Live it up, Mr. Beer (The Japan Assignment) (Agent Cold Beer. Book 2)

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The Room is a fascinating piece of work. Loads of people come out to midnight showings, throw spoons at the screen, and engage in the sort of shenanigans normally reserved for screenings of Rocky Horror. I thought that books required too much buy-in, too much participation.

Books are difficult to enjoy while you're really, really drunk. Beer, three-hundred pounds of muscle and fat, standing six feet tall in his late thirties was a former bouncer, a truck driver, and a security guard. Now he was a secreted agent for the government. Action, drama, adventure, humor. Aren't all of us some total amount of those two things? Isn't it the ratio that's really descriptive? All logic would dictate that this is, at best, a zero sum game. If you're skeptical about what the government has been up to in our reality, imagine a world in which a secret agent is tasked with stopping a small town scammer who's destined to be brought down by his own bad business sense inside of six months.

Imagine manpower and spy gizmos being deployed to stop this non-problem. Shorty arms Beer with:. Beer Can Grenades : A six-pack of grenades that look exactly like beer cans. Armed by pulling the tab. Which is the big scene, kinda what this whole story is building to, and it lasts for all of two sentences. At this point the story meanders a bit. Some cops hit Beer on the ass with their nightsticks. The recording cigar comes into play somehow. Not important. What IS important is that Beer and Jack Knife Joe sign a contract that says Beer and Joe will have a knife fight, and the winner will get the bar forever.

The legitimacy of such a document would be suspect if you weren't already reading about a guy wearing a brown, bulletproof jean jacket. They square off, and then Beer shoots Joe with the knife that shoots bullets. Boss: I'm going out of town for a week. Your assignment is to babysit my nine kids. Does anyone marry their partner out of ironic love? It never works that way, ironic reception of art coming across as an ironic sense of sorrow, anger, or anything but joy. I'm certain the intent wasn't for me to be bored, but that's how I felt.

If I was aroused by a rewatch of the 90's Spider-Man cartoon, would that arousal be ironic? Hydroman was ripped, but I think it's fair to assume that it was outside the project scope of that particular cartoon to arouse a something man in the year If someone prepared me a nice bowl of clean, wholesome quinoa, and if that quinoa made me super gassy, would I be farting ironically? I'd be genuinely passing gas it's the only way I know how to pass gas. It's only joy that is branded ironic. Which makes me think this whole "enjoying something ironically" thing is a bunch of nonsense. While normal titling conventions would suggest that The Japan Assignment is the first book, the description reads:.

Agent Cold Beer is back, which means this is the second book, right? This book felt a little like Charles Hinton took a trip to Japan and wrote it off as a business expense. As "research" for his next novel. Is that possible? Could this be the greatest scheme of all time, indie writers doing super-short Kindle books and then using them as a way to write off travel expenses? Which, it turns out, is actually a shotgun in disguise. The lesson learned from Beer, for the second time, is never bring a knife to a gunfight.

Epilogue: Beer flies back to the States in a private jet with a naked stewardess who brings him chicken nuggets, peanuts, and beer.

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This is from a video of a guy water skiing, and a fish jumps out of the water and tags him right in the nuts. I saw this video, and I laughed. I have to assume he didn't set up a camera intending to record that. But then it happened. But laugh they did. The journey took seven months and covered about 3, miles. Born in St. Occupants by Henry Rollins. Henry Rollins has searched out the most desolate corners of the Earth and shows that the greatest statements can be made with the simplest of acts: to just bear witness, to be present. The book pairs his photographs with writings that not only provide context but also lift them to the level of political commentary.

Choosing to shun scamming, smuggling or fruit-picking in favor of creative and artistic means to earn his living he kept some cash in his pocket. The Mongols of the 13th century, under the leadership of Genghis Khan, created the largest contiguous land empire in history. Out of Africa by Isak Dinesen. The book, published in , recounts events of the seventeen years when she made her home in Kenya, then called British East Africa.

The book is about life on her coffee plantation, and a tribute to the people in her life there. It also provides a glimpse of African colonial life in the last decades of the British Empire. Outposts by Simon Winchester. Helena are so remote that few people visit.

Half of the adventure is getting there and the backstory of why these places are still British is interesting as well. The ancient Romans were responsible for many remarkable achievements but one of their lesser-known contributions was the creation of the tourist industry. The first people in history to enjoy safe and easy travel, Romans embarked on the original Grand Tour.

Intrigued by the possibility of re-creating the tour, Perrottet, accompanied by his pregnant girlfriend, sets off to discover life as an ancient Roman. Posing as a wandering dervish, Burton gained admittance to the holy Kaabah and to the tomb of the prophet at Medina and participated in all the rituals of the Hadj pilgrimage.

A treasury of material on Arab life, beliefs, manners and morals. Playing the Moldovans at Tennis by Tony Hawks. The loser of the bet has to strip naked on Balham High Road and sing the Moldovan national anthem. Psychogeography by Will Self. Matt Goulding journeys through the noodle shops, tempura temples, and teahouses of Japan, navigating the intersection between food, history, and culture.

His article on Hiroshima is a great taste of his writing on Japan. In Postcards from Europe, Rick Steves takes you on a private tour through the heart of Europe — introducing you to his local friends and sharing his favorite travel moments — from the Netherlands through Germany, Italy, and Switzerland, with a grand Parisian finale. Like many other small cities in China, Fuling is heading down the path of change and growth. Peter Hessler came to teach English and American literature at the local college, but it was his students who taught him about the complex processes of understanding that take place when one is immersed in a radically different society.

Tim Cahill reports on the road trip to end all road trips: a journey that took him from Tierra del Fuego to Prudhoe Bay, Alaska, in a record-breaking twenty three and a half days. As a journalist stationed in the insular Arabian capital of Riyadh, Theroux sharply etches what it is like to be an American when speaking Arabic virtually brands one a spy and reading Saudi novels is a forbidden pleasure.

A colorful picture of a complex society teeming with contradictions. Sea and Sardinia by D. Sea and Sardinia is a travel book by the English writer D. It describes a brief excursion undertaken in January by Lawrence and Frieda, his wife aka Queen Bee, from Taormina in Sicily to the interior of Sardinia. Seven Years in Tibet by Heinrich Harrer. The adventure classic about life in Tibet just before the Chinese Communist takeover. After fifteen years spent exploring China and its food, Fuchsia Dunlop finds herself in an English kitchen, deciding whether to eat a caterpillar she has accidentally cooked in some home-grown vegetables.

How can something she has eaten readily in China seem grotesque in England? Sheltering Sky by Paul Bowles. Paul Bowles examines the ways in which Americans apprehend an alien culture—and the ways in which their incomprehension destroys them. The story of three American travelers adrift in the cities and deserts of North Africa after World War II, it etches the limits of human reason and intelligence—perhaps even the limits of human life—when they touch the unfathomable emptiness and impassive cruelty of the desert.

The book takes the reader through China and Mongolia the first of 80 countries visited. The twenty-first century has relegated airplane flight—a once remarkable feat of human ingenuity—to the realm of the mundane. Mark Vanhoenacker, a pilot who left academia and a career in the business world to pursue his childhood dream of flight, asks us to reimagine what we—both as pilots and as passengers—are actually doing when we enter the world between departure and discovery.

Peter Rudiak-Gould moved to Ujae, a remote atoll in the Marshall Islands, where he taught English at the island school. The atoll is home to just people and can be walked around in an afternoon.

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It is apparent straight away that Ujae is not an idyllic tropical paradise island, yet Peter lasted a year and writes about his own personal life on the island intertwined with insights to the Marshall Islands. At the age of 48, on the verge of a divorce, Rita left an elegant life in L. In she sold her possessions and became a nomad, living in a Zapotec village in Mexico, sleeping with sea lions on the Galapagos Islands, and residing everywhere from thatched huts to regal palaces. Sara Wheeler spent seven months in Antarctica, living with its scientists and dreamers.

It is the coldest, windiest, driest place on earth, an icy desert of unearthly beauty and stubborn impenetrability. For centuries, Antarctica has captured the imagination of our greatest scientists and explorers, lingering in the spirit long after their return.

Terra Incognita is a classic of polar literature. Alain de Botton considers the pleasures of anticipation; the allure of the exotic, and the value of noticing everything from a seascape in Barbados to the takeoffs at Heathrow.


He also cites fellow-travelers as Baudelaire, Wordsworth, Van Gogh, the biologist Alexander von Humboldt, and the 18th-century eccentric Xavier de Maistre, who catalogued the wonders of his bedroom. The Carpet Wars by Christopher Kremmer. The Colossus of Maroussi by Henry Miller. Colossus of Maroussi, a paean to Greece drawn out of a nine-month visit, stands as a seminal classic in travel literature.

Transcending the social constraints of Victorian England, Gertrude Bell left the comforts of her privileged life for the unconventional world of the Middle East. She travelled to Persia and became passionately drawn to the Arab people, the language, and their architecture. A skilled archeologist, historian, and linguist, Bell traveled the world and wrote compelling, perceptive accounts of her journeys.

Stewart Lee Allen gives a brief history of coffee by visiting significant coffee destinations around the world. Eric Weiner a self-confessed grump travels the world in search of happiness. From Bhutan with its Gross National Happiness index, to life in grim Moldova, Weiner looks for what makes a place happy. Rachel Friedman has always been the consummate good girl who plays it safe, so she surprises no one more than herself when, on a whim she buys a ticket to Ireland, a place she has never visited.

There she forms an unlikely bond with a free-spirited Australian girl who spurs Rachel on to a yearlong odyssey. Most of the book is about the journey and not the destination, as he travels from London to Japan and back again over a period of four months in What emerges is a portrait of a country that possibly should never have been, and is in the process of insuring that it will never be again. It was his best-selling work in his lifetime, and is one of the best-selling travel books of all time.

Stuck in a job he no longer found fulfilling, Mike McIntyre felt his life was quickly passing him by. So one day he hit the road to trek across the USA with little more than the clothes on his back and without a single penny in his pocket. Harry Ritchie takes a trip around the vestiges of the British Empire—the last pink bits on the world map—belatedly attempting to answer the question asked by George V—How is the Empire? In , British explorer Percy Fawcett ventured into the Amazon jungle, in search of a fabled civilization. He never returned. The Lost Girls: Three Friends. Four Continents.

Corbett, Amanda Pressner. Three friends, each on the brink of a quarter-life crisis, make a pact to quit their high pressure New York City media jobs and leave behind their friends, boyfriends, and everything familiar to embark on a year-long backpacking adventure around the world in The Lost Girls. In The Lost Heart of Asia, acclaimed, bestselling travel writer Colin Thubron carries readers on an extraordinary journey through this little understood, rarely visited, yet increasingly important corner of the world. Indonesian Ferry Sinks.

Peruvian Bus Plunges Off Cliff. African Train Attacked by Mobs. Whenever he read the news, Carl Hoffman noticed those news bulletins, which seemed about as far from the idea of tourism as it was possible to get. The drummer for the rock band Rush travels through villages and relates his story through photographs, journal entries, and tales of adventure, while addressing issues such as differences in culture, psychology, and labels.

He finds himself embroiled with an absurd yet irresistible cast of characters. Lawrence Osborne explores the psychological underpinnings of tourism. Isabelle Eberhardt was born the illegitimate daughter of an aristocratic Russian emigree. Her journal chronicles her travels in the Sahara on horseback, disguised as an Arab man and having adopted Islam. Part memoir, part travelogue, part love letter to the people who live and work on a magical street in Paris. Elaine Sciolino, the former Paris Bureau Chief of the New York Times, invites us on a tour of her favorite Parisian street, offering an homage to street life and the pleasures of Parisian living.

Spanning two thousand miles and traversing six states from Missouri to the Pacific coast, the Oregon Trail is the route that made America. Over the course of four months, Buck is accompanied by three mules, his brother, Nick, and a Jack Russell terrier named Olive Oyl, as they go about recreating this epic journey. The Pilgrimage by Paulo Coelho. Paulo Coelho details his journey across Spain along the legendary road of San Tiago, which pilgrims have travelled since Middle Ages. His first book not only paved the way for the perennial travellers favourite The Alchemist , but it also fully expresses his humanist philosophy and the depth of his unique search for meaning.

In Rory Stewart walked across Afghanistan-surviving by his wits, his knowledge of Persian dialects and Muslim customs, and the kindness of strangers. By day he passed through snow-covered mountains, hamlets destroyed by the Taliban, and communities thriving amid the remains of medieval civilizations.

The Rings of Saturn by W.

In August , W. Initially his tour was a carefree one. The Roads to Sata is his wry, witty, inimitable account of that prodigious trek. The Road to Oxiana by Robert Byron. In , the delightfully eccentric travel writer Robert Byron set out on a journey through the Middle East via Beirut, Jerusalem, Baghdad and Teheran to Oxiana, near the border between Afghanistan and the Soviet Union. Throughout, he kept a thoroughly captivating record of his encounters, discoveries, and frequent misadventures. When Richard Halliburton graduated from college, he chose adventure over a career, traveling the world with almost no money.

The Royal Road to Romance chronicles what happened as a result, from a breakthrough Matterhorn ascent to being jailed for taking forbidden pictures on Gibraltar.

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Published in , Halliburton wanted to be remembered as the most-traveled man who had ever lived. In , ethnobotanist Wade Davis arrived in Haiti to investigate two documented cases of zombis—people who had reappeared years after they had been officially declared dead and had been buried. In the course of his investigation, Davis came to realise that the story of vodoun is the history of Haiti. Maarten Troost. At the age of twenty-six, J. Maarten Troost decided to pack up his flip-flops and move to Tarawa, a remote South Pacific island in the Republic of Kiribati.

He was restless and lacked direction, and the idea of dropping everything and moving to the ends of the earth was irresistibly romantic. He should have known better. The Shadow of the Sun by Ryszard Kapuscinski. From the early days of independence in Ghana to the ongoing ethnic genocide in Rwanda, Kapuscinski has crisscrossed vast distances pursuing the swift, and often violent, events that followed liberation.

The Size of the World by Jeff Greenwald. By the time that travel writer Jeff Greenwald hit his late thirties, he had covered more ground than Magellan, Marco Polo, and Columbus combined.

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But he also came to a sobering conclusion: airplanes had reduced his exotic explorations to a series of long commutes. So he set out to rediscover the mass, the gravity, and the size of the world. His mission: to circle the earth without leaving its surface. The Snow Leopard by Peter Matthiessen. In , Peter Matthiessen and field biologist George Schaller visited the remote mountains of Nepal to study the Himalayan blue sheep and possibly glimpse the rare snow leopard.

He charts his inner path as well as his outer one, with a deepening understanding of reality, suffering, impermanence, and beauty. Ibn Battutah was just 21 when he set out in from his native Tangier on a pilgrimage to Mecca. He did not return to Morocco for another 29 years, having visited more than 40 countries on the modern map, and getting as far north as the Volga, as far east as China, and as far south as Tanzania.

The Turk Who Loved Apples is about breaking free of the constraints of modern travel and letting the place itself guide you. The true story of a journey into the Amazon to track one of the last uncontacted tribes. The book chronicles her travels into Luristan, the mountainous terrain between Iraq and present-day Iran, often with only a single guide and on a shoestring budget.

The Way of the World by Nicolas Bouvier. In , Nicolas Bouvier and his artist friend Thierry Vernet set out to make their way overland from their native Geneva to the Khyber Pass. They had a rattletrap Fiat and a little money, but above all they were equipped with the certainty that by hook or by crook they would reach their destination, and that there would be unanticipated adventures, curious companionship, and sudden illumination along the way.

Corinne Hofmann tells how she falls in love with an African warrior while on holiday in Kenya. After overcoming severe obstacles, she moves into a tiny hut with him and his mother, and spends four years in his Kenyan village. Slowly but surely, the dream starts to crumble, and she hatches a plan to return home with her daughter, a baby born of the seemingly indestructible love between a European woman and a Masai.

The biography of four 19th century women who leave behind the west for Arabia. Revolinski relates in candid style his encounters in a foreign culture, all told with an open mind and a sense of humor.


An enjoyable read for anyone who has spent time in Turkey or who plans to do so. Over the next decade he built 55 schools—especially for girls—that offer a balanced education in one of the most isolated and dangerous regions on earth. Sovich travels through Western Sahara, Mali, Mauritania, and Niger, bringing their textures and flavors into vivid relief. She writes about the Red Centre of Australia, aboriginal culture, and of her loveable and cranky camels.

Travels in West Africa by Mary Kingsley. Until , Mary Kingsley led a secluded life in Victorian England. But at age 30, defying every convention of womanhood of the time, she left for West Africa to collect botanical specimens for a book left unfinished by her father at his death. The wild Cevennes region of France forms the backdrop for the pioneering travelogue Travels with a Donkey, written by a young Robert Louis Stevenson.

Ever hopeful of encountering the adventure he yearned for and raising much needed finance at the start of his writing career, Stevenson embarked on the mile, 12 day trek and recorded his experiences in this journal. In , Ibn Battutah set out from his native Tangier on pilgrimage to Mecca. By the time he returned nearly thirty years later, he had seen most of the known world. In September , John Steinbeck embarked on a journey across America.

He felt that he might have lost touch with the country, with its speech, the smell of its grass and trees, the pulse of its people. To reassure himself, he set out on a voyage of rediscovery of the American identity, accompanied by a distinguished French poodle named Charley; and riding in a three-quarter-ton pickup truck named Rocinante. Daniel Klein visits the Greek island Hydra to discover the secrets of ageing happily.

Drawing on the inspiring lives of his Greek friends and philosophers ranging from Epicurus to Sartre, Klein uncovers the simple pleasures that are available late in life, as well as the refined pleasures that only a mature mind can fully appreciate. After visiting Trieste for more than half a century, Jan Morris has come to see the city as a touchstone for her interests and preoccupations: cities, seas, empires. It has even come to reflect her own life in its loves, disillusionments, and memories. Her meditation on the place is characteristically layered with history and sprinkled with stories of famous visitors from James Joyce to Sigmund Freud.

She describes in fascinating detail the complex culture and the lives of the people in Japan. Under the Tuscan Sun by Frances Mayes. Frances Mayes opens the door to a new world when she buys and restores an abandoned villa in the Tuscan countryside. She brings the reader along as she discovers the beauty and simplicity of life in Italy. Mayes writes about the tastes and pleasures of a foreign country with gusto and passion.

In , fresh out of college, Gilman and her friend Claire yearned to do something daring and original that did not involve getting a job. At that point, China had only recently open to independent travelers. Video Night in Kathmandu by Pico Iyer. Mohawk hair-cuts in Bali, yuppies in Hong Kong and Rambo rip-offs in the movie houses of Bombay are just a few of the jarring images that Iyer brings back from the Far East.

Published in , Video Night in Kathmandu is also a time capsule of travel in Asia just before the age the internet. A jaunt through the most polluted places on Earth. Peter called her Sophia after Sophia Loren and the Italians loved her as much as he did. From the Italian Alps to the hilltop towns of Tuscany she showed Peter a side of Italy very few people get to see. An aviator, she transport live cargo, hunters, scientists and explorers on her single engine plane. She was known to be one of the best pilots that you could find and count on.

Wild by Cheryl Strayed. Wild tells the story of her adventure, capturing the terrors and pleasures of a young woman hiking solo and the healing power of her trip. He meets rebels, outlaws and sorcerers, and ponders a love-affair that changed the face of slavery. Its exciting account of air adventure, combined with lyrical prose and the spirit of a philosopher, makes it one of the most popular works ever written about flying.

Robert M. For reading while on the road I personally recommend getting a Kindle Paperwhite. Read my Kindle Paperwhite review.

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