World of Avallone - Men's Fashion & Lifestyle

What That Little Pocket on Your Jeans Is Actually For February 01 2016

Occasionally, we find an answer to one of life's constant questions, and everybody pretty much loses it. Today's revelation has to do with jeans. Specifically that little pocket on them. You know, the one that doesn't really function as a pocket because it's so tiny, and which is actually located in a real pocket, but which nonetheless is technically a pocket in and of itself.

It seems some particularly curious forum users couldn't live in a world where that pocket's function remained unknown, so they have gone and discovered its use. The tiny little pocket inside a pocket is actually for watches, designed for cowboys in the 1800s. But since we are in 2016 and we are, for the most part, not cowboys, these pockets have taken on new uses.

As it says on the Levi Strauss website, "Originally included as protection for pocket watches, thus the name, this extra pouch has served many functions, evident in its many titles: frontier pocket, condom pocket, coin pocket, match pocket, and ticket pocket, to name a few."

Match pocket has a nice ring to it.


5 Reasons You Need a New Leather Wallet November 17 2015

Maybe you don’t currently own a handmade leather wallet, or maybe you still use your duct tape wallet from high school. Whatever the case may be, we are willing to bet you have not bought a new leather wallet in a long time, perhaps too long.

The following are five reasons to act now and buy a new men’s handmade leather wallet to avoid further embarrassment among colleagues and friends:

1. The rubber band you use to hold your money and cards together just broke again.

    2. The Tyvek wallet you bought at last year’s holiday market is still going strong, but you can’t stand the embarrassment when paying anymore.
    handmade mens wallet

     
    3. It takes you 10 minutes to find your credit card because you don’t even carry a wallet.


    4. Your gf/wife insists on paying when you’re out, but you don’t know why.

     woman paying
    5. You're still using your old tattered leather wallet after it's beens caught in the wash for the 3rd time. 

    old tattered wallet

     

     

      Number 4 may not appear  to be too bad at first glance. However, we’re willing to bet that won’t last very long, and could even progress to a breakup or a troubled marriage. For those of you who are single, that could be your solution to getting past the first date.

      If you currently don’t own a new handmade leather wallet, and you’re not ready to buy a new leather wallet after reading the above list, you most likely have much more serious issues to deal with, and we recommend seeing a doctor as your number 1 priority right now.

       For those of you who are ready to buy a new men’s leather wallet, don’t hesitate to check out Avallone’s full selection of men’s handmade leather wallets on our website.

      Click Here to Browse Our Full Selection of Men’s Handmade Leather Wallets, Complete with a Lifetime Warranty and Free Shipping!

      Avallone Luxury Mens Handmade Leather Wallets


      5 Fashion Forward Designer Sunglasses Brands November 12 2015

      Sunglasses are an essential summer fashion accessory for both men and women to protect the eyes from the sun’s harmful rays and are recommended by healthcare professionals. However, just because they are good for the health of your eyes, doesn’t mean that sunglasses don’t have to look good and be fashionable – in fact, quite the opposite. We’ve put together a list of five of the best fashion forward sunglass brands.

      Oakley

      Based in Foothill Ranch, California, Oakley is a brand which specialises mainly in sporting equipment, however it also manufactures some lifestyle accessories including sunglasses. Oakley’s sunglasses have been considered the best in the world, and have an attractive look and design as well as being manufactured by taking into consideration the tough conditions that many sportspeople face. Oakley provides luxury sunglasses that do not compromise on protection from the elements when you need it most.

      Ray Ban

      Ray Ban is one of the most popular and well-known brand of sunglasses, and was founded in 1937 by American company Bausch & Lomb. Best known for their Aviator and Wayfarer styles of sunglasses, Ray Ban offers a wide range of specifications with respect to design, lenses, material and style. Thanks to high quality materials and a high standard of manufacturing, Ray Ban sunglasses are super durable. Ray Ban are often considered one of the more affordable brands of sunglasses, however they are also popular with a number of famous celebrities as well as the general public.

      Fendi

      One of the best multinational sunglass brands for men and women, Fendi products can be easily distinguished thanks to the undoubted Italian style and grace. The Italian fashion house offers an esteemed collection of designer sunglass styles, which are popular with celebrities thanks to high sophistication and a luxury look and feel. The design of Fendi sunglasses aims to astound and mesmerise, and they are a high-end choice of accessory which are loved by many celebrities around the world.

      Gucci

      Owned by French company Kering and headquartered in Florence, Italy, Gucci has several different product lines including fashion and leather goods, however its sunglasses have become one of the most popular and sought after sunglass brands in the world. This is thanks to the innovative and luxury designs that they offer along with a high standard of manufacture which makes the sunglasses long-lasting and durable.

      Prada

      Founded by Mario Prada in 1913 and based in Milan, Italy, Prada is another luxury Italian fashion house that quickly took the lead with its high esteemed collection of products which offer luxury and sophistication. Prada’s sunglasses are highly popular products with both men and women and can often be seen worn by a number of A-list celebrities, thanks to their exceptional and elegant design. For those who love to have fashionable products that feature both current trends and quality, Prada is a popular brand.

      If you’re looking to bag yourself a pair of fashionable designer sunglasses, why not check out some of the amazing bargains at Red Hot Sunglasses.


      Dressed to Kill: Exploring James Bond's Classic Style November 04 2015

      Esquire fashion director Nick Sullivan explains how 007 pulls it all together.

      At once modern and timeless, 007 is the personification of straightforward elegance, with no room for unnecessary details. He is simply Bond: cool under pressure, at home in any situation, and always the best-dressed man in the room.

      Whether turned out in a shawl-collar tux at the baccarat tables or dressed down in tweeds, Bond accepts nothing but the very best. Everything fits perfectly into Bond's world; there's no room for the superfluous. His weapon is reliable, his Aston Martin is fast, his suit is impeccable, and his Belvedere martini is simple. ​

      Bond doesn't demand attention; on the contrary, he eludes the public gaze. It's part of the job. But when the focus lands on him, every detail conveys vigor and resolve. The creases are sharp. The tailoring is precise. The cufflinks gleam in the dim light. He is the secret tower of strength in the room. And he's always in his element.

      The modern man can take a cue from one of the most stylish icons in menswear: Keep it simple. Choose the classics, and have them cut to fit. We never see his tailor, but we know Bond must visit Savile Row. A double-breasted overcoat, a single-breasted two-button suit, a crisp shirt with a knitted silk tie, and cap-toe oxfords. Nothing flashy. Everything to its purpose. That's 007.

      -from Esquire Mag.


      Is Your Wallet Sending the Wrong Message? October 27 2015

      Have you ever felt embarrassed to take out your wallet when it came time to pay on a date or business lunch/dinner? If so, it could be because your wallet is 1 of these 4 things:

      • Old, tattered and worn out.
      • Overstuffed with outdated cards, receipts, and any other piece of paper you’ve managed to save.
      • Unprofessional looking & disorganized.
      • Lacking available funds whether in cash or bank balances.

      Many people often overlook the fact that the way you treat your wallet, along with the money in your wallet, sends a direct message about what you’re saying about yourself. You may be a financial wiz, but if you don’t own a quality handmade leather wallet, or if you do own a professional leather wallet, but cannot keep it organized, you’re sending a bad message to others around you. We’ll also teach you how to save a few extra dollars, just from keeping your wallet more organized.

      Here are 6 ways to get your wallet into shape:

       

      Invest in a quality genuine leather wallet.

      You can also get away with canvas, but make sure the canvas has some leather detailing on it. A handmade, genuine leather wallet shows professionalism, style, and class all in one package. You will never be embarrassed to take out your leather wallet again in public, if only for the fact that it looks so good. There are many different types out there, but we recommend our very own Executive Leather Bi-Fold in Black. On a side note, don’t obsess over buying “slim wallets”. If you don’t follow the next steps, even a slim wallet will become too fat to comfortably carry.

      Review Receipts

      Now that you own a quality, genuine, handmade leather wallet, you will need to clean it out once a month, if not once a week. When cleaning out your wallet, review your receipts and then store them in an expense file until you have had time to return items, or check warranties if needed. We recommend purging that file every 3 months.

      Carry Only the ID You Need

      In order to increase space and reduce thickness in your handmade leather wallet, limit the identification cards you carry to your driver's license (or photo ID), health insurance and other medical cards, and car insurance card. Don’t forget to check if your car insurance cards will expire soon. If so, it’s an excellent reminder to shop around for better rates. Also, keep your Social Security card at home and memorize the number to avoid putting yourself at greater risk for identity theft if the leather wallet is lost or stolen.

      Keep Cards to a Minimum

      Our next piece of advice is to keep only a debit card and a maximum of two credit cards in your handmade leather wallet. Put the one top that has the best rewards points or interest rate. We also recommend getting rid of store credit cards. The annual percentage rate on retail cards is over 23 percent on average, compared to 10 percent for the average low rate card and 15 percent for the average cash-back or rewards card, according to a CreditCards.com analysis. If you carry a balance month-to-month, even a great introductory offer on a store card will likely not make up for the amount of extra interest you'll incur over time.

      Carry Cash

      In this day and age of cashless purchases, there are some items or stores that still require cash. If you don't have it in your leather wallet, and go to an ATM that's outside of your network, you could pay as much as $2.50 or $3 for each transaction. Always keep some cash in a variety of bills in your wallet. To help keep your spending in check, give yourself a weekly allowance for cash or debit card purchases and stick to it.

      Back It Up

      Now that you've streamlined your genuine leather wallet, it's important to back it all up. Make copies of your credit and debit card information, driver's license and health insurance cards and keep them separate from your wallet. You can make paper copies to keep in a file for your personal finances. Or cut down on paper and take photos of your IDs and receipts that you want to keep and email them to an email address that you set up specifically for your finances. Create folders in your email to keep your information and expenses organized. When you have a good tracking system in place for what goes into and out of your wallet, you will save both money and time.

      Click here to visit Avallone and shop for more men's luxury handmade leather wallets.


      The 10 Best Websites for Men May 22 2015

      best-websites-for-menThere are literally hundreds of websites written specifically for men. Some offer self help while others offer men’s entertainment or products (click here for a list of men’s product websites).

      In researching for my upcoming men’s trivia app Mantelligence, I read through almost all of these sites. To save you some time, I decided to create a list of my favorites.

      For each site, I give you a quick breakdown of what the site is all about, the site’s highlights and a few of their best articles.

      The 10 Best Websites for Men

      So here they are.  The top 10 websites for men in no particular order.

      top-websites-for-men-huckberry

      Huckberry

      Picture Huckleberry Finn in your mind’s eye. Now imagine that Huckleberry Finn could be a website site a voilà.

      Huckberry sells men’s products but also has a phenomenal blog. They post some of the most interesting content on the web that you will not find elsewhere

      Highlights:

      • Amazing photography
      • Unique articles

      Alden Tan

      Warning: Alden’s site is not for the faint of heart.

      His tagline, “Helping you not give a f_ _k,” well illustrates this. His articles aren’t the traditional self help. They are written in a very gritty, personal and honest voice. He gives great advice and his writing style is a nice change of pace.

      Highlights: 

      • Great advice without any fluff
      • Lots of cursing

      The Art of Manliness

      The Art of Manliness wins the side prize for the best website name. Manliness, as the name declares, is truly an art.

      A repeat offender on any list of the best websites for men, the Art of Manliness features articles written to help men break free of today’s stereotypes of what a man is. Many of the articles leverage advice from the past (like how to shave like your grandpa). Anything you read on the site will leave you with something you didn’t know before.

      Highlights 

      • Well thought out and in depth articles
      • Very well written

      Man Made DIY

      DIY for men (I hope you got that from the title).

      This is by far the best website for men’s DIY projects. It offers a wide range of projects that can inexpensively make your apartment look great. The website also has a great weekly post on Wednesday called “Blow My Mindsday”. This post brings you the best articles from across the web and, as the title suggests, may potentially blow your mind.

      Highlights:

      • Abundance of men’s DIY
      • Blow My Minsday

      Dudepins

      Pinterest for men!

      This site is a great mix of beautiful women, inspirational quotes and pictures, and other generally awesome photos for men. If you have a few minutes to kill, this is the place to do it.

      Highlights

      • The web’s best collection of photographs for men
      • Photos you won’t find elsewhere

      Best Articles (kinda):

      1. Mila Kunis
      2. Make a Man of Yourself
      3. Swag

      His Potion

      “Smart Stuff for Men”

      His Potion is a great mix of men’s products and entertainment. My favorite post is their Friday Inspiration. This weekly post is a list of really high quality photographs designed to inspire your weekend. I highly recommend subscribing to their newsletter to get your weekend started right.

      Disclaimer: The newsletter comes Friday morning. If you read it at work, it’s going to be a long day.

      Highlights:

      • Friday Inspiration
      • Great mix of men’s products and entertainment

      Fearless Men

      “Stand up. Fight Hard. Win.”

      Fearless Men’s articles cover a wide range of topics. Their articles are well written, easy to understand and always concise. The authors are great at giving you the information you need without making you read through 5 pages to get it.

      Highlights:

      • Diverse content
      • Succinct articles

      Primer

      Primer has a great tagline, “A guy’s post college guide to growing up.” The website does just that.

      It is a great mix of advice, entertainment and fashion. They shine in the fashion department. The site helps you look good without ruining your bank account.

      Highlights:

      • Fashion advice for the average man
      • Lots of animated infographics

      Menprovement

      Menprovement is designed is to make you a better you. Their mantra is “helping men reach their maximum potential”.

      It was founded in 2013, and in less than a year has developed a strong and dedicated following. Their articles always seem to answer the questions that you’re asking right now. They are written in a easy to understand and a very relate-able voice

      Highlights

      • Lots of how to guides and infographics
      • In depth articles

      Mantelligence

      Can anyone say selfless promotion? Well I sure can…

      Mantelligence, and the Mantelligence app, are designed to give you all the manly intelligence you need. The site has easy to read articles answers the questions you’re having in your daily life. They’re easy to read and will undoubtedly help you become a better man.

      Highlights

      • General and overall awesomeness
      • All the manly intelligence you need

       

       

      Photo Credit: Dottie Mae on Flickr


      The 21 Books from the 21st Century Every Man Should Read January 29 2015

      Anyone who's been handed a high school diploma can tick off the classic novels from the twentieth century: The Great Gatsby, A Farewell to Arms, The Grapes of Wrath. But cross into this millennium and things are suddenly murkier, Kindle-ier, less classed up with age. Then again, it's been an affirming 15 years, enough time to breed a whole new body of post-2000 lit we're happy to call the new classics—and we're not afraid to name names. We spent months chiseling down a list* of not just our favorite books from the 2000s but also the works of fiction that we most readily recommend to our fathers, brothers, and non-blood-related bros. Then we asked a bunch of those authors to pick an overlooked book—stories, poetry, memoir—from that same period of time. Dig in quick: This is your chance to right some wrongs and hit the new musts you missed the first time around.

      -as published by GQ. 

      *Numbered, but not ranked

       

      1.

      The Corrections

      JONATHAN FRANZEN (2001)

      BECAUSE: Let's be real, he wrote two of the very best books (Freedom's the other) of the millennium—or, if you're guzzling haterade, at least the two best books on, among other things, family, anti-anxiety drugs, marriage, fate, songbirds, and Minnesota.

      AUTHOR'S PICK: "Ms. Hempel Chronicles (2008), by Sarah Shun-lien Bynum, is a deftly constructed novel masquerading as a collection of linked stories; you don't even realize it's a love story until you read the last chapter. Its heroine, Ms. Hempel, is a young private-school teacher whose troubles include haziness about the distinction between student and teacher. Chapter by chapter, as you watch her interact with her pupils, you realize that she's as lost and confused as they are, and the result is an extraordinary sympathy for all concerned. Bynum seems incapable of writing a sentence that doesn't have something fresh or funny or true going on in it. She gets you laughing and then she whacks you in the heart.

       

      2. 

      The Human Stain

      PHILIP ROTH (2000)

      BECAUSE: he's written eight pretty great novels since the turn, but only one masterpiece. Beginning in the summer "that Bill Clinton's secret emerged," it's the best book on sex, scandal (Roth coined the famous phrase "ecstasy of sanctimony"), and political correctness in the Lewinsky Moment.

       

      3. 

      The Road

      CORMAC MCCARTHY (2006)

      BECAUSE: While plugging this book is sorta like plugging a weekend getaway to Pittsburgh in February, it's irresponsible not to, for the sheer tactful feat of turning a post-apocalyptic skin-crawler into both a critical stick of dynamite (the Pulitzer Prize) and a commercial windfall (Oprah's Book Club). McCarthy, who rarely lifts a fingernail to promote his work, is better than hermetic: Doesn't care about the fame or money but isn't such a nutbag that he frantically hides from it. He's operating in the new millennium as actively as the younger generation, this prime-time gunner, now 79, who so clearly has still got it. Notice, on the other hand, the absence of those other stalwarts of the 1960s—1990s: Updike, DeLillo, Morrison, Pynchon, Ford, et al.

      4. 

      White Teeth

      ZADIE SMITH (2000)

      BECAUSE: Smith's debut (published when she was just 24!)—about the friendship and family fates of two polar-opposite and yet instantly identifiable British men—is better than any recent book at answering the question: What was life like in London last century?

       

      5. 

      True History of the Kelly Gang

      PETER CAREY (2000)

      BECAUSE: the voice in this fictional autobiography of Australia's most famous outlaw—Ned Kelly, bushranger—is so convincing that you'd swear it came from his own dirt-and-blood-soaked hands.

      AUTHOR'S PICK: "Kent Haruf is one of the great poets of the modern novel. He has an extraordinary capacity for love. He will give you the smell of the dirt and grasses of the High Plains of Colorado. He will never fail to engage your heart, but because he is an honest man, he will have you grasp the nettles. If you have never entered his beautiful singing sentences, I envy you your first time. If you do already know that Plainsong and Eventide are masterpieces, get ready for Benediction, out this year. This is why writers write and readers read.

       

      6. 

      2666

      ROBERTO BOLAÑO (2008)

      BECAUSE: Big novels always arrive with an aura of ridiculousness, overpraised by critics, under-read by readers, slowly eroding an indent into the bottom shelf of your bookcase. Worse is a posthumous publication (which usually requires someone to defy the author's last wishes) that's as rickety as improperly assembled Ikea furniture. This book was both: the English translation of 898 pages showing up five years after Roberto Bolaño's death from liver failure. But pick it up with two hands and you'll find a masterpiece just swarming with stories, of hapless critics and too many murdered women; earnest, haunted investigators who don't find the answers they need; and vanished geniuses who don't want to be found.

      7. 

      Tree of Smoke

      DENIS JOHNSON (2007)

      BECAUSE: The best book about Vietnam took thirty-odd years to brew—resulting in the finest first few pages (and subsequent 600) written on the subject.

       

      8. 

      Everything Ravaged, Everything Burned

      WELLS TOWER (2009)

      BECAUSE: This is the voice lots of writers are most excited about today, the one whose story collection they'll hand you, dog-eared, if you ask for an urgently ass-kicking must-read. Spend a few hours with these damaged, defiant, uncomfortably familiar men (yep, including Vikings) and watch as Tower unravels and stitches up their lives. There's no way you're giving this book back.

      AUTHOR'S PICK: "Haven Kimmel's A Girl Named Zippy (2001) is a joyous, humane memoir of a midwestern childhood, wrought in sentences whose epigrammatic hilariousness makes you want to applaud at each period. Recalling her early years, Kimmel writes, 'If I could have gotten my nose close enough I would have inhaled leaded gasoline until I was retarded.' For my money, this whups Proust and his doughnut any day of the week.

       

      9.  

      Fortress of Solitude

      JONATHAN LETHEM (2003)

      BECAUSE: A lot of people write about Brooklyn—but Lethem's epic take on gentrification 
      and racial tension is the first and last word on the subject.

      AUTHOR'S PICK: "The appearance in 2010 of What Is All This?—a 600-page career-spanning anthology of stories from Stephen Dixon—was a welcome reminder of the continued existence of a literary cornucopia still steadily blurting out nourishment 
      and fascination, now for fifty years and counting. Dixon's surely a candidate for the most prolific short-story writer of all time. Every one of his hundreds of tales long and short hinges on the singular miracle of his voice—as sprung and uncanny as Donald Barthelme's, yet as rooted in the urban vernacular as Bernard Malamud's—and from there takes nothing besides that voice for granted, promising constant surprise. Read Dixon to be staggered by his humanity, fearlessness, comic despair, and formal genius. In my opinion he ought to get the Nobel Prize.

      10. 

      Pastoralia

      GEORGE SAUNDERS (2000)

      BECAUSE: The title story alone—the depressive ramblings of an employee in a vaguely dystopian caveman-themed amusement park (trust us)—was proof that we had found a new king of literary tragicomedy.

      AUTHOR'S PICK: "Stuart Dybek, an American master, is the literary embodiment of essential Chicagoness: deep emotion expressed in language that is street-smart, lyrical, and full of heart. The stories in I Sailed with Magellan are technically amazing, but always to emotional purpose. The book is full of the romantic, exotic, ethnic, story-rich Chicago I remember from my childhood. His story 'Hot Ice,' from the amazing earlier collectionThe Coast of Chicago, was the first contemporary story that ever completely cleaned my clock.

       

      11. 

      Runaway

      ALICE MUNRO (2004)

      BECAUSE: In any of the five collections she's put out since 2000, but especially in this one, she so totally nails the short story that one could be forgiven for thinking writing them is easy. It ain't.

       

      12. 

      Austerlitz

      W.G. SEBALD (2001)

      BECAUSE: Austerlitz is possessed of a form all its own. It's long been in vogue to blur the lines between fiction and non-, between novel and memoir, and W.G. did that before it was cool. But Austerlitz, which is basically about Sebald wandering around Europe, doesn't do it as a gimmick. You get the sense that this is simply what he had to write. Austerlitz is about the intricate, horrifying, inhuman destruction upon which all societies, certainly Western ones, are built. An understandable thing for a German to have been obsessed about. Its message is that we all live in the silent, beautiful ruins of sadistic disaster. And it falls to Sebald to uncover those ruins. To read it is to stop and smell the roses, except, you know, roses that smell like sadistic destruction.

      13. 

      Cloud Atlas

      DAVID MITCHELL (2004)

      BECAUSE: Forget the endless movie: Mitchell's original novel—six rollicking story lines connecting disparate-seeming characters through reincarnation—was big without being dense, and ambitious without being overbearing.

       

      14. 

      Gilead

      MARILYNNE ROBINSON (2004)

      BECAUSE: Conversation about religion in America in the twenty-first century is so batshit insane that when someone tries to strip it down to the parts that were interesting to people, like, 2,000 years ago, it's worth listening. While Robinson's novel—a long, elegiac, wisdom-bleeding letter from a much older father to a much younger son that's also a meditation on just about every question of God and humanity—sure ain't easy, it socks you in the face and then hands you some ice to cool the bruise. Which is what religion's supposed to do, right?

      AUTHOR'S PICK: "I've read a book that comes out this month. It is Christian Wiman's My Bright Abyss: Meditation of a Modern Believer. Wiman is the editor of Poetry magazine and has now accepted a professorship at Yale. His book is a memoir, his coming to terms with cancer and a very dark prognosis—which he has outlived. The thing that is exceptional about this book, aside from its intelligence and its language, is the quality of its theological reflection. It is very lucid and not at all simple, a book in the great tradition of truly serious thought.

       

      15. 

      The Art of Fielding

      CHAD HARBACH (2011)

      BECAUSE: Bros will never not love baseball and bros will never not love college—and together, that pairing made us love reading a book more than the sum of our love of baseball and college. (Also: For guys who get through max two books a year, this is the surest rec on the list.)

      AUTHOR'S PICK: "Sam Lipsyte's The Ask, from 2010, is my favorite novel of the past few years, and his new story collection, The Fun Parts, out this year, is just as good. Since 2000, the battle for Funniest Writer in America has been a mano a mano mountaintop clash between Lipsyte and George Saunders, and everybody 
      else just stands around laughing.

       

      16. 

      Netherland

      JOSEPH O'NEILL (2008)

      BECAUSE: Shoveling down the language in this book—about a man's lonely assimilation in New York after his wife and kid leave him to move back to London in the wake of 9/11—is like dining out gourmet for a week straight. Plus: murder, banking, spanking, and—seriously, this will work on you, as anyone from the former Colonies has long insisted—the awesome draw of cricket.

      AUTHOR'S PICK: "Skeletally, Leaving the Atocha Station (2011), Ben Lerner's first novel, is the chronicle of a young American poet's fellowship in Madrid. In substance, and not to mince words, this is a very intelligent, very funny, verbally brilliant, relentlessly perceptive investigation of the ethical-linguistic-political morass in which the American abroad must wade. Truly tip-top.

       

      17. 

      The Brief Wondrous Life of Oscar Wao

      JUNOT DIAZ (2007)

      BECAUSE: We've never heard a book talk like this one: "Dude, you don't want to be dead. Take it from me. No-pussy is bad. But dead is like no-pussy times ten."

      AUTHOR'S PICK: "I guess I'll go for two. Aracelis Girmay's landmark poetry collection, Kingdom Animalia, because of 'Oh, body, be held now by whom you love. / Whole years will be spent, underneath these impossible stars, / when dirt's the only animal who will sleep with you / & touch you with / its mouth.' And Alexander Chee's incomparableEdinburgh, because of its bravery, its wisdom, its vitality, and because it's a novel that never stops haunting.

       

      18. 

      The Line of Beauty

      ALAN HOLLINGHURST (2004)

      BECAUSE: Although the story is simple—a recent grad spends the summer of '83 stumbling into his attraction to men while living in the home of a member of Parliament—Hollinghurst tells it with the metronomic consistency of early Cheever, the wide-eyed sexuality of Updike's Rabbit series, and the bloodlust for men of wealth and class that launched Fitzgerald. And because Hollinghurst easily carries the torch for all three.

       

      19. 

      Saturday

      IAN MCEWAN (2005)

      BECAUSE: No novel, by McEwan or anyone else, so precisely and gorgeously conjures the thought processes of its protagonist. Here the synaptic crackle and fizz of Henry Perowne's formidable brain as the neurosurgeon absorbs a body blow from a street thug: "The blow that's aimed at Perowne's heart...lands on his sternum with colossal force, so that...there surges throughout his body a sharp ridge, a shock wave, of high blood pressure, a concussive thrill that carries with it not so much pain as an electric jolt of stupefaction and a brief deathly chill that has a visual component of blinding, snowy whiteness."

       

      20. 

      The Yellow Birds

      KEVIN POWERS (2012)

      BECAUSE: What happens when poets write novels is you get sentences with chiseled precision, chapters with an elliptical swirl. What happens when a soldier-poet writes a novel is you get the best book yet on the post-9/11 wars.

      AUTHOR'S PICK: "It's not exactly underrated—it was a finalist for the Pulitzer Prize in 2006—but then again, poetry collections aren't exactly overplayed. Elegy on Toy Piano, by Dean Young, is a sad and vibrant shock of a book. Moving between the ridiculous and the sublime, often within the same poem, this collection is a perfect introduction to the reckless humanity of Young's poetry.

       

      21. 

      The Namesake

      JHUMPA LAHIRI (2003)

      BECAUSE: No other novel this century has so fully, meticulously described the life of a man, from birth to middle age, and all the choices and obsessions that guide him through.