The latest from Beach Week, our effort to send you to the shore in style this summer.
We’ve put together a reading list that’s more than just a few good books to stuff in your beach bag—although, there are those, too. But these reads are really about cultivating a properly beachy state of mind, from the printed word on actual flammable pages to the screen.
There’s nothing better than a good summer read—especially when it doesn’t require much actual reading.
You don’t need all of that flowery prose cluttering up your perfectly good beach weekend or scenic train ride upstate. What you need is a handsome book full of glossy pages you can breezily flip through at will. Whether it’s clever infographics with easily digestible tidbits, photos of interesting cultural phenomenon or just Paz de la Huerta wearing a lot of different wigs, there are plenty of new books out this season that make for ideal summer lounging companions.
Not everything requires an Internet search—just a quick glance to refresh your memory on the difference between bourbon and rye or a cut of Boston butt or rump.
And these handsome new letterpress prints from Bearings have got you covered on everything from tying your bow tie to identifying venomous snakes of the South (hat tip). They’re not exactly pocket-size flash cards at 9-by-12 on 220 lb cardstock, but they can be just as helpful framed and hanging in a strategic location—like next to your dresser mirror (the bow tie instructional), over your butcher table (the pork chart) or within eyesight of your overstuffed leather whiskey-drinking perch (the whiskey family tree).
We’d like to take a break from our regularly scheduled programming to remind you that the printed word is still alive and well—and to congratulate one of our own. Shawn Donnelly, our resident sports guru (especially on the matter of European soccer) can now add “published author” to his already gleaming resume of “Kempt contributor” and “all-around stand-up guy,” among other things.
His newly released book, Go Get That Scholarship!, written with Nate Mast, the director of basketball operations at Southern Illinois University, is a guide for high schoolers looking for a shot at playing college ball (also: a good stocking stuffer for the Hoosiers fanatic in your life). Of the book’s many nuggets of wisdom, our favorite is one from Kansas coach Bill Self, who explains why he doesn’t want to scout a player on his best day, but rather on a day when the cards aren’t falling his way. It’s a test of character that any modern man can take to heart.
Here’s a handsome addition to any well-appointed bookshelf or coffee table in need: the madras-wrapped Ivy Style.
In addition to its obvious clothbound charm, the book is filled with a wealth of information on the habitudes of the trad—published by Yale Press, naturally (and released just this week). The book serves as a companion catalog to an ongoing exhibit at New York’s Fashion Institute, but should serve you just as well if a trip to NYC by year’s end isn’t in the cards. Contributors include the exhibit’s curator, Patricia Mears; Esquire’s G. Bruce Boyer; and Christian Chensvold of the blog Ivy Style (no relation). And with the holiday season around the corner, it might be wise to earmark this for any bookish Ivy League enthusiasts in your life.
We’re big fans of Field Notes—and their fierce allegiance to the analog age—so we were more than pleased to hear from 10engines that they’ve entered the publishing business. Their first book, A Drive into the Gap, is centered around baseball, a father, a son and their unlikely connection to legendary ballplayer Roberto Clemente. And, in typical fashion, it’s designed to slip easily into a pocket or beach bag. For a few extra clams, you can pick up the bundle: the book and a couple baseball-themed memo books. There’s also an ebook version, but that would defeat the purpose.
The Beatles’ meteoric rise really happened between 1964 and 1966—spanning from the birth of Beatle Mania in continental Europe to the “bigger than Jesus Christ” tour through America. And during that time, Harry Benson spent nearly every waking hour with the band as their officially unofficial photographer. He was like the fifth Beatle—with a camera strapped around his neck instead of a guitar—even tagging along on George’s honeymoon in Barbados. It gave him unique access to (and perspective on) the young lads in an exciting time—all documented through his lens. Some photos instantly became iconic (the pillow fight at the George V Hotel, the impromptu boxing session with a young fighter named Cassius Clay), but the rest were tucked away, never seen by the public... until now, in this oversized, 272-glossy-paged collector’s-edition book, The Beatles: On the Road, to be released soon from publishers extraordinaire Taschen.
The 21st century hasn’t seen much adventuring spirit thus far, but at this time 100 years ago, we had more than our share. The British expeditions to Antarctica are the perfect example, setting comparatively meager resources against one of the most inhospitable environments on earth. There’s Shackleton’s, of course, but a new book from Assouline details one of the lesser-known expeditions: the Terra Nova, led by Robert Falcon Scott. And as of today, you can pick up a waterproof edition, in case you decide to take it on a few adventures of your own.
We’re thinking of Corto Maltese, the hero of a famous Italian comics series that swept through Europe alongside Fellini and Serge Gainsbourg. He’s basically an older, more rakish Tintin, dashing through the Pacific circa WWI, stirring up trouble.
The series never quite reached our side of the Atlantic, but between the nautical vibe and his easy continental charm, he’s inspired more than a few designers in his time. And more importantly, he’s mounting a comeback in the states. Maltese’s most famous book, The Ballad of the Salt Sea, gets a new edition from Rizzoli on Tuesday, complete with a fresh translation.
Over the past 50 years, he’s spawned too many pop culture flash points to count—everything from the iconic ’60s Esquire covers to “I Want My MTV.” Now he’s pouring out a lifetime of hard-ass wisdom (including an unusually vicious attack on Don Draper) in a 192-page tome titled Damn Good Advice. And since the book won’t be out until March, we thought we’d pass along some of the best lines. Get inspired, gentlemen...
As object connoisseurs, we’re a sucker for a good collection. Apparently we’re not alone. On her blog, Lisa Congdon put together impeccable photos of her favorite collections for 365 days in a row—interesting, obscure stuff like vintage Russian passports, sewing machine parts and (perhaps the strangest one) baby doll hands. For her labors, she’s been rewarded with a book deal, giving you the chance to put it all on your coffee table. (You can also check out the blog here.) Our favorite so far, perhaps predictably, is the vintage boxer photos.
It’s a single guide to every situation a gentleman might face—from dressing well to encountering unattended ladies in the street (a novel experience at the time). And since you’re too busy to peruse the full 163 pages, we’ve pulled out 30 of the most useful tidbits. Here’s a taste:
An unassuming simplicity in dress should always be preferred, as it prepossesses everyone in favor of the wearer.
The modest man is seldom the object of envy.
Think like the wise; but talk like ordinary people.
It is a great and difficult talent to be a good listener, but it is one which the well-bred man has to acquire, at whatever pains.
There is a graceful manner of holding a hat, which every well-bred man understands.
The gentlemen of Edwardian England really knew how to act.
So in a fit of nostalgia, we recently picked up A Bachelor’s Cupboard (published in 1905) for a few tips on gentlemanly etiquette in the days of yore. It’s pretty fantastic. Of course, we can’t show you the whole thing here, but we thought we’d pass along the laundry chapter, which covers vital, everyday topics like how to remove blood from your waistcoat after being wounded in a duel.
If it hasn’t happened yet, it’s only a matter of time.
We love a good duel. Specifically, the kind involving honor, intrigue and (if possible) flintlock pistols.
So we were pleased to see a new duel-centric anthology coming down the transom from Melville House. It’s a box set of five novellas—each titled “The Duel”—from authors like Chekhov, Joseph Conrad and Giacomo Casanova, who knew a thing or two about escaping angry spouses. It’s machismo at its most restrained and idealistic—and a Dusting Off waiting to happen. Let us know if you need a good dueling glove…