Books & Brews: Summer Reads for Dudes

Since when did a book club have to be all about the ladies?

A superficial look at statistics suggests that women do read more than men. In fact, a Slate article points to 2012 numbers that indicate while 67 percent of women read at least one book a year, just 45 percent of men spend anytime inside a good read. I’m just wondering if women have made reading a good novel too mysterious for men to consider trying.

Guys, I’m going to make it simple: Here is a list of great reads that you’re sure to want to tell your friends about. And I’m pairing the books with beer. Everything reads better with a brew.


School Board
Mike Freedman

This debut effort from a former Green Beret offers readers the chance to relive their own high school antics or consider a run for office. Men can choose sides in their own book club debate—are you rooting for Tucker Davis or Walker Moore? Set in Houston, I’d serve this up with Dos Equis.


Dante’s Poison
Lynne Raimondo

North Shore author Lynne Raimondo has scored rave reviews for her second in a mystery series featuring Chicago-based psychiatrist and amateur sleuth, Mark Angelotti. You’ll need a Chicago brew for this: Go with a 312.


High Fidelity
Nick Hornby

Stop quoting the movie, as good as it is, and read the damn book already. Pure genius about a record-store owner who wavers between days of youth and what comes next: responsibility. Rob’s music snobbery probably spills over into his drink selection—anything craft brewed with organic, hydroponically grown hops in a cedar-planked barn and sold in souvenir growlers will work here.


The Art of Fielding
Chad Harbach

Here is the list’s no-brainer. In fact, if you are a guy and you haven’t read this yet, I don’t want to know you, and neither does Henry Skrimshander. Even non-fans will fall in love with the game of baseball here. For this, you need an Anti-Hero from Revolution Brewing.


A Million Ways to Die in the West
Seth McFarlane

It’s written by the brainchild behind “Family Guy.” Need I say more? McFarlane worked backward on this project, writing the movie first, book second. But the additional details may be worth the read prior to the next guys’ night at the movies and a round of Rolling Rock afterward.


Billy Lynn’s Long Halftime Walk
Ben Fountain

Spend a day with a group of war heroes as they face the tail end of a whirlwind press tour before heading back to the front lines. It’s a tragic tale, for certain, but beautifully written. Toast the troops with a Bell’s Oberon.


One Last Thing Before I Go
Jonathan Tropper

Here is the book that’ll get the guys together to re-examine lives and think about how to spend last days in a very funny way. Even washed-up one-hit wonders have families to think about, you know? This hilarious read will pair well with something fun: Try Three Floyd’s Gumballhead.


A Sport and a Pastime
James Salter

Hard to believe, but erotic reading existed before “50 Shades of Grey.” Maybe this tome, a dream-like love story set in France, is one to bring to a book club meant for just two. Skip the beer and head straight to Champagne.