While on vacation in Eureka, CA I stopped into a small independent bookstore there a few years ago and asked them for some recommendations. Honestly the results were rather poor in terms of actual number of books I enjoyed from the 4 they recommended (A Prayer for Owen Meany was awful, The River Why was totally not my thing, and The Stone Raft didn’t do it for me) but one book stood out and has become on of my favorites, West of Jesus by Steven Kotler.
This is an odd book primarily due to it being a mix of travel narrative, self reflection, brain science and philosophy. Somehow Kotler manages to tie it all together into an easy reading romp that manages to be inspirational, funny and even mind expanding.
Without spoiling what the book is about, the general idea is that Kotler, who develops Lyme disease, finds himself looking for answers to what life is and manages to not find any in the usual places. He seeks it in religious and spiritual areas and even in extreme sports. The book ties together sports science, spiritualism, surfing and mythology in a way that will make you want to read it over and over again. My copy is well worn, and makes up for the other books from that Eureka bookstore I’ve since donated to my local library.
Score: 10/10 RAWRS (Absolutely wonderful, I’ve read this book a ton, BUY IT)
High: A fantastic and fun read, makes you want to surf
Low: If you are very religious and easily offended you might not enjoy this book