Perfect for fans of Barbarian Days, this memoir in essays follows one man's decade-long quest to uncover the hidden meaning of skateboarding, and explores how this search led unexpectedly to insights on marriage, love, loss, American invention, and growing old.

In January 2012, creative writing professor and novelist Kyle Beachy published one of his first essays on skate culture, an exploration of how Nike’s corporate strategy successfully gutted the once-mighty independent skate shoe market. It would not be his last. For a decade and counting, Beachy has been skate culture's freshest, most illuminating, at times most controversial voice, writing candidly about the increasingly popular and fast-changing pastime Beachy first picked up as a young boy and has continued to practice well into adulthood.

What is skateboarding? What does it mean to continue skateboarding after forty, four decades after the kickflip was invented? How does one live authentically as an adult while staying true a lifelong passion cemented in childhood? How does having a hobby like skateboarding, which breaks bones, abrades skin, and takes as much as it gives, shape one's understanding of contemporary American life? Of growing old and getting married?

In the tradition of William Finnegan's Barbarian Days, Helen Macdonald’s H Is for Hawk, and Haruki Murakami's What I Talk About When I Talk About Running, THE MOST FUN THING offers a deep exploration of an often overlooked, underappreciated pastime whose seeming simplicity conceals universal truths. It is a rich account of Beachy's quest to pin down the meaning of the activity that became his life's greatest obsession and his struggle to find a place for it in an increasingly complicated life as an adult, a professor, and a husband.

What's Inside

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Reader Reviews


“In THE MOST FUN THING, Kyle Beachy assembles critique, philosophy, anecdote, personal history and imagination, while being shrewd, witty, provocative and—above all—hugely engaging. This is new favorite book on skateboarding.”

Iain Borden, author of Skateboarding and the City: A Complete History

"Skateboarding is not only the most fun thing, it is also a way of seeing the world. In telling his own story, Beachy reflects on the history of this counter-culture-turned-mainstream-culture, and shows how it shapes the fundamental aspects of life, one's approach to work and relationships, even changes the feeling of being in one's own skin. No one has captured this better than Beachy. A great read."

Ocean Howell, author of Making the Mission: Planning and Ethnicity in San Francisco

"As readable as a skate mag and as complex as the best fiction, THE MOST FUN THING imbricates themes of meaning, community, and the soul, and will leave you marveling at skateboarding’s mystery and hopeful for its future. A book as much for the skateboarder as the artist and the writer, the thinker, the feeler."

Mark Suciu, professional skateboarder

"Reading The Most Fun Thing is the most fun thing that this reader has done in months. Kyle Beachy knows his skateboarding, but has even more to say about urban design, literary theory, marriage, the struggle for selfhood, the long-overdue exorcism of skate culture’s misogyny and bigotry, and the eternal knife fight between capitalism and community. With an omnivorous and probing intelligence, Beachy views our tattered world through the scratched fish-eye lens of a skateboarder, and finds jewels of truth hidden everywhere he looks."

Michael Christie, author of Greenwood and If I Fall, If I Die
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