The Most Fun Thing: Dispatches from a Skateboard Life (Hardcover)

The Most Fun Thing: Dispatches from a Skateboard Life By Kyle Beachy Cover Image
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Description


Named a Best Book of the Year by NPR Southwest Review Electric Literature

Perfect for fans of Barbarian Days, this memoir in essays follows one man's decade-long quest to uncover the hidden meaning of skateboarding, and explores how this search led unexpectedly to insights on marriage, love, loss, American invention, and growing old.

In January 2012, creative writing professor and novelist Kyle Beachy published one of his first essays on skate culture, an exploration of how Nike’s corporate strategy successfully gutted the once-mighty independent skate shoe market. Beachy has since established himself as skate culture's freshest, most illuminating, at times most controversial voice, writing candidly about the increasingly popular and fast-changing pastime he first picked up as a young boy and has continued to practice well into adulthood.

What is skateboarding? What does it mean to continue skateboarding after the age of forty, four decades after the kickflip was invented? How does one live authentically as an adult while staying true to a passion cemented in childhood? How does skateboarding shape one's understanding of contemporary American life? Of growing old and getting married?

Contemplating these questions and more, Beachy offers a deep exploration of a pastime—often overlooked, regularly maligned—whose seeming simplicity conceals universal truths. THE MOST FUN THING is both a rich account of a hobby and a collection of the lessons skateboarding has taught Beachy—and what it continues to teach him as he strugglesto find space for it as an adult, a professor, and a husband.

About the Author


Kyle Beachy's first novel, The Slide (Dial Press, 2009), won The Chicago Reader's Best Book by a Chicago Author reader's choice award for the year. His short fiction has appeared in journals including Fanzine, Pank, Hobart, Juked, The Collagist, 5 Chapters, and others.His writing on skateboarding has appeared in The Point, The American Reader, The Chicagoan, Free Skateboard Magazine (UK & Europe), The Skateboard Mag (US), Jenkem, Deadspin, and The Classical. He teaches at Roosevelt University in Chicago and is a co-host on the skateboarding podcast Vent City with pro skater Ryan Lay and others.

Praise For…


“The year 2021 is the year of skateboarding. The ‘rebel’ pursuit was transformed into an Olympic sport. Thrasher magazine, skateboarding's bible, turned 40. So The Most Fun Thing couldn't have come at a better time [to] ponder the meaning of skateboarding.”—NPR

"The Most Fun Thing mines the value and ritual of fun… [Beachy’s] encyclopedic knowledge of skate ‘parts’ (a.k.a., films), bios, technicalities, even feuds, rolls into contemplations of Marilynne Robinson or Maggie Nelson… the book is grounded in memoir, vulnerable and direct, and often a stage for Kyle’s wit. The text can rollick… [Beachy] is now a premier chronicler of skateboarding."—Odie Lindsey, Southwest Review

"As readable as a skate mag and as complex as the best fiction, The Most Fun Thing imbricates themes of meaning, community, and the soul, and will leave you marveling at skateboarding’s mystery and hopeful for its future. A book as much for the skateboarder as the artist and the writer, the thinker, the feeler."—Mark Suciu, Thrasher Magazine's 2021 Skater of the Year

“A candid, funny, and sometimes damning rumination on why we skateboard. The most thought-provoking writing on skateboarding I’ve ever read.”—Bing Liu, director of the Oscar-nominated documentary Minding the Gap

“A rewarding read even—or especially—for those of us who don’t know anything about skateboarding…. with a keen eye for nuance and an unflinching critical lens that’s as apt to magnify moments of intense beauty as to call bullsh*t on this lifelong obsession... Endlessly relevant.”—Holly M. Wendt, The Rumpus

“Transform[s] the ordinary into the extraordinary. . . . Beachy has written a book about skateboarding unlike any before it.”—The Chicago Reader

“Philosophical and provocative.”—Booklist

"A serious literary work about skateboarding might provoke a certain skepticism. I wondered. But as soon as I started reading, I saw that, as with fly-fishing, surfing and other ‘pastimes,’ the surface action has its underlying personal metaphysics, and its access to past times. Kyle Beachy explores his obsession with sinuous and reflective prose and shows us just how it matters."—Sven Birkerts, author of The Art of Time in Memoir: Then, Again

"In The Most Fun Thing, Kyle Beachy assembles critique, philosophy, anecdote, personal history and imagination, while being shrewd, witty, provocative and—above all—hugely engaging. This is my new favorite book on skateboarding."—Iain Borden, author of Skateboarding and the City: A Complete History

"Skateboarding is not only the most fun thing, it is also a way of seeing the world. In telling his own story, Beachy reflects on the history of this counter-culture-turned-mainstream-culture, and shows how it shapes the fundamental aspects of life, one's approach to work and relationships, even changes the feeling of being in one's own skin. No one has captured this better than Beachy. A great read."—Ocean Howell, author of Making the Mission: Planning and Ethnicity in San Francisco

“With the studied curiosity he’s established as a writer and critic, Beachy applies his honest, thoughtful prose to a wealth of seemingly disparate genres, binding them to create a work equal parts lively and insightful, intimate and universal, something his very own.”

Amelia Gray, author of Gutshot

"Reading The Most Fun Thing is the most fun thing that this reader has done in months. Kyle Beachy knows his skateboarding, but has even more to say about urban design, literary theory, marriage, the struggle for selfhood, the long-overdue exorcism of skate culture’s misogyny and bigotry, and the eternal knife fight between capitalism and community. With an omnivorous and probing intelligence, Beachy views our tattered world through the scratched fish-eye lens of a skateboarder, and finds jewels of truth hidden everywhere he looks."—Michael Christie, author of Greenwood and If I Fall, If I Die

“A meditation on a struggling marriage, told as homage to a joyfully blood-drenched sport. Thoughtful and deft, this is a book for anyone who has ever been vulnerable in mind or body.”—Kerry Howley, author of Thrown
Product Details
ISBN: 9781538754115
ISBN-10: 1538754118
Publisher: Grand Central Publishing
Publication Date: August 10th, 2021
Pages: 320
Language: English

How to read more

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How To Read More

If you love reading, but for some reason you read less and less, know that everything is fine. It happens.
Our lives today have so many things that distract us - how can we not put books away when all these movies, TV shows, YouTube videos, social networks and endless surfing in online stores are around ...
Yes, it's really hard to resist, but you certainly can!

In this article, we want to share with you some tips to read more often and more successfully.
These are some notes and some practices that we have collected for our SUNDOG BOOKS readers club.
And maybe it will bring more books into your life!

Why do we want/need to read more?

To start reading more, you have to understand why you need it.
And you will be surprised, but your goals can be quite varied:

- for work
If you read a lot on duty, then you definitely need to speed up the process. The logic here is simple: read faster → work faster → more time for books for yourself.

- for education
you need this for your educational career or sometimes you just want to read to learn. And, with all the new alternative ways to gain knowledge (podcasts, online courses and videos), the book still does an excellent job of this task too.

- for self-development
all exercises for increasing speed, one way or another, improve cognition and memory.

- for fun
because good books always = fun!

Book lovers have an additional special goal for reading more often. If you love literature, you will understand what we mean: you want to catch everything - to follow modern literature, and not forget about the classics, look into non-fiction and children's publications. And there’s so much you want to reread! The goals are ambitious, but attainable if you read a lot.

 

And so - How to read more:
We will tell you about the methods that we use ourselves. Perhaps some will suit you as well.

 

15 minutes a day

You've probably already heard this rule: if you want to start a healthy habit, devote 15 minutes a day to it. Once upon a time, we all read irregularly, in jumps and starts. Sometimes we cannot open a book we have begun weeks ago. Therefore, you should decide to create a rule: devote at least 15 minutes a day to reading. Try reading before bed, or maybe during lunchtime, or even when you are having your morning coffee.

You will see progress immediately. You will notice that almost always your 15 minutes will grow into half an hour or more. But the most remarkable thing is that in three weeks your hands themselves will be looking for a book.

 

50 First Pages
This method advises - If the book hasn't hooked you from the first 50 pages, put it aside! Life is too short to read uninteresting books.

It is necessary to change the approach to books. At first it will be hard for you to stop and put the book down. Even if we put the book away, it will seem to reproach us from the shelf, mocking us as quitters. But in the end we should come to one simple thought: if it doesn’t hook your attention, you should not force yourself to read it.

***Fifty pages is not a bad test. Not the most objective, but definitely effective. It helps to determine whether it interests you or not, and whether to spend time on things that do not excite.

 

Reader's Diary

This should be used to improve the quality of reading - to make it more conscious. For starters, it can be a simple notebook with headings:

  • Author
  • Year of publication
  • Main characters
  • Scene
  • Plot
  • Theme
  • Quotes

And, yes, a reader's diary is not a thing about quantity, but about quality. But, it can also motivate. When you open your diary and start looking at quotes (especially quotes), you immediately really want to read.

 

Maybe a Book Bet?
Several people can participate. Members of the betting group can come from friends, family, and also your colleagues. And of course you can set your own rules for participation, but we'll give you a simple example:

Everyone in the group should read and review a book over the course of a month with weekly updates. Anyone who does not finish a review buys the book for all other participants for the next month.

 

Speed Reading

Another effective way to increase the amount you read is speed reading. The logic here is simple - the faster you read, the more books you can enjoy.

*There are many online courses on speed reading, and you can also study on your own using instructional books. But, it is worth noting that this is a serious learning process that will require some effort on your part.

 

Outcome

Reading every day is quite attainable, the main thing is to try to make it a habit.
Sometimes, instead of heading for Facebook, try opening a book and soon you won’t even remember why you needed to wander around social media.
And also - don't forget about audiobooks. They are a cool way to take the load off your eyes sometimes and just immerse yourself in the story. Some books are really strong in voice acting.

 
 
 

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