Monday, December 17, 2012

Conversations, A Book Review

Jack Riepe impresses me all the time with the quality of his writing. I remember laughing very hard at one the first stories I ever read by him. If you've ever read much of his blog , "Twisted Roads", then I'm sure you know what I am talking about.

I was lucky to get an early copy (#117 of 200) of his book, "Conversations With A Motorcycle". It arrived in a brown paper wrapper, the intention of which was most likely to protect the innocent. Probably a good idea.

I opened the package with a little bit of trepidation, wondering what I would find inside. Because Jack wrote it, I expected it to be good.

And it was! Very Good!

Now, because of the name, you might assume that the book is about a person, possibly a little bit crazy, engaged in oral discourse with his motorcycle, an inanimate object not actually capable of the spoken word. And there's some of that in there. Turns out that the Kawasaki might just be the smartest character in the book.

And you might assume that the book is about motorcycles. And it is, in part.

And since Jack wrote it, it would be pretty safe to conclude that there might be a lot of references to pillion riders, hot women, cigars, adolescent male fantasies and various forms of debauchery that we all know that Jack can be capable of. And you'd be right about that too.

But you might not expect to see Pirsig-like statements of motorcycle philosophy. And yet it's there, and it's accurate and thoughtful and poignant and, yes, even romantic.

Jack is a master at description. At one point he is describing a ride in some fog, then stopping the Kawasaki and shutting off the engine. I could picture in my mind exactly what he was describing. I was right there with him experiencing the same sensations of silence in the fog only interrupted by the ticking noise of the metal in the engine as it cooled.

Then there was the description of emotions of being jilted by a woman, accidentally running into her and her new boyfriend a few days later, wanting to beat the crap out of him, all the while knowing that an altercation could only end badly. Again, the reader is right there, sucked into the moment.

But I don't think I need to say a lot more. I just want to say I thoroughly enjoyed the book and recommend it to anybody, particularly those people of a motorcycle type of persuasion.

You need to get yourself a copy. Look for what I described in this review. In particular, I suggest you find "Riepe's 1st and 2nd Principles of Moto Aggravation".

This book did not disappoint!

I give it 5 Stars out of 5!

Tuesday, December 4, 2012

Walking, Reading & Thinking (maybe not simultaneously)

It was a good day to walk. Maybe a bit chilly, but not bad. And you know what happens when I am walking. I usually do some thinking. And today I was even thinking about Reading (while walking).

The sun had just risen making for an extra long shadow.

Remember Pirsig?  Sure you do

Well I ran across a news article about him recently. Here's the link.

Seems that Pirsig (now 84 years old) is due to receive an honorary doctorate from Montana State University. I think that's pretty nice. Not sure what you might think of his famous book "Zen and the Art of Motorcycle Maintenance", but it sure is an interesting read. To me, parts of the book are sort of strange, other parts absolutely fantastic.

It has been a couple of years since I have read the book. I know many people that say they read it every couple of years or so, just to remind themselves of .....  well, whatever important ideas they see in the book, which seems to vary from person to person. (Thinking I might need to pull it off the shelf and re-read it)

I've been reading a lot this year. Lots of longer books also. I re-read "The Hobbitt" and Tolkien's "Lord of the Rings" trilogy. I had looked at a BBC top 100 list and picked out a few books from that list including Pullman's "His Dark Materials" (also a trilogy) and some others. I also looked at a Sci-Fi top 100 list and am currently reading "Ender's Game" by Orson Scott Card.

But a new reading task has presented itself to me, that being Jack Riepe's new Book "Conversations With a Motorcycle"

Picture borrowed (stolen)  from the "Twisted Roads" website. Think Jack will mind?

I feel a book report coming on soon. I received my copy over the last weekend and have read just a few pages so far. But, so far,  I like what I see very much and am anxious to read more. So look for a review to come up in this blog soon.

Ahhh, Technology. I used to have  a "Nook", that Barnes and Noble E-Reader. But it died a painful death a while back, so I have resorted to downloading the Barnes and Noble App to my iPhone and been reading some of my books on the iPhone. It's a little small, but very doable. I also recently received a Kindle book as a gift, so I downloaded the Kindle App to the iPhone and been reading from that App also.

Remember when books were books? Well, I haven't totally abandoned the print version. My copy of Tolkien is on paper. And Jack's new book is in paper form. I don't mind an actual book as opposed to an E-Reader. There's another book I have been wanting to read, but haven't yet simply because it doesn't come in an E-book format. I guess I will have to just buy the paper copy, or get it from the local library, but I doubt they will have it. Sometimes getting the book in E-book format is just really very easy. I probably haven't physically stepped into the local Barnes and Noble store in almost a year.

So anyway, that is some of what I was thinking about this morning as I walked. Last week I rode Max to work on 3 of the 5 days. This week, I'll get some riding in as well, but today I felt the urge to walk.
Ride On and Carpe Diem, my friends.