5 Essential Books For The Man Cave

From what makes a seminal comedic performer tick to classic tales of adventure and reflection, (okay and a little sex and whiskey, too), these five books are a must for any Man Cave bookshelf.

On Pop Culture

Sex, Drugs, and Cocoa Puffs by Chuck Klosterman

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Rants on everything from the proliferation of internet porn to the Lakers-Celtics rivalry to Star Wars being a little overrated, Klosterman has written the essential pop cultural memoir. A collection of comedic essays, he ribs on some beloved figures and confesses fears resulting from his relationship to icons, (in one essay he worries that finding Pamela Anderson attractive means he sexually lacks creativity). In another passage, he worries if John Cusack’s character in Say Anything has ruined his chances with any woman under the age of 38. If you’ve ever read way too much into hot women, cereal, sports and T.V. shows, you’ll know exactly what it’s like to be in Klosterman’s head.

On Drinking Your Feelings

The Last Night of the Earth Poems by Charles Bukowski

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“You get so alone at times that it just makes sense.”

Next time one of your buddies suggest poetry isn’t manly, introduce him to Bukowski- the drunk uncle prophet of modern manhood. Time once called him “the laureate of the American lowlife.” While his novel The Post Office is often Bukowski’s most cited work, any real man cave bookshelf would be remiss to not include this collection of his poems. From the women who’ll leave you to the booze that will ruin you, the book is an opportunity to vicariously live out what it means to be a broken writer in the slums of Los Angeles.

On Comics, Music, and  Risque Alt-Art

The Complete Record Cover Collection by R. Crumb

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Controversial cartoonist Robert Crumb is most widely known for his Fritz the Cat series, featuring the adventures of a frisky feline con artist. Crude, rude, and often highly sexual, he brought his signature style to album covers starting in the early ’70s. Crumb credited the visual feel of his work to an LSD trip that inspired him to take his restrained drawings and turn them into the surreal, psychedelic illustrations we know him for today. This particular collection melds Crumb’s own love of music, (he had a band called R.Crumb and His Cheap Suit Serenaders), with his crosshatched pen-and-ink drawings.

On The Quintessential Manhood

The Old Man and the Sea by Ernest Hemingway

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This one is a no-brainer. No bookshelf anywhere is complete without the man whose sparse, tight prose is the ultimate in manly literary utility. Credited as the writer of the world’s shortest story, (“For sale. Baby shoes. Never worn.”), Hemingway’s Old Man and the Sea is a classic beloved the world over. The Pulitzer winning book was the last to be published in the author’s lifetime. It follows an old Cuban fisherman and his extended struggle with a huge catch- a giant marlin fish out in the Gulf stream. Touching on issues of pride, defeat, struggle and death it is a must read for any wandering soul in search of something.

On The Comedian’s Life

Born Standing Up by Steve Martin

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The comedy legend opens up about his stand-up and the early beginnings of his movie career with unprecedented openness and honesty. Chronicling the life and death of his stage act, Born Standing Up provides an inside look at the science of comedy. What  may seem like wacky vamping from the outside is in fact the product of careful craftsmanship and reading hundreds of audience members over time. Not all fun and games, the book also covers Martin’s relationship with his father (a difficult one), loneliness, and the essential emptiness of achieving the height of your field.

That’s your flash five of literary musts for the modern Man Cave. So sidle up in your best leather chair, pour out a glass of your favorite spirit and savor your mancave moment, book in hand.

What are your top picks for the Man Cave bookshelf? Shoot us a tweet @Man_Caved and let us know what you think belongs in your Man Cave.