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One gift the beach commute gives me is a chance to read. Truth be told, the book I throw in my bag to read on the beach isn't used for much more than a beach nap pillow once I'm on the sand: it is all for the subway ride. Here are some of my favorite subway-to-the-beach reads:


The Happy Isles of Oceania by Paul Theroux

This book could also fall under Trailblazers. Expert adventurer and chronicler Paul Theroux takes us on his paddle around the Pacific Islands from New Zealand to far Fiji and beyond. With a sharp wit and a Brit's wry irony, he describes the trip and the people.

All for a Few Perfect Waves: The Audacious Life and Legend of Rebel Surfer Miki Dora by David Rensin

The O.G. surfers were undoubtedly the coolest. They had to fight for their waves and way of life. Want to hear how the first credit card fraud paid for one man's surf lifestyle? Miki Dora is part Catch Me If You Can, part anarchist, part ocean and all legend.

Let My People Go Surfing: The Education of a Reluctant Businessman by Yvon Chouinard

Reading this book doesn't make shopping at Patagonia any less expensive, but it will reinforce why they are is the smart choice for anyone who participates in outdoor activities and wants them to continue beyond our generation. Yvon Chouinard is a great outdoorsman and an even better environmental ethicist. "The more you know, the less you need." - Yvon Chouinard

The Great Floodgates of the Wonderworld: A Memoir by Justin Hocking

Living in New York, it's heartening to read stories or see movies set in the city. This one centers around a guy giving New York (and surfing) a go and his standing obsession with Moby Dick.

Surfing and Health by Dorian Paskowitz

Before reading this book, be sure to watch the movie about Dorian "Doc" Paskowitz and his surf tribe family called Surfwise. Then the unapologetic, rigid rules of this lifestyle will make more sense and might even seem reasonable?


The Flamethrowers by Rachel Kushner

The 70s New York art scene, motorcycle racing, Italy, love... I have no idea what you're waiting for.

Summer Sisters by Judy Blume

Yes, this is a fluff book, but it is the quintessential beach fluff! Two girls from different backgrounds with a lifetime of summers spent together. Only Judy Blume could make this book magnetic rather than trite, charming rather than cliché.


Love Goes to Buildings on Fire: Five Years in New York That Changed Music Forever by Will Hermes

If you live in New York and agree music is integral to the city, read this. Holy smokes. Will Hermes covers all genres of music happening from '74-'79, catches all the facts and interactions and names. Both historical and personal- how Patti Smith and the Talking Heads affected and influenced one another. Fitting Bruce Springsteen in. The music scene born in the Bronx. The history of Saturday Night Fever!

Girl in a Band by Kim Gordon

Band lives are family lives. Even more so when two of the bandmates happen to be romantically involved. The story from Kim's side as a rock star, a pillar of the music scene, a girl then a woman and all the rest. Find out how Sonic Youth come up and what went down through the eyes of the person who lived through it.

A Story Lately Told: Coming of Age in Ireland, London and New York and Watch Me both by Anjelica Houston

Stick a fork in me, Anjelica. I cannot get enough of this story. Told in two separate books for what could easily be two complete and fascinating biographies! The first covers the strange, star-studded, idyllic, real, raw life of Houston, who grew up in the lens of her father's Hollywood history. Ireland childhood, an adolescence of modeling and travel, her first love. The second book covers adulthood, including her entry into the acting world and longing relationship with Jack Nicholson. Told with a masculine sensibility, her frank recounting of her adventurous and unlikely life are a thoroughly good read.


Cold Beers and Crocodiles: A Bicycle Journey into Australia by Roff Smith

Pedaling the perimeter of the great down under, told at a bicycle's pace.

The Last American Man by Elizabeth Gilbert

The unconventional, the easily idolized, the one you wish you had the balls to be.

A Walk in the Woods: Rediscovering America on the Appalachian Trail by Bill Bryson

Laugh laugh laugh laugh laugh. Bill Bryson's least cynical and most entertaining book.

Wild by Cheryl Strayed

Movie aside, a woman walking through the wilderness is a powerful thing.

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