Already, my book list is sounding a little eclectic. With a gift of a book on snake lore and moonshine, my friends Kendall, Lori and Sam quickly realized that they wanted to hear what I am reading. So I am going to write brief updates of what I am packing along. Since this will probably turn out to be a really weird list, it'll probably be more amusing than informative.
Under and Alone by William Queen
This book is about an ATF agent, William Queen, who went undercover for nearly two years with the Mongol motorcycle gang. Basically, the Mongols are a really rough group of people who commit a lot of crimes in the name of merriment and brotherhood. Not the sort of folks you would invite over for dinner. Queen went undercover and joined the outlaw motorcycle gang in order to bring it down.
Riveting. Very well written. Perhaps not the most cheerful subject matter when you are riding your bicycle alone and being passed by many motorcycles each day. Oh well.
Into the Wild by Jon Krakauer
Okay. Just about everyone I know has read this book and it's even been made into a movie. I was always a little tepid about reading the book. It chronicles the travels of Chris McCandless, a twenty something year old who got rid of most of his possessions and traveled around North America in order to experience nature's beauty. Eventually he died alone in the Alaskan bush from starvation. Since I knew the general premise of the book, I was once worried that I would read it and get caught up in romantic notions of the open road and living off of the land like Chris had.
You needn't worry about it. By the end of the book, Krakauer concludes that towards the end of his remaining days, Chris had realized the need and desire to have people in his life and to attempt a balance between being out among nature and accepting society. Unfortunately he starved to death before he could return to civilization. Now a few years ago, I may have similarly thought about going off into the wild by myself and making a go of it. But I have already realized that I really appreciate the folks in my life. Travelling alone by myself (even while still within civilization) magnifies the importance of family and friends around me.
Excellent book. Really helped place my love of the outdoors in perspective and reinforced that I want to keep a proper balance with society.