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Sunday, December 20, 2009

Christmas Wish List #10

I'm looking out my window at 13" of snow that has fallen since I went to bed last night. Time to sit by the fireplace and curl up with a good book.

The easy choice for a present to a motorcyclist is one of Peter Egan's books, Leanings or Leanings 2. Although I own both of them I have to say that Peter leaves me a little cold. After reading the first dozen stories I felt that I had read them all. He and Barb take a trip, he sits in the garage with a beer and reminisces about old bikes, he wipes up oil spills from Vincents or Triumphs. Like a few bands that come to mind, after hearing the first three chords you know all the rest and wish they'd move on.

Kevin Cameron is quite the oposite, Top Dead Center and TDC2 are books that are fascinating and highly readable. Moreover they, gasp, actually teach you a lot about how motorcycles work. Kevin has such a wonderful way of writing that you feel that he is having a conversation with you. Suddenly the limits of maximum piston acceleration is not such a mystery and a carburetor makes sense (sort of). Check out his new book The Grand Prix Motorcycle and whoever has my copy of Sportbike Performance Handbook would they please bring it back.

This probably won't arrive in time for Christmas but Monkey Butt is a great read. Rick "Super Hunky" Sieman will never be accused of doubting how wonderful he is but the fact remains, he was there and he did most of it. Flogging twin shock MX bikes when they were new and cruising around in his El Camino makes for some very entertaining stories. 640 pages will give you something read all year long.

God's Middle Finger is not about motorcycles but is a tale of traversing Mexico's Sierra Madre which is one of the world's largest drug producing regions. Think of driving through Afghanistan and you get the idea. However, this is not some Gonzo story of yet another drug-fueled Norte Americano but rather a tale of a British writer who wanted to see if all the tales were true and what it was really like. He found out and the tale is captivating. There is a real insight into the culture of the region that I won't spoil by trying to describe it. Just let me say that it was my favorite non-motorcycle book of 2009!