Monday, January 3, 2011

Mr. Luth's Vacation Reading List

I'm probably a little like most people in that I struggle to find the time to read, really enjoy it when I do it, weight my reading more heavily when on vacation, and quickly get away from it when back. I found myself, even on the last few nights of vacation when we had internet more readily available, quickly moving away from reading and getting myself caught up on Facebook, Twitter, and writing blog posts. While each of those has varying degrees of productiveness (I'm shocked that word didn't get hit by spell check), it was a little sad that I gravitated right back to the computer away and from the books as soon as the opportunity arose. Though if you think this paragraph is leading to a delayed New Year's resolution, you would be wrong.

I'm not sure exactly what that says about me, nor do I know what the odd combination of what I read says about the person I am; however, here's a quick rundown of the varied list I finished from the Kindle while on vacation.

In Fifty Years We'll All Be Chicks by Adam Carolla
Nothing signals the start of a vacation like a book that basically amounts to one long, funny rant that gets you laughing out loud. I breezed through this one very quickly and am quite possibly dumber for having read it, but it was the perfect way to switch from "work" to "not work". I did like his take on what defines a person's intelligence. Basically, if you know what you want out of life and go and get it, you're smart. I think I like that definition better than IQ. 

Death to the BCS: The Definitive Case Against the Bowl Championship Series by Dan Wetzel, Josh Peter, and Jeff Passan
Being a fan of college football, I was riveted. The book itself reads a little like an extended set of articles you might find on the internet (not that that's a bad thing). The authors present a fairly solid case for a playoff and relentlessly pound their dubbed Cartel (i.e., the conference commissioners and bowl directors) into the dirt. Upon reading the book I questioned why I chose a path in life that likely won't put me in the position to be the director of a large bowl, which, based on the authors description, is easily one of the five or ten cushiest gigs imaginable.

War by Sebastian Junger
The first two books were at least slightly related (i.e., books that a thirty-something year old dude might select to read on vacation); this gets a little more serious.Slightly more serious than Corolla or college football, this book is awesome, moving, and powerful. The author (same guy that wrote The Perfect Storm) is embedded with front line combat soldiers in Afghanistan. Made me extremely proud of our soldiers, the sacrifices they make, and the struggles they face when they come home; also seemed inappropriately ironic to be reading this book from a place like Bali. I've read the Krakauer/Pat Tillman book, tend to like anything Krakauer puts out, and found this book more "real" (as you'd probably expect from an author that's living day in and day out with the troops).

Unlikely Destinations: The Lonely Planet Story by Tony and Maureen Wheeler
We found this one in a bookstore in Ubud and seemed like an appropriate choice given our travels (I had another Afghanistan book, Rory Stewart's The Places In Between, on deck in the Kindle and just couldn't bring myself to read two in a row). The first half or so of the book outlines how the Wheeler's little creation came to be and the second half talks more about what it's like to write a guidebook, some of the company's struggles, how they've grown, how they determine what locations to write about and ways to slice their and package their creative content. The first half was a little long-winded and kind of turned into a "we went 'here' and then 'here' and then 'there' and then we went back to 'there'" but I really enjoyed learning more about the company. It's also worth noting that based on Adam Carolla's definition, there's no doubt that the Wheeler's qualify as "smart."


  1. Cool - War is on several "must read" lists, so I'm adding it to mine as well. I'm the same way with reading and would love to get back into it ... and set out to turn OFF the computer more often!

  2. It's definitely worth the read! I've now been back since Saturday night and haven't read a page since; not a good sign!