Erik Olson leads a bi-coastal nomadic existence. You can catch him in all of the offerings from Meatheads Films, and in several webisodes of Traveling Circus. He’s currently posted up in Oregon and shredding Mt. Hood between the raindrops. He took some time to plug back in and answer some questions about books.
Have you ever gotten any reading done on the chairlift?
No way, that doesn’t sound like any fun. For me, skiing is about being on the mountain. I make an effort to leave all distractions at home. I never ride with music, and rarely have my phone with me. The same kind of idea applies to when I read, just creating a favorable environment for whatever I’m doing at the moment. The only time I can remember seeing someone read on the lift was probably five years ago. It looked miserable… snow, wind, cold. I just remember thinking this kid must have been the biggest nerd on earth.
No music, no phone, no problem.
An early episode of Traveling Circus revealed that you spend summers in your car. Do you go for books on CD/MP3 or are you loyal to paper and ink?
I lived in my car for 135 days last year, so it may have made some sense to get a few audio books, but I never found any I liked. I get nearly all my books from used book / thrift stores, and the books on tape tend to cost a bit more. It is hard to justify a crummy $6 book on tape versus a classic novel for 50 cents. Plus, the physical characteristics of a book blow any audio/digital book out of the water. Paper and ink will last a life time. Who knows how long these different audio/digital formats will last before they become obsolete.
Do you have any bias against digital books, whether they are audio or on an e-reader?
I’ve never used an e-reader, but I really dislike reading an extended amount of material off a screen. I’ve heard that these e-readers are much better for your eyes than computer screens? I guess they make sense for newspapers or magazines, disposable media. For books though, I can’t ever image using such a device. I like having a physical book collection, and I don’t think that will ever change.
p: Ethan Stone
What are the last three books you’ve read, and what are you reading now?
Lets see… Within the last year I’ve been reading a lot of classics. Picking up books that I feel like I should have already read but just haven’t. I guess it’s my way of continuing my general education. It’s too easy to let your brain turn into mashed potatoes after school. Anyway, the most recent read was a book my good friend recommended, As Far as My Feet Will Carry Me by Josef M. Bauer. It’s a great story based on a man who escaped the Soviet gulags after WWII. Other recent reads include Candide by Voltaire and Alive by Piers Paul Read, the story of survival and cannibalism in the Andes mountains.
Give us a top 5 books for reading while car camping.
If you are doing any extended car camping it may get rough at times, but it will definitely be an experience. Try to pick genres that you can relate to. For me they happen to be: solitude, survival, adventure, and sci-fi when I wanted to get lost in my mind. Also, a book on astronomy and constellations will come in handy when you don’t have anything to do at night.
Here’s a list of some good ones…
Noah John Rondeau: Adirondack Hermit – Maitland C. De Sormo
Shane Mcfalls’s dad sent me this book. Great insight into one man’s peaceful existence as a hermit in the Adirondack wilderness.
Autobiography of Benjamin Franklin: Interesting perspective during colonial times and the birth of a nation.
Dune – Frank Herbert: Science fiction masterpiece.
Staying Alive in Avalanche Terrain – Bruce Tremper: It’s always a good idea to stay refreshed on avalanche knowledge.
The Mars Trilogy (Red Mars, Green Mars, Blue Mars) – Kim Stanley Robinson: This is a series about the colonization and terraformation of Mars!!!
Adventures of Huckleberry Finn – Mark Twain
“Living on a raft is lovely”
“Living on a glacier is lovely, too.” p: Ethan Stone