Episode 011: Jamie Brisick — Top 5 Gateway Books

In episode 011 of the Looking Sideways Action Sports Podcast, my guest was surfer, writer, documentary maker and auto-didact Jamie Brisick (above), author of the fantastic Becoming Westerly, which sensitively and entertainingly chronicles the whole Peter Drouyn/Westerly Windina saga.

During our chat, Jamie mentioned the importance of ‘gateway’ books, those novels, stories or tales that often come along at an important time to open your mind to new ideas, new ways of life and new ways of seeing.

Here, Jamie picks his favourites. If you’ve finished Barbarian Days and need something else to get your teeth stuck into, look no further.

  1. Norman Mailer — Tough Guys Don’t Dance

‘I read this when I was 18 or 19. No one I knew talked like this, or about such things. It was an entry point into a far more complex inner life than the one I was trying to understand’.

2. Paul Theroux — The Family Arsenal

‘A political thriller that follows the acts of a terrorist cell in London. It was the prose, the description, the depth of insight that made me want to read more. And write too’.

3. Henry Miller — The Rosy Crucifixion Trilogy

“Suffering is unnecessary. But, one has to suffer before he is able to realize that this is so. It is only then, moreover, that the true significance of human suffering becomes clear. At the last desperate moment-when one can suffer no more!-something happens which is the nature of a miracle. The great wound which was draining the blood of life closes up, the organism blossoms like a rose. One is free at last, and not ‘with a yearning for Russia,’ but with a yearning for ever more freedom, ever more bliss. The tree of life is kept alive not by tears but the knowledge that freedom is real and everlasting.”

4. Anything by Charles Bukowski

‘He made writing feel accessible. He romanticized the solitary, interior part. He did my liver no favors’.

5. Lao-Tzu — Tao Te Ching

‘I was a surfer before I was a writer. This book helped me understand that the flow is eternal’.

To hear the full episode with Jamie Brisick, click here.