The last book I read was Mat Hoffman’s The Ride of My Life. It’s an easy read and just over 300 pages, so you’ll be done with it before you know it. It takes you through Mat’s life from when he started riding to where he is today. The book has some really good photos of him riding and the start of Hoffman Bikes. This book is like a guide through BMX during the 80’s and 90’s, and it talks about some of the biggest events that took place in Mat’s life and BMX.

I forgot how much this book cost (but it wasn’t much) and several people have borrowed it from me. I would say it’s definitely worth reading, but I would recommend buying a copy for yourself; you’ll want to read it again.

Adam Banton, rock nosepick in the middle of nowhere.  credit: Mark Losey

The last book I read was Blues All Around Me, The Autobiography of BB King. I’m not a BB King fan really, but it was a recommendation from my mom. It ended up being really cool to read. It explained how his life started as a cotton field worker in the racist and segregated south of the early 1940-50’s. He talks about his climb to success and describes a long road and an interesting life. Throughout the entire book he is fueled by an overwhelming love of music (and women).

Anyway, I really enjoyed the book and read if in a couple days because it describes a life so foreign to me. It was amazing to hear stories of how f***ed segregation was firsthand like that, and it was cool to see through BB’s eyes how powerful music can be.

Taj Mihelich, airtime on the T1 ramp in Austin, Texas.  credit: Jeff Zielinski

I saw the article on BMXonline and it was neat seeing what other people are reading. I was looking at reading Bob Scerbo’s recommendation, but I think it was like 500 pages or something. I’m not afraid of that many pages, but that many pages of economics I am afraid of.

I do have something that I read last summer that I was into. It’s a book called The Culture of Fear: Why Americans are Afraid of the Wrong Things by Barry Glassner. This guy can be seen in Bowling for Columbine in which Michael Moore talks to him about not being able to see the Hollywood sign and being safe in South Central LA. He writes along the lines of Michael Moore but with less storytelling and he doesn’t pit himself in the left vs. right argument that is prevalent today. He is left, but the book doesn’t sensationalize it like Michael Moore’s books. He talks about how the media blows up everything to keep people in fear and watching television. I obviously paint a broad generalized picture, but that is what the book is about.

Jim Cielencki, bottom-side can-can footplant.  credit: Jeff Zielinski

Life After God By Douglas Coupland

Non-religious types need not be wary of this; the title is somewhat misleading and it really only has religious ties toward the end. The rest of the book is an autobiographical account of the author’s life written in some of the most colorful prose conceived that is both concise and articulate. Each chapter takes on a different defining moment from the storyteller’s life, (e.g. his impending divorce, thee disappearance of his sister, his year living in a hotel) and it all meshes into the realization that he is rapidly losing the capacity to feel anything. But let me make this disclaimer: this is not the feel-good book of the year. In fact, most of “Life After God” is teetering on the brink of world-class despair. Coupland is somewhat of a tortured soul, and his writing–however prolific and awe inspiring it may be–reflects his over-analytical and often despondent nature.

This book came into my hands on my 22nd birthday and since then I’ve read it no fewer than 15 times. I highly recommend it to anyone who has ever felt the weight of the world fall upon their shoulders, and who, instead of running for the nearest distraction, has let the whole panoply of emotions that define what it is to be human sweep over them.

Tom Haugen, suicide no-handed transfer in Minneapolis, Minnesota.  credit: Jeff Zielinski

Mr. Wilson’s Cabinet of Wonder by Lawrence Weschler

This book is loosely written about the contents of a place called “The Museum of Jurassic Technology.” This place closely resembles the museums of long ago, which were often referred to as “Wonder Cabinets.” This name alone questions the borders of imagination and reality. Throughout the book, Weschler describes the stories behind some of the objects exhibited. The objects range from horned humans to pronged ants to micro-miniature sculptures. The exhibits described seem curious, strange, and often closer to fantasy.

I had to read this book twice to actually make sense of it. It wasn’t an easy read. It is written with notes that go into further detail of individual stories, which makes you jump back and forth throughout the book. You also have to pay close attention while reading to catch on to what is and is not fantasy. That is what I liked about this book. It simply leaves you to think, and more importantly, to wonder.

Aaron Behnke, flatland action in Orlando, Florida.  credit: Jeff Zielinski