Wielding an axe and sporting a beard are good ways to look manly, but what about thinking like a man? Rub your chest hair this summer and pick up a quality book to expand your thoughts and improve your perspective. Thankfully, throughout history some pretty manly men have written some pretty manly books, and if you want to achieve that true masculine status, you’ll give them a quick read. And to help you avoid the long lines at the library, here are 10 books every outdoorsmen should read:
|The Old Man and the Sea by Ernest Hemingway
Hemingway was a man’s man, an American writer with worldly interest, and through his tight narrative style and impactful word use, he could often coin the troubles and tribulations of the universal man. And perhaps there is no better example of this than his Pulitzer Prize winning novella The Old Man and the Sea. Detailing the everyday struggle of trying to land that big fish, this story will grow your chest hair as you read it.
|Walden by Henry David Thoreau
A strong testament to self-reliance, Henry David Thoreau’s Walden might be a book you have to work for sentence by sentence. That’s because this is no easy read, but once you start to pick up on the language and flow of this famous transcendentalist piece, you’ll start to pick up on the pivotal role that the outdoor environment plays on all of our lives.
|To Build a Fire by Jack London
This short story by Jack London belongs on the bookshelf as one of the best written tales of man versus nature. Illustrating the spark of life that is needed behind good literature, To Build a Fire dives seemingly skin deep into the ethos of man to reveal a plethora of character and nature in this timeless classic.
|Leaves of Grass by Walt Whitman
Just because it is poetry doesn’t mean that it isn’t manly. In fact, Leaves of Grass by Walt Whitman might be the manliest thing on the list. That’s because Whitman seemingly makes poetry look easy as he describes and paints a picture of the natural world around us, including that of human nature and our tendencies to reach towards the sun.
|Sand County Almanac by Aldo Leopold
Follow Aldo Leopold along as he takes you through a single year in the environmentally rich region of his home in Sand County, Wisconsin. Full of delicate details of the intricacies of nature, as well as the passage of time as one season ushers in another, after reading this remarkable book, one can’t help but see the world a little bit differently.
For the adventurer young and old, Gary Paulsen’s Hatchet tells the story of a young man stranded in nature with little to help himself besides a trusty hatchet. Follow along as he adapts to the environment and overcomes the obstacles Mother Nature throws at him. This book was written for young adults, but has no problem captivating every reader out there who has ever felt themselves lost in the forest.
|Lord of the Flies by William Golding
What could go wrong if you leave a group of young boys stranded on a remote island? If you said nothing, you should pick up the literary classic Lord of the Flies by William Golding. Full of adventure and the natural environment, plus a look at human nature once it is stripped bare, this is a fun and fast read that can fill your summer days.
|A Walk in the Woods by Bill Bryson
Simply stated, this book by Bill Bryson is about a walk in the woods, specifically a walk along the Appalachian Trail. But there is so much more to this simple description between the covers of A Walk in the Woods, and you can see for yourself as you dive into the world of this inspiring, funny, and revelation inducing novel.
|Into Thin Air by John Krakauer
Get lost on the peaks of Everest with John Krakauer’s Into Thin Air. A personal recount of the 1996 Mount Everest tragedy where 8 people perished on the mountain in a single day, this book will strap you in and have you holding onto the edge of your seat. Great for the aspiring mountaineer and weekend adventurer alike, Into Thin Air is sure to keep you turning the pages.
|Wilderness and the American Mind by Roderick Frazier Nash
An interesting read for those history buffs out there, Roderick Frazier Nash’s Wilderness and the American Mind is a recounting of the delicate relationship our country has had with the wilderness that lies in our borders. From the inception at Plymouth Rock and our fear of the woods, to our current situation and National Park System, this book gives some great insight on the wilderness we love.