Stuck at home? Nothing like a good book!
With many of our friends and readers around the world staying home due to social distancing or government-mandated restrictions, we’ve decided to bring you a list of book recommendations. After all, you can only look at so many photos of motorcycles online before your drool dries up and you need something else worthy of your attention. And, even in the midst of what might seem like Armageddon, there’s still nothing as comforting as a good book.
Here are some of our recommendations, including the Pride of Eden — the new novel from our editor in chief, Taylor Brown, which drops today! His book tour was canceled due to C-19, so please consider purchasing!
Author: Taylor Brown
“Imagine Papa Hemingway swapping tall tales with Dr. Hunter S. Thompson over several bottles of tequila, and you get some of the book’s flavor…” —The Star News
If you’re been binge-watching Tiger King, this is the book for you. Retired racehorse jockey and Vietnam veteran Anse Caulfield rescues exotic big cats, elephants, and other creatures for Little Eden, a wildlife sanctuary near the abandoned ruins of a failed development on the Georgia coast. But when Anse’s prized lion escapes, he becomes obsessed with replacing her—even if the means of rescue aren’t exactly legal.
From the rhino wars of Africa to the battle for the Baghdad Zoo, from the edges of the Okefenokee Swamp to a remote private island off the Georgia coast, Anse and his team battle an underworld of smugglers, gamblers, breeders, trophy hunters, and others who exploit exotic game.
“Pride of Eden is a beautifully written, visionary novel of scarred souls seeking redemption not only for themselves but, in their limited way, for us all. Taylor Brown is clearly one of the best American writers of his generation. We are fortunate to have his voice in these dark times.” —Ron Rash, author of Serena and Eureka Mill
Author: Lily Brooks-Dalton
“A powerful memoir about a young woman whose passion for motorcycles leads her down a road all her own.”
At twenty-one-years-old, Lily Brooks-Dalton is feeling lost; returning to New England after three and a half years traveling overseas, she finds herself unsettled, unattached, and without the drive to move forward. When a friend mentions buying a motorcycle, Brooks-Dalton is intrigued and inspired. Before long she is diving headlong into the world of gearheads, reconsidering her surroundings through the visor of a motorcycle helmet, and beginning a study of motion that will help her understand her own trajectory. Her love for these powerful machines starts as a diversion, but as she continues riding and maintaining her own motorcycles, she rediscovers herself, her history, and her momentum.
Forced to confront her limitations—new and old, real and imagined—Brooks-Dalton learns focus, patience, and how to navigate life on the road. As she builds confidence, both on her bike and off, she begins to find her way, ultimately undertaking an ambitious ride that leaves her strengthened, revitalized, and prepared for whatever comes next. Honest and lyrical, raw and thoughtful, Motorcycles I’ve Loved is a bold portrait of one young woman’s empowering journey of independence and determination.
“A young woman of passion and…velocity, Brooks-Dalton has written a bright, brisk ode to her beloved two-wheelers.” —Elle
Authors: Brian Franzen, Michael Newlun, Jeffrey Ross
“Three teenagers ride their Yamaha 350’s from Nebraska to California and back in 1973. Relive the sights and culture of the early seventies during their fun adventure on those two-lane highways.”
Their 1973 motorcycle ride took them from Beatrice, Nebraska, to Philmont Scout Ranch in New Mexico, Albuquerque, Phoenix, San Diego, LA, Vacaville, Lake Tahoe, Denver, and then back to Nebraska. They were teenagers, and they had relatives, friends, acquaintances, and girlfriends to see all along the journey. Some nights they camped out, others they stayed in a friend’s travel trailer, and some nights they enjoyed regular beds and access to a swimming pool. Each of them rode a 350cc two-stroke motorcycle on the 3500-mile trip. No cell phones, roadside assistance insurance coverage, custom ear plugs, or sound systems.
“The early 70’s was different than the 60’s, but not that much different. The attraction of the open road and the Pacific Ocean was very powerful. None of us were worried about breaking down or the costs of the trip. We had to go see western America. And we did.” —Excerpt
Author: Mark Gardiner
“Riding Man is the account of an Everyman, struggling to qualify for — and survive — the TT races. “
For 100 years, the Isle of Man Tourist Trophy races have been the world’s most dangerous organized sporting event. As one of thirty thousand fans who attended the annual spectacle, Mark Gardiner harbored no illusions about his own skill or bravery. He was, however, an avid motorcyclist for whom the race represented a boyhood dream. He went home, quit his job, sold everything he owned, and returned to the Island to race there himself. Riding Man is the account of an Everyman, struggling to qualify for — and survive — the TT races. If you’re a dreamer, the lesson in this book is that the pursuit of any worthwhile goal involves risks, rewards and, almost inevitably some regrets. If you’re not a dreamer, the lesson is more important: the deepest regrets are always over risks not taken.
“A deep and wonderful read about the paradox between the high and almost holy achievement of competing at the Isle of Man, and the obvious dark side of instant serious injury or worse if you’re not skillful enough, don’t have an excellent memory, or the stars just didn’t align for you.” —Amazon
Author: Guy Martin
“An interesting book written about an extraordinary man… If he lived 1,000 years ago, he’d have been a knight, always looking for the next test of strength and endurance.” —Amazon
Guy Martin, international road-racing legend, maverick star of the Isle of Man TT, truck mechanic, and TV presenter, lives on the edge, addicted to speed, thoroughly exhilarated by danger. In this book we’ll get inside his head as he stares death in the face, and risks his life in search of the next high. We’ll discover what it feels like to survive a 170mph fireball at the TT in 2010, and come back to do it all again. He’ll sweep us up in a gritty sort of glory as he slogs it out for a place on the podium, but we’ll also see him struggle with the flipside of fame. We’ll meet his friends and foes, his family, his teammates, and bosses, and we’ll discover what motivates him, and where his strengths and weaknesses lie. For the first time, here is the full story in Guy’s own words. From the boy who learned to prep bikes with his dad, to the spirited team mechanic, paying his way by collecting beer glasses in pubs, to the young racer at the start of his first race and the buzz he’s been chasing ever since. This thrilling autobiography is an intense and dramatic ride.
“Ballagarey. The kind of corner that makes me continue road racing. A proper man’s corner. You go through the right-hander at something like 170mph, leant right over, eyes fixed as far down the road as I can see. But this time something happened. This time the front end tucked…” —Excerpt
Author: Mat Oxley
“If you’ve ever ridden a super-fast four-stroke motorcycle and wondered why a two-stroke race bike half your size just kicked your ass, this is the book for you…” —Chuck Lantz
This is the compelling story of how one of Japan’s biggest motorcycle manufacturers stole a Nazi rocket scientist’s engine secrets from behind the Iron Curtain to conquer the world. In 1961, with the Cold War at its height, East German motorcycle manufacturer MZ was using World War II rocket technology to win Grands Prix, only for rider Ernst Degner to defect and sell the secrets to Suzuki, while his wife and children were drugged and smuggled through the Berlin Wall. The following year Suzuki and Degner made history by winning the world title. Branded a traitor by the communists, Degner suffered horrific injuries in a fiery racing accident and died in mysterious circumstances.
“This is a very well-researched book that traces the real story behind the two-stroke engine revolution – pardon the pun. It’s well-written, and you will definitely learn a lot about some of the political intrigue behind racing. And it’s fun. Serious fun.” —Chuck Lantz
Author: Hunter S. Thompson
“Still the best book about bikers ever written — and completely unromanticized, too. Their lifestyle is shown in all its greasy and grimy glory…Written over forty years ago and still rawer than a lot of shit out there!” —Goodreads
In the mid-1960s, Thompson spent almost two years living with the controversial Hell’s Angels, riding up and down the coast, reveling in the anarchic spirit of their clan, and, as befits their name, raising hell. His book successfully captures a singular moment in American history, when the biker lifestyle was first defined, and when such countercultural movements were electrifying and horrifying America. Thompson, the creator of Gonzo journalism, writes with his usual bravado, energy, and brutal honesty, and with a nuanced and incisive eye. As The New Yorker pointed out, “For all its uninhibited and sardonic humor, Thompson’s book is a thoughtful piece of work.” As illuminating now as when originally published in 1967, Hell’s Angels is a gripping portrait, and the best account we have of the truth behind an American legend.
“The Menace is loose again, the Hell’s Angels, the hundred-carat headline, running fast and loud on the early morning freeway, low in the saddle, nobody smiles, jamming crazy through traffic and ninety miles an hour down the center stripe, missing by inches . . . like Genghis Khan on an iron horse, a monster steed with a fiery anus, flat out through the eye of a beer can and up your daughter’s leg with no quarter asked and none given…” —Excerpt