Views for days from the summit of Old Speck in Maine. Summer in New England offers some of the best hiking in North America and, if Mother Nature grants us enough sunny weekends, the opportunity to tackle the 67 tallest peaks in the region. This is my second summer attempting the list and I admit that this year I've needed extra motivation to hike the seemingly identical, pine-scented trails of Maine and New Hampshire. What better motivation than tales of other adventurers on far more harrowing and aspirational journeys than my own? Enter Jon Krakauer. I had watched him as a talking head in various climbing documentaries but had never read his books. Like a good reader-cum-hiker, I bought used paperback copies of both Into the
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My last week was spent partying like a rockstar with my friends in a seaside mansion. Charmed life, right? Technically, we rented it for a work project, but since we spent days and nights blaring music, drinking champagne, and feeling like rockstars, the setting was appropriate for my latest read, Meet Me in the Bathroom: Rebirth and Rock and Roll in New York City 2001 - 2011, by Lizzy Goodman. This book was getting a lot of buzz in music press lately, so I picked it up without knowing much about it. The author studied romantic poetry and Greek literature, and (perhaps for that reason, or more likely following the footsteps of other rock biographies) chose to pen this book in an oral history style. Maybe
In 1991, Nirvana's Nevermind was released to glowing reviews and plenty of mainstream radio play, jumping to the number one spot on Billboard's album list. After a great Pixies show at the House of Blues in Boston a few weeks ago, I got thinking about how influential the Pixies were to bands like Nirvana, Radiohead, and The Strokes - but who influenced them? The best I could come up with was some vague references to 70s-era punk, but I knew there must be more to it. To fill in the gaps, I picked up a copy of Our Band Could Be Your Life: Scenes from the American Indie Underground 1981-1991 by Michael Azerrad. Now that I've been schooled in what it truly means to be "
Few authors deftly create characters as deeply human and mesmerizingly real as Haruki Murakami. Whether sketching biographies of quake victims in After the Quake, or capturing the derailment of a man's life in Colorless Tsukuru Tazaki and His Years of Pilgrimage, he is an undisputed master of his craft. In his latest collection of short stories, Men Without Women, Murakami transports us into the lives of lonely men suffering heartbreak and self-inflicted isolation. So genuine are these characters and their problems that we forget they are not long-lost uncles we have yet to meet. While all eight stories are beautifully poignant, two are stand-outs. In "Scheherazade," Murakami paints an unpredictably tender relationship between a man under house arrest (readers assume) and his appointed caretaker.
We live in exciting times. Ten years since the last J.R.R. Tolkien book was released (Children of Hurin), fans finally can get their hands on the latest installment: Beren and Lúthien, a chronological version of a love story that Tolkien peppers throughout some of his other works. For the non-Tolkien fans reading this, let me catch you up: J.R.R. Tolkien is dead (as of 1973). His son, Christopher Tolkien, acting as the world's foremost Tolkien scholar, has studied and compiled various drafts his father left. The 12-volume History of Middle-earth (known as "HOME" to fans) is perhaps the best example of this. Beren and Lúthien are two halves of a legendary love story and part of the world's lore. But