35. “The Ridiculous Race,” Steve Hely and Vali Chandrasekaran

This book was actually legitimately funny, which is a welcome change in most things labeled “humor.” In a largely-true story, two friends decide to travel around the world in opposite directions without using airplanes. The prize is “a bottle of Kinclaith 1969. This was the most expensive Scotch available in Los Angeles. It cost so much that upon paying for it I thought I might throw up.”1 Flights of fancy do not count as flying, though they do explain my characterization of this book as “largely” true.

Along the way, they become interested more in the unspoken Awesome Contest, with Steve taking a container ship from LA to Beijing, trekking through Mongolia, riding the Orient Express. Vali starts with an excursion to a Mexican Jetpack maker and wends his way through the middle east and Cairo.

Page count: 315
Page total: 8,752

1. It’s so expensive that if you run a search for “Kinclaith 1969,” the price will not pop up. This is to protect your fragile sensibilities. I finally found it listed as £531.91, which I refuse to convert into actual dollars.

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