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Still, the lone Scotsman on Zero has come a long way from his beginnings on Blueprint skateboards, handpicked by Jamie Thomas to join the Zero team in 2000. He's since had parts in "Dying to Live," "New Blood," "Feed the Need" and countless other videos.
But, the life of a skateboarder can leave a person a lot of down time and, while a lot of pros and ams don't fill it with the most productive activities, Rattray, raised by parents who ran a real estate business and managed a video rental store, taught himself to stay busy, one way or another when he's off the board. One way that manifested itself was in an undergraduate degree in physics, from the University of Glasgow, putting him in a select group of skateboarders that have college degrees. But, he'll tell you himself that "getting an education doesn't necessarily make you a smarter person, it just makes you more educated." Although he'll also say he's not much of a reader, he admittedly uses books to stay busy, which is why we caught up with him for a Face Time about his reading list.
In the video, and written down below, you can see some of the books he has liked or currently likes in his own words...
For a guy who generally likes dark books, there's a great deal of light in his life. John frontside ollies somewhere in Arizona.
An Easily Digestible Literary Club Sandwich of Fact and Fiction
(or A Boring A** Reading List that, Like, No One Can Be Bothered With)
by John Rattray "Cosmos" and "The Cosmic Connection" by Carl Sagan
"The Colour of Magic" and "The Light Fantastic" by Terry Pratchett
"The Selfish Gene" by Richard Dawkins
"Galapagos" by Kurt Vonnegut Jr.
"A Peoples History of the United States" by Howard Zinn
"The Lord of the Flies" by William Golding (the version I have has a section containing highlights of critical analysis at the end which is very good)
"The Pagan Christ" by Tom Harpur
"Whit" by Ian Banks
"The Doors of Perception" and "Heaven and Hell" by Aldous Huxley
"Hegemony or Survival" by Noam Chomsky
"Dune" by Frank Herbert
"The End of Oil" by Paul Roberts
"The Human Situation," "Brave New World" and "Brave New World Revisited" by Aldous Huxley
"1984" and "Animal Farm" by George Orwell (critical essays are good, too)
Then on to JG Ballard's entire body of work. There are lot's of good essays regarding his stuff online.
At which point it will be worth getting into some practical stuff about life on a post-petroleum planet. Although if you don't have kids or care about anyone else's kids then it doesn't matter.
As a physics major at the University of Glasgow, observatories are no mystery to John Rattray. However...it's been a while since he's had to go to one for academic purposes.