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The Dylanologists: Adventures in the Land of Bob Hardcover – May 13, 2014
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“Entertaining and well-written . . . The Dylanologists is as much a book about obsession—about the ways our fascinations manifest themselves, about how we cope with what we love but don’t quite understand—as it is a book about a musician and his nutty fans.” (The Wall Street Journal)
“The book, a compelling study of Dylan’s most fervent and studious fans, is always lively and sometimes funny, but Kinney never finds humor at the expense of the obsessives he profiles. By presenting sympathetic, respectful portraits of people who were inspired by Dylan to write, read, travel, archive, and rethink their lives, Kinney gives us a new way to think about one of the most thought about men of the twentieth century. . . . What’s more exciting is the way The Dylanologists shifts the perspective of a well-known history: Kinney recounts an important artist’s excursions into electric guitar, Christianity and even Christmas carols not for the purpose of examining what these periods mean to Dylan’s life or artistry, but what they mean for the lives and artistry of the people who experienced them. By celebrating these merits—be they the ingenuity to cull incredible collections or the wherewithal to reinvent oneself—Kinney’s subjects prove themselves more creative than kooky.” (The Chicago Tribune)
“Fascinating . . . Illuminating . . . Deeply reported.” (John Dickerson, Slate)
“By getting his subjects to talk about the moment, often years past, in which they were swayed by Dylan’s music, Kinney humanizes the archetype of the pop junkie. . . . Most of the fans that Kinney talks to aren’t fools or stalkers. They have simply developed an usually strong affinity for an artist and his music. . . . Kinney’s own fandom seems to have lapsed a bit into skepticism, yet he never mocks the continued devotion of those who still believe.” (Ian Crouch, The New Yorker)
“[A] must-read book . . . While there are countless books about Bob Dylan’s life and music, Kinney approaches Dylan from a different angle—the followers, scholars and kooks.” (New York Post)
“In Kinney’s hands, what might have been a fans-only romp becomes instead a surprisingly touching mosaic of stories about the meanings that people (even Dylan himself) seek so energetically from art and artists.” (Pacific Standard)
“Entertaining . . . While there’s no shortage of Dylan biographies or analyses of his work, The Dylanologists offers an interesting examination of Dylan’s cultlike band of followers who seem to put their lives on hold while dedicating themselves to the performer and his music. Fans will certainly enjoy this book, but so, too, should readers who seek a fascinating examination of a strange subculture.” (The Associated Press)
“Juicy . . . Artfully told . . . The Dylanologists is an often moving chronicle of the ecstasies and depravities of obsession.” (New York Daily News)
“What’s worse, waking up an alcoholic or waking up as the editor of a Bob Dylan fanzine? . . . David Kinney’s The Dylanologists is the best book about music that has nothing to do with music. By holding a mirror up to the obsessives, the completists, the weirdos and the garbologists (those who literally go through Dylan’s bins looking for clues), Kinney provides the final word on the tragi-comedy of intense, unrelenting fandom . . . [and] reveals that Dylan himself is actually a red herring; what Dylanologists are actually after is a meaning in their own lives.” (The Irish Times)
“Outrageous . . . Truly fascinating . . . Perhaps the only thing more inscrutable than Bob Dylan is the cavalcade of misfits and muckrakers that parade through this earnest exploration of the artist’s even more curious brand of devotees. . . . Alternately funny, intriguing, and shocking.” (Kirkus Reviews)
“The Dylanologists is about people who care deeply about Bob Dylan—some obsessively, following him, studying him, as a central and powerful touchstone of meaning and guidance in their lives. Their fixations might seem quaint, even absurd, but David Kinney allows these people their genuine and hard-earned profundity. As we learn about their lives and thoughts, we also learn about Dylan’s, with insights that are compassionate, good-humored, troubling and revelatory, and that feel humane and accurate. This is a valuable and original contribution to the essential literature about a valuable and original artist. It’s also an absolutely pleasurable read.” (Mikal Gilmore, author of Shot in the Heart)
“The Dylanologists is a wonderful book—well written, insightful, and smartly reported. In chronicling Bob Dylan’s fans, David Kinney provides a clear-eyed portrait of the artist and the country that created him.” (Jonathan Eig, author of Luckiest Man)
“We have come to the metafictional stage of Dylan historiography—books not so much about the man as about his fans, his sources, his very relics. Kinney’s is fascinating, from his portrait of a pharmacist who has schemed to purchase not only Dylan’s childhood home but his high chair, to fans who somehow appear in the first row at every show. These are spooky sketches of a fringe culture in the twenty-first century, a world that could only exist because of Bob Dylan.” (Daniel Mark Epstein, author of The Ballad of Bob Dylan)
Praise for The Big One: An Island, an Obsession, and the Furious Pursuit of a Great Fish
“Mr. Kinney … takes up his story with an enthusiasm that more closely resembles that of an embedded war correspondent.” (The Wall Street Journal)
“A rollicking account of the annual striped bass and bluefish derby on Martha’s Vineyard, spiked with the you-are-there view of the beauty, folly, and humanity of the participants. Kinney follows some of the most intriguing personalities, does a bit of fishing, and documents the at-times tricky relationship between the blue-collar derby participants and the well-to-do seasonal residents of the island.” (Forbes)
“Who knew a book about a fishing tournament could be so damn compelling?” (Deadspin)
“Fish fan or not, you will find the narratives and characters in The Big One rich and intriguing and weird and wonderful. A great read and a great tale.” (Susan Orlean New York Times best-selling author of Rin Tin TIn)
“The Big One is a rollicking true story of a grand American obsession. You don’t have to be a fisherman to relish David Kinney’s marvelous account of the annual striper madness on Martha’s Vineyard, or his unforgettable portraits of the possessed. It’s a fine piece of journalism, rich with color and suspense.” (Carl Hiaasen New York Times best-selling author of The Downhill Lie)
“Catching a fish off a Vineyard beach at Derby-time is about as much fun as you can have with waders on, and in The Big One David Kinney nails the chase and captures the thrill. His book is funny, brackish and moving. A keeper.” (Michael Bamberger senior writer, Sports Illustrated)
About the Author
Top Customer Reviews
But this book is different. It talks about the fringe followers - the people who obsess over Bob - who love him, love his work, buy every album and bootleg, follow him on tour, stalk him, collect windows from his boyhood home, possess screws from a Big Pink piano. It is so refreshing to read about real people with real experiences rather than rehashed biographical data and opinions. People who have actually met the man or who live for the next show or cd release. What is interesting to me is how the reader, if he is a Dylan fan, will automatically compare their own suspect behavior to the people in this book. I find myself thinking things like: "Yeah, I've done that" or "I wish I did that" or " That may have been a little much - but I kind of understand".
The author said somewhere that he could have made this book 1000 pages. The biggest compliment I can pay him is to say that I wish that he did.
Kinney writes historically of Dylan: from the shrine of his hometown in Hibbing, MN where fans congregate, early music career and concerts beginning in the 1960's to current times. It was interesting to learn that the historic 1969 Woodstock Festival was planned around a hopeful appearance of Dylan who lived in Woodstock at the time. Dylan's inspiration of Woody Guthrie's music was also noted, as was the folk, country, blues, rockabilly influences.
Dylan has always remained elusive and somewhat mythical to fans, insisting that he wasn't who people thought he was, did not have anything important to say specifically to them beyond what was recorded in his music. He routinely changed his life situations, beliefs, ideas projected to fans, many theorized to "head trip", mess with fans, and avoid being known. He always refused to elaborate or define himself. Dylan, a private person, was overwhelmed by his millions of "strange", obsessed, and "needy" fans who wanted and demanded so much from him. Dylan didn't want to be a spokesperson or responsible for anyone but himself. Throughout the book, his fans consistently made Dylan and his music the center of their universe, this is unlikely to change.
Many thanks to Simon and Schuster for this engaging read from the Goodread's Giveaways.
I think the great message of the book is that we should enjoy the wonderful music that Dylan has given us and allow him his privacy to live a safe and peaceful life.
Most Recent Customer Reviews
This history of the followers and analyzers and writers about Dylan still continues. The Never Ending Tour tours on. Read morePublished 2 days ago by Pen Name
Fast delivery of item as desribes leaves this customer very satisfied! Thanks!Published 1 month ago by Olof Bjorner
So fun! I am a huge Dylan fan but not this huge. It was fun and felt like I shared the experiences. Well written.Published 2 months ago by LG Buchanan
I'm a Bob Dylan fan. I've long loved his music, and many of his songs have been with me for decades, and have guided me through the waves of time. Read morePublished 8 months ago by Kirk McElhearn
Boring tome about the odd fans of Bob. The book is only interesting when it's about that which it's not supposed to be about, i.e., Bob Dylan. Read morePublished 11 months ago by Brad Smith
I love Dylan but I have yet to read a book on him that measures up. I am sure I have missed some. Dylanologists seems to lack a POV. Read morePublished 11 months ago by Stephen C. Rose
I've read tons of books about Bob but this one is really unique. It's interesting and informative. I learned a couple things and after I finished I wish it had been longer. Read morePublished 12 months ago by M. Powers
Overall, this was a solid read. I actually expected it to focus more on the theories of super fans than their individual lives but I think the way it was presented may have been... Read morePublished 13 months ago by William M.