Friday, October 28, 2011

Cheap Book Club Chronicles : Volume One by Bob Dylan £3

Following in the esteemed footsteps of Oprah Winfrey, Richard and indeed Judy, I announce the Cheap Book Club... All books must be second-hand, borrowed, freebies or hugely discounted to qualify for review... No new or expensive books will be considered...

Here's a book I've just hugely enjoyed... It came out in 2004, but I've waited seven years for the £3 discounted paperback to appear...

I 'discovered' Bob Dylan in my impressionable 1980s mid-teens after seeing the D.A. Pennebaker documentary film Don't Look Back. (see the all time classic Subterranean Homesick Blues via YouTube embedded below). I was impressed enough then to seek out more; even to go out and buy a few albums. So Chronicles : Volume One was an easy read for me. I think you have to have some interest to pick up this book, but you don't have to be a hard-core Dylan fan to enjoy the story as it's told.

Bob Dylan seems to have lived an accelerated life; even to the extent of achieving his mid-life crisis in his twenties. We read here as much about his doubts and uncertainties as we do his output of songs and albums.

New York's early '60s folk club scene is vividly brought to life; then the book makes thematically-based leaps, lurching forwards and backwards in time from there. There are extended dry periods when Dylan seeks motivation and is continually bewildered by the expectations of others. There are curious gaps in his recording work and similarly in his telling of it too. The recording of most of the great albums goes without a mention, then he singles out the New Orleans recording sessions for the 'Oh Mercy' album with Daniel Lanois in 1989 for particular scrutiny.

Chronicles is an eclectic and entirely subjective selection of moments from an extraordinary life: yet it's the process by which Dylan comes to his writing that emerges from the tangled-up  reminiscences here.

Book club members (Well that's anybody really) are invited to use the comments feature below to discuss the book...

I liked it.

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