Given that over 5,000 ascents to the summit have been made by over 3,000 people, it might not seem like a big deal — but when Hillary and Norgay made their way to the Top of the World 60 years ago, it was indeed a BFD. The Conquest of Everest: Original Photographs from the Legendary First Ascent ($27) takes you inside this legendary event through photographs and other materials climber and photographer George Lowe, who was with Hillary and Norgay on that first expedition. In addition to the 167 photos and illustrations, the book also features contributions from Reinhold Messner, Sir Chris Bonington, Peter Hillary, Doug Scott, Stephen Venables, and Norbu Tenzing Norgay and the late Sir Edmund Hillary themselves. Great for history buffs, climbing enthusiasts, or for making you wonder if you'll ever do anything noteworthy in your lifetime.
If you don't like to listen to your music loud, then this book isn't for you. Crank the Slayer up to 11 and pick up a copy of Louder Than Hell: The Definitive Oral History of Metal ($21). This book covers the spectrum of metal's loudest and wildest with interviews of over 250 bands ranging from Black Sabbath and Iron Maiden to Metallica and Megadeth. Also hear from family, industry execs, and journalists — and from the people who knew them best (groupies, drug dealers). Nearly 50 pages of full-color photography bring to life the world of Nu Metal, Industrial Metal, Thrash Metal, Death Metal, Metalcore, and more. Warn the neighbors, because it's gonna get loud.
Most of us at this point have tried several craft beers, and many of us liked them enough to switch almost exclusively away from the Bud Lights of the world. But few know the real history behind their rise to prominence. The Audacity of Hops ($14) chronicles that story from the 1960s through to today, based on interviews with the most influential folks in craft brewing, tons of research, and, we'll go ahead and assume, a healthy amount of beer drinking. Filled with amusing anecdotes and sometimes surprising facts, it's a must-read for any beer lover.
No matter how many bottles you've put away in your lifetime, it's unlikely you know all there is to know about whiskey. Drink More Whiskey: Everything You Need to Know About Your New Favorite Drink ($15) is here to teach you. Weighing in at just over 175 pages, this introduction to the whiskey renaissance covers both classic offerings and varieties from new distilleries, discussing the background, style, and quality of each, with over 20 drink recipes spread throughout that likewise run the gamut from classic to modern.
Be sure to read that carefully. The Hot Sauce Cookbook: Turn Up the Heat with 60+ Pepper Sauce Recipes ($13) isn't a book filled with ways to enhance your sandwiches and salads with Sriracha and spice. Instead, it offers up a number of recipes for making your own sauces and salsas, including sauces with flavors from around the world, homemade versions of classics like Frank's RedHot, Texas Pete, and even the aforementioned rooster sauce. Don't be too dejected about the sauce-heavy focus — the book also contains over fifty recipes for actual food dishes that are anything but bland.
Not every recipe in the book is made with beer, but they all taste great when paired with beer — and isn't that the important part? The American Craft Beer Cookbook: 155 Recipes from Your Favorite Brewpubs and Breweries ($13) offers up instructions on how to cook everything from appetizers to desserts, including some stuff you'd expect — like pub-friendly foods and barbecue — to some you wouldn't — like cupcakes and ice cream floats. But hey, it's all beer-friendly, so it's all good.
The title's more than a little pompous — anyone who thinks the Lone Star State is the be-all, end-all of BBQ has obviously never been to Kansas City, Memphis, or a whole swath of the Southeast — but that doesn't mean The Prophets of Smoked Meat: A Journey Through Texas Barbecue ($20) isn't worth reading. Penned by Daniel "BBQ Snob" Vaughn, this nearly 400-page edition is the first in the Anthony Bourdain Books line, and takes readers on a culinary tour of the state, examining different meats, woods, markets, and restaurants, while offering up some recipes at the same time. Consider it inspirational reading for the summer cookout season.
Remember the Academy Award-winning animated short Logorama? If you do, you probably know that there was an astounding number of corporate and product logos in the 16-minute film, and those obviously took a lot of research to piece together. Logobook ($35) is the result. Penned by the film's co-director Ludovic Houplain, this massive, 800-page tome features over 7,000 of the logos, organized alphabetically, and accompanied by info about the designers, year of creation, and what country they came from, as well as info on the brand and company. Add in an essay on brand culture and an introduction explaining the creation of the film, and you've got a must-have for any brand/identity/design geek.
You can grill. You might even own a smoker. But you haven't explored all the culinary techniques this time-honored cook method provides until you've read Smoke: New Firewood Cooking ($25). Penned by award-winning chef Tim Byres, this 250-page tome offers up information on smoking on the stovetop, making relishes and salads with smoked peppers and vegetables, grilling with rood planks, using smoke-cured meats in different dishes, and even building your own firepit, smokehouse, and/or spit roast — just in time for summer.
As technology advances and our gadgets and tools become more complex, the little pieces that make everything work seem more and more abstract. Things Come Apart: A Teardown Manual for Modern Living ($19) explores the interior of fifty classic designs through more than 180 color photographs. The objects are arranged first by size and then by complexity, and are accompanied by essays from noteworthy minds in the restoration, DIT, and design innovation fields. A great addition to the library of any curious mind, be they an engineer, tinkerer, or just plain ol' repairman.
When we last saw friend-of-Uncrate Zane Lamprey, he was wrapping up season three of Drinking Made Easy. Unfortunately, that show is no more — but that doesn't mean Lamprey's days of drinking on camera are over. Chug ($25 and up) is a new, crowd-funded show that aims to send Zane aboard a train to different drinking destinations, learning about the culture, and getting to know the locals in the process. The initial goal will fund six episodes — one every week for six weeks — and if the ultimate goal is reached, they'll make a full twelve. As fans of both Drinking Made Easy and his prior show Three Sheets, we'll gladly drink to that.
Believe it or not, in the early 1900s much of our knowledge of the strange and exotic came from one man. A curious man, if you will. A Curious Man: The Strange and Brilliant Life of Robert "Believe It or Not!" Ripley ($15) takes a look at the life and times of the cartoonist, millionaire, and champion of the weird, wild, and unexplainable. From his eponymous museums to the celebration of the weird in pop culture, Ripley's legacy is far more than you might think — dare we say it, even more than you might believe.