Okay, you've been given the ultimatum to reduce your personal library to four books. Maybe you're moving into an RV and have limited space. Maybe it's for a stretch in the federal pen after someone linked you and that new Trek Madone with SRAM Red to Bernie Madoff.
So you only get four books.
Let's assume that you'll have a chance to borrow novels from the prison library or do trade-ins on used books from the truck stops. That means we want reference books, but reference books that are also great reads. Where should we start?
We want our bikes to be in top working order. A great place to start is Leonard Zinn's "Zinn and the Art of Road Bike Maintenance", an homage to Robert Pirsig's "Zen and the Art of Motorcycle Maintenance". This book has gone through several editions and has been kept up to date with the latest cycling gizmos.
We'll be thirsty after riding, so let's take a look at Michael Jackson's (the other MJ) "Great Beer Guide". Jackson hosted a television series called "The Beer Hunter" and was noted as possibly the world's foremost expert on beer. Jackson died in 2007, but has left a malty and hoppy legacy.
After a cold one, we'll be ready to eat. Start with Steven Raichlen's "Barbecue Bible". I will be the first to point out that many of these recipes involve grilling and not barbecuing. However, roasted meat in its many forms is all good. Raichlen references meats and cooking styles from around the world.
We may be fit, we might be full, and we might have satisfied our thirst, but let's not neglect our spiritual development. For those of you so inclined, I would recommend the fourth book on the list to be the "Quest Study Bible" by Zondervan Press. The text is a New International Version translation. The notes in the margins provide reference to other parts of the Bible and notes about the cultural and historical context. Each book has an overview page on who wrote it and why. There are other study Bibles that contain more in-depth analysis, but this is a good place to start for the laymen without seminary training.