Thereâ€™s nothing like a good read to take your mind off a long, stressful workday. And trust us, the ladies definitely appreciate a well-read man. But if youâ€™ve already worked your way through the best of Hemingway, Clancy and Melville, where do you turn next for a literary fix that also appeals to your inner caveman?
The Voice-Tribune consulted literature expert Michael Boggs, owner (along with his wife, Carol Bessie) of Carmichaelâ€™s Bookstore. He put together a top-five list of â€œman-bites-dogâ€ must-reads for all of you guys out there. So have at it! Unless, of course, youâ€™re finally ready to pick up that copy of Pride and Prejudice weâ€™ve been recommending…
One of TIME magazineâ€™s 100 best English-language novels, Cormac McCarthyâ€™s western tells the story of â€œthe kid,â€ a runaway in the 1800s who crosses paths with the Glanton Gang, a group of scalp-hunters responsible for massacring Native American tribes all over the country. Says Boggs, â€œCormac McCarthy is a great writer, and heâ€™s a great kind of manly writer. …Itâ€™s very dark and violent.â€
The collection of stories, all about a platoon of American soldiers in the Vietnam War, is based on the authorâ€™s own experiences overseas. â€œItâ€™s about men in a situation where theyâ€™re not all brave, theyâ€™re not all courageous,â€ Boggs explains. â€œThey have moments of panic and weakness and everything. …You get a picture of the humanness of doing something that most women donâ€™t ever do. Going to war is a really complicated thing for a guy.â€
This novel tells the story of two very different young men who grow up in a small town in the 1950s and develop an unlikely friendship. â€œI think that (male friendships arenâ€™t) written very much about,â€ Boggs points out. â€œMen are supposed to be tough and not have that kind of sensitivity that you have with your best friend. …These two guys, theyâ€™re basically an odd pair. But they have this bond that goes throughout their entire lives. A really good read.â€
This 1998 New York Times best-seller is a true account of the authorâ€™s experiences as part of a climbing expedition working its way up Mt. Everest when a major storm hits. â€œIt is a gripping story, a minute-by-minute, heart-pounding, everybodyâ€™s-on-the-verge-of-dying kind of adventure,â€ says Boggs. â€œThereâ€™s a lot of internal reflection, a lot of thinking about survival. Youâ€™ve got to be smart to survive; bad things happen.â€
Another best-seller, and maybe just a little bit of a guilty pleasure, this debut novel is about a man who lives alone in the woods of Wisconsin. He sends off for a mail-order bride, and the person who arrives is not the â€œsimple, honest womanâ€ he expected. â€œItâ€™s like hormones, sex, loneliness, everything, but from the male side of it,â€ explains Boggs. â€œItâ€™s a book that captures certain internal emotions that men have that are different from women. …Reading it as a man, there are things that hit home.â€