Manly Books

One Web site that I really get a kick out of is The Art of Manliness which bears the slogan "Reviving the Lost Art of Manliness." The site combines Teddy Roosevelt-style injunctions on how to live a virtuous life (e.g. take cold showers, split firewood for exercise, emulate Chuck Yeager) with sometimes silly, sometimes useful advice (e.g. how to shave with a safety razor, how to tie a half Windsor knot, how to make your own bay rum aftershave). Having just watched a Super Bowl in which half the television ads seemed largely devoted to contemporary emasculation, I would describe The Art of Manliness as a beacon designed to lead men out of the spreading scourge of twenty-first century wimpdom.

Some time ago, the Web site released its life of 100 Must Read Books: The Man's Essential Library. Many of the choices are appropriately hirsute (For Whom the Bell Tolls, Call of the Wild), while you'd be hard pressed to locate a single chest hair on some of the others (Catcher in the Rye? The Portrait of Dorian Gray?). We're talking manliness here, not literary merit.

I won't make any claims for The Poacher's Son being an essential book, but I think it deserves consideration for future lists of manly fiction. How much more testosterone can you pack into a book title?