by Ruth Ozeki

Readers of mine, those of you who have been around a while know I like to read books. Since I was in the 4th grade I have read westerns by Louis L’Amour. Science Fiction has been, and continues to be a mainstay genre for me. As does good sword and sorcery fantasy.  Old school adventures like early novels from Clive Cussler will always suck me in.

I also like historical fiction, adventure travel and cycling yarns.

There are times I have stretched my reading chops a bit. As part of a Facebook Book club, I did in fact read a Nicholas Sparks book (Michelle says it made me VERY cranky) and I once got suckered into a book written by the author who wrote about vampires that sparkle. DOUBLE UGH!!

There are times I will take a leap of faith with my reading though. (But as god as my witness I will NEVER read Nicholas Sparks again! ) I like to try new books. They aren’t always easy, but in the end it is most often worth it.

This recommendation came from my bestest blogger buddy Sarah Burch of Honoring My Compass. She recommended A Tale for the Time Being, about a month ago. She also wondered if it would end up as a book review blog post.

Well last night, after a marathon session, I finished it, I liked it and it is worth the post! Here you go Sarah…

Continue reading “Book Review: A Tale for the Time Being by Ruth Ozeki”

Book Review: Off the Map (Bicycling Across Siberia) by Mark Jenkins

Ladies and gents, LONG before there were kindles and Ipods with Kindle apps, in fact, before there were e-readers of any type. I read these things we used to call books! In fact, back then, when I would come to the Oregon coast, I would scour used book stores for additions to my adventure library.

I have mountain climbing books, river conquering books, and arctic survival essays.

And, of course, in addition to all of these, I have cycling adventures.

These books were in our attic for years, but now that we have moved, Michelle made sure I had space for them. Last week, I felt myself drawn to reread and review one of my favorites…. Continue reading “Book Review: Off the Map (Bicycling Across Siberia) by Mark Jenkins”

Book Review: Into the North Wind by Jill Homer

You know its been a long time since I did a book review post when I have NO idea what or when the last one was! (I just checked, it was back in August!) A month ago I felt the need to read a cycling book.

When it comes to cycling books, I am happy to read about any bikes. Trikes, road bikes, recombinants or mountain bikes. Racers, and those just seeing country are all fun. This one combined mountain biking racing AND crossing some serious country… Continue reading “Book Review: Into the North Wind by Jill Homer”

Book Review: Downhills Don’t Come Free by Jerry Holl

Recently I realized something. Even though I have continued being an avid reader this year, as always, it has been a long time since I have read a cycling book. So, a week ago I went perusing Amazon for a good choice.

After a bit I stumbled upon Downhills Don’t Come Free (One Man’s Bike Ride from Alaska to Mexico) by Jerry Holl. I loved the title! It may honestly be the best bike book title I’ve ever read. Anyone who has ever reveled at a fast long downhill after climbing for hours would understand why.

Yep hit the purchase button as soon read about it… Continue reading “Book Review: Downhills Don’t Come Free by Jerry Holl”

Book Review: Biking Across America by Paul Stutzman

Recently I found myself restless. Not physically as May was a great month for the bike and June has been ok, but in my reading. I have long enjoyed books about adventuring, be it river, mountain or bike. The last book was from Joe Kurmaskie, A Guide to Falling Down in Public (Reviewed here) over a month ago.  It was time to find a new one.

After a couple of days searching Amazon, I found Paul Stutzman’s Biking Across America: My Coast to Coast Adventure and the People I Met.  I REALLY need to read the book descriptions better…. Continue reading “Book Review: Biking Across America by Paul Stutzman”

“So This is Christmas” and “Ruby Grace” Excellent gift ideas!

I’ve mentioned in the past that I am an avid reader.  I’ve been reading damn near every day since at least the 4th grade, and maybe even before.  Getting a book for my birthday or Christmas was the perfect gift.  What else could you get, for the price of a movie, that gives you many many hours of fun.

Nowadays, I carry my iPad or my Kindle everywhere I go, and I read whenever I get the chance.  I usually have 2 or 3 books going at anyone time.

When asked for gift ideas for people, one of the first things I think of is a book!  Those who can write and get a book published are to be admired.  Which is why I am excited to do this post.  Two of my friends, Jim Devitt, and Renee Hazen, have each just published a book that would be perfect for the holidays!

I am lucky enough to have read them both and I can share them with you! Continue reading ““So This is Christmas” and “Ruby Grace” Excellent gift ideas!”

Book Review: The Metal Cowboy: Ten Years Further Down the Road Less Pedaled by Joe Kurmaskie

I really like to read! I have been an avid reader since my dad gave me my fist real book “The Sackett Brand” by Louis L’Amour back in the 4th grade. I read many different genres, from sci-fi, to westerns, fantasy, and hard science to name a few. What I pride myself on is my Adventure Library. This was started back when I started climbing mountains in the 90s. It contains climbing books, running rivers, crossings of polar regions and deserts, as well as many books on cycling. (Right now they are all in plastic bins in the attic, but when we have a place big enough….)

Over the years, I have developed one rule on determining whether it s a good adventure book or not. “Does it make me want to go out and do what the author is writing about?” Using ONLY that rule, Joe Kurmaskie hits a home run with “The Metal Cowboy: 10 Ten Years Further Down the Road Less Pedaled.

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This is the anniversary edition of this book. First printed 10 years ago. It is a compilation of short stories chronicling Joe’s adventures traveling the world on a bike (only man I know who had to outrun a charging elephant in Africa (true story I’ve seen the video!)). Most importantly, each story, standing on its own, made me want to get the bike and ride, regardless of the weather, time of day, or what I should have been doing.

Taken as a whole, all I can say is that I am glad (or am I) that this book wasn’t around when I was in high school. I am telling you, if it had been, there is a damn good chance this office jockey wouldn’t have gone to college. I’d have been cycling the United States and beyond, seeing and experiencing those things that can only be done on the back of 2 wheels. He inspires you to want to ride that much!

However, that is NOT the only reason t read this. I will tell you from experience, that many adventurers are NOT entertaining writers. Being interested in the quest has kept me performing my own death march through many a mountain climbing trip with the author.

NOT so with Joe. If you don’t laugh audibly at least once during this book (I woke up my wife a time or two reading in bed) you MIT want to take your pulse. Only Joe would find a hotel full of Elvises (Elvi?) dress like a scarecrow, have a friend MAKE him leave Aruba or be named Metal Cowboy by a blind man at a street corner.

What I like about the way he writes, is that even though cycling is the focal point (without the bike, it never would have happened) of each story, they aren’t mundane: I traveled this many miles, in this much time, with these winds and I saw…..

He is an excellent story-teller.  You know when he is on the bike, what he is feeling and whether is a good ride, or he is dying at the time.  You can feel the wind when it is there, and either curse or revel in it (depending on the direction it is blowing).  Better yet though, you find out what happens when he is OFF the bike (Kiefer Sutherland?   Really??).  Non of us spend 24/7 pedaling down the road, its nice to know what can await you when you lean the bike against a porch and it time to eat.

Want to fall in love with cycling all over again?  Want to honestly have a good time reading a book?  Even if you read it once, get the Metal Cowboy: Ten Years Further Down the Road Less Pedaled.  Better yet, skip Amazon and go to MetalCowboy.com and order an autographed copy.  He also does a great presentation about his rides, I’ve only been lucky enough to see him once, but I will see him again, he speaks as well as he writes!