I have been reading Bob Dylan's 'Chronicles'.
This is not a celebrity autobiography ghosted by a professional writer. Dylan can write. The style is engaging.
Bob Dylan was an early favorite of mine. I never thought much of his voice or harmonica playing, but his words were new and courageous and his tunes catchy. In the book he tells us that he never wanted to be a leader of the protest movement of the 1960s. He was a perfomer and a song writer - who cared what he thought about politics. Too bad that modern celebrities don't follow his example. Actors who have appeared in a TV series or singers who have made a hit record are supposed to have been endowed with superior wisdom on the merits of teh death penalty or the Iraq invasion. Says who?
I suppose he could be accused of name dropping, but after all he is more famous than most of the names he drops. His narrative is full of facts and sometimes the minute detail is tedious, but in a funny sort of way he paints a picture of what it was like to be a young singer in New York. Folk singing was an arcane art that shied away from commercial records. Dylan admires all types of music from Sinatra to Neil Diamond to Woody Guthrie and Leadbelly and even Beethoven. There is no clear timeline in this book. We skip from the young man who hitched across from the mid-west to New York admiring the humdrum with wide open eyes, to the married man with five children trying to find something new in a recording studio in New Orleans. Its line is thematic not chronologic.
I guess he's a grandfather now. The fresh-faced youngster of the record sleeve is long gone. The tone of the book is experience, but now and then the innocent ingenue appears