10 Stories for Skippers
Skipping isn’t only a time-honored tradition; it’s a literary one, too. These ten books are just examples of the thousands of pieces of literature that add insight into the life of a skipper. This is by no means an exhaustive list (do exhaustive lists exist?), so feel free to add your own below.
A Moveable Feast by Ernest Hemingway
Aged Hem looks back to his days in Paris. Young, broke, and unsure how to tame his urges to gamble and drink when his funds were dedicated to a wife and infant back in the tiny apartment, Ernest offers one of the most well-crafted memoirs ever produced and speaks right to the confusion many skippers endure. Pushing beyond the usual Skipping Bachelorhood theme of responsibility and simply sketching a skipper’s lifestyle, Hemingway lets the readers ask the poignant questions.
Macbeth by William Shakespeare
Big believer in Skipper Tricks? Talk about using the wrong ones to get ahead! Featuring a man who can’t control his marriage, who gets ahead not through cunning but through crime, Macbeth offers skippers so much more than a passing grade in senior English class. Skipper themes include the meaning of success, the balance of respect in marriage, and advancing oneself. Also, witches and Scots!
The Idiot by Fyodor Dostoyevsky
Not a married man, Dostoyevsky’s protagonist, Prince Muishkin, experiences in yesteryear Russia much of what American skippers go through today. His youth and commitment to traditional mores make him a target of derision among the cultural elite, yet Dostoyevsky manages to show the reader that, although a tragic character who rarely advances in society, Muishkin is truly wise. A great lesson for skippers from one of literature’s best.
The Black Rose by Thomas B. Costain
A highlight of historical fiction’s golden age, The Black Rose is an adventure novel in the best sense of the word. Costain’s protagonist, Walter of Gurnie, is a medieval youth who ventures to Cathay (China) on the suggestion of Roger Bacon. Already brave yet personally un-noteworthy, Walter develops manly character through his romance and eventual marriage. The youth who comes of age largely through his relationship with his beloved will resonate with skippers who are currently doing the same thing.
Les Misérables by Victor Hugo
One name for skippers: Marius. Vain and arrogant, yet brave enough to skip, the young man’s hubris (a common fault of the skipper) pains his family, both natural and wedded. We also see Fantine’s lover skip off to happy climes while she becomes one of the most miserable of the book. And the value of responsibility we see in Valjean. And, well, it’s more than 1,000 pages, so you’ll find a few other helpful skipper themes.
The Picture of Dorian Gray by Oscar Wilde
He’s charming and handsome. Beyond that, Dorian is the antithesis of a skipper. Read to get your blood boiling and your commitment to skipperhood affirmed.
How Green was my Valley by Richard Llewellyn
A Welsh boy grows up in a mining town. Young fathers go down into the pits each day to bring their pittance back to their families. Llewellyn’s classic offers one of the clearest pictures of how each action affects others (including a great discussion on premarital sex), and he does it in a coming-of-age tale full of colloquialism and contrasting characters.
John Adams by David McCullough
The only non-memoir nonfiction piece to make this brief list, John Adams is nonetheless a masterful story about a good man who became great largely because of his devoted wife. McCullough follows Adams through his life, and a fascinating theme develops: whenever Abigail stood by him, John was at his strongest. And that strength built America. Powerful, and a lesson every skipper should take to heart.
The Magnificent Ambersons by Booth Tarkington
Tarkington received the 1919 Pulitzer for this one, and skippers who read it understand why. Following the heir to a “magnificent” fortune, the story offers the emptiness of of the hero’s life until circumstances force him to develop a little soul. The turn from a life of carelessness to a life care is a theme in any skipper’s life, and it’s captured beautifully in this tale. Also, the whole story comes together right at the last page…fantastic.
A Severe Mercy by Sheldon Vanauken
The love story of a skipper and his bride, from their early years and through her death. Hauntingly written, A Severe Mercy shows the pain that comes with ideological separation from your wife, as well as the importance of keeping up the skipper commitment to greater causes even beyond those first tough years.
Feel free to add your own below!