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Park your worries, pull out the sunscreen and plan to read a good book this summer, preferably on a beach. Here are a few suggestions from my reading list.
• Cork Dork: A wine-fueled adventure among the obsessive sommeliers, big bottle hunters, and rogue scientists who taught me to live for taste by Bianca Bosker.
The name alone is worth the price of admission. The technology editor of The Huffington Post bumped into something called the World’s Best Sommelier competition. So she spent 18 months hanging out with wine weirdos and somehow passing the test to become a certified wine whiz.
It all sounds snooty. And some of the crowd are. But if you ever wanted to stop feeling like a wine dummy at a restaurant, this is a fun ride.
• Medium Raw: A bloody valentine to the world of food and the people who cook by Anthony Bourdain. For seconds, go with his earlier book Kitchen Confidential: Adventures in the culinary underbelly.
Bourdain committed suicide last year. But among the things he left behind are these two books about the business he grew up in and loved so much. He’s irreverent, coarse, at times preachy – early in Medium Raw, at least – and hilarious.
And if you’ve sorted out your worries about wine, let Bourdain hold your hand when it comes to ordering a meal.
A clip from Medium: “I’d wanted to become a junkie since I was 12. Call it a character flaw, of which drugs were simply a manifestation. It was a petulant ‘(frig) you’ to my bourgeois parents, who’d committed the unpardonable sin of loving me.”
And no, of course he didn’t write ‘frig.’ He also read the audiobook versions of his books. He had a great voice.
• Iron War: Dave Scott, Mark Allen and the greatest race ever run by Matt Fitzgerald, and Mike Reilly – Finding My Voice: Tales from Ironman, the world's greatest endurance event by Reilly and Lee Gruenfeld.
Don’t feel like exercising? Have another glass of wine, you know which one to order. And a croissant. Then read about exercising.
Both books are about waking up one morning, swimming 3.86 kilometres, then climbing on a bike and peddling 180.25 km so you can get off and run a marathon, that’s 42.2 km.
It’s an Ironman triathlon and you have 17 hours. Total. Any longer and it doesn’t count, at least officially. The athletes are all nuts. We’re all nuts. I did one in 1999 and loved (and hated) every moment of it.
Scott and Allen tried suing the author for, among other things, portraying them as “psychologically unbalanced.” Duh.
Iron War is about the greatest race ever at Ironman. Two men, shoulder to shoulder the whole way. And Reilly’s book? He coined the phrase uttered when an athlete finishes: “You are an Ironman.”
What about women?
Reilly brought that up. The women told him flat out the race is called Ironman and there was no way they’d be cheated out of the moment when they hear their name and that famous phrase.
Next time: the sailor who pretended to sail around the world, the kid who stole some of the most valuable feathers in the world to make salmon flies, how the Leicester City soccer team won it all, and Johnny Cash lied.
Rick MacLean is an instructor in the journalism program at Holland College in Charlottetown.