She's a Bad Motorcycle: Writers on Riding Paperback – Dec 19 2001
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From Library Journal
The disparate writings gathered here by freelance journalist and motorcycle rider Zanetti include thoughts on the nature of riding, travel narratives, and stories from various segments of motorcycling culture, notably the Hell's Angels. A few are by familiar names, such as Tom Wolfe and Hunter Thompson, and some are a pleasure to read, as is a lyrical piece from Melissa Holbrook Pierson. Aside from the references to motorcycles, however, Zanetti's choice of pieces seems arbitrary in both selection and organization. A large number of them are extracted from much longer works, losing context and perhaps even sense. In the selection from Robert Pirsig's Zen and the Art of Motorcycle Maintenance, for example, the reader will have no understanding of the references to Phaedrus and why the difference between "classic" and "romantic" is so important. Background notes about the writers and the works from which pieces have been excerpted would have been helpful. Despite some interesting material, the book as a whole contributes little to the history and culture of this compelling machine. David Van de Streek, Pennsylvania State Univ. Libs., York
Copyright 2002 Cahners Business Information, Inc.
"[Y]ou're sure to find one entry in this free-wheeling anthology on biker culture that'll get your motor running." -- Maxim Magazine
Geno Zanetti offers a must-read . . . many of the best books ever written on motorcycles are excerpted here. -- Andy Solomon, Times, March 17, 2002
Top Customer Reviews
But there's far too much chaff with this wheat. About half of the chapters in this collection waste space on Hell's Angels and related gangery, much of which is bad fiction, dull fact, or has nothing to do with motorcycles. The lone standout is Sonny Barger's chapter which really is classic.
In the end, I think this book's value is twofold -- 1) you get perspective on the variety of riders, their perspectives, and their writing styles, and 2) it suggests further sources of motorcycle literature. But because the caliber of contributions perhaps befittingly matches the lack of sophistication or maturity of many bikers, I suggest that you borrow a copy (or buy used) and then do a lot of skimming.
The writing styles and quality are as varied and diverse as motorcycle riders and the bikes we ride. Its not surprising that the book starts with a piece from Melissa Holbrook-Pierson's The Perfect Vehicle. She is able to describe the indescribable nuances about riding in a fluid, poetic and natural style. If you love motorcycles, do yourself a favor and buy The Perfect Vehicle. It's not without its flaws, but so well-written, the flaws are easy to overlook (which is more than I can say for a lot of writers.)
After reading a segment from Robert Fulton's One Man Caravan, I ordered the book because I couldn't get enough of his tales of derring-do during the 1930s.
For those who aren't into motorcycles, there are basically two types of motorcyclists. Harley-Davidsons and everyone else. I would fall under the 'everyone else' category. To me, motorcycling is like religion. Not everyone is into the same thing, but I totally respect people's choices. It's what makes the world go 'round. However, not being of the Harley faith, I found the piece by Hell's Angel pioneer, Sonny Barger to be OUTSTANDING. In the too short chapter of the book, Sonny bares a surprising amount of his soul with funny, insightful and intelligent writing. It has given me a new perspective on Harley riders.
Buried in the back of the book is a piece by Rachel Kushner which briefly chronicles her adventures racing in Baja. I was so intrigued, as soon as I finished it, I reread it.Read more ›
Most recent customer reviews
What a crock!Either this editor doesn't ride or he just doesn't get it.This compilation of stories about "riding" misses the mark... Read morePublished on Jan. 7 2004
**** - I enjoyed the stories of the clubs, world travelers and riders. Each story has its own flavor lent by the people, time and place which made it alot of fun to "ride along". Read morePublished on June 6 2002
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