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The Portable Henry Rollins

3.99  ·  Rating Details ·  1,366 Ratings  ·  87 Reviews
In his twelve books, Henry Rollins has led us on a hallucinatory journey through the decades - and his mind - with poems, essays, short stories, diary entries, and rants that exist at "the frayed edges where reality ends and imagination begins" (Publishers Weekly). For the first time, the best of his legendary, no-holds-barred writing are available. This collection include ...more
Hardcover
Published January 1st 1998 by Villard Books (first published January 1st 1997)
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Community Reviews

(showing 1-30)
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Andy
Jul 09, 2008 Andy rated it liked it  ·  review of another edition
Recommends it for: aspirin eaters
Meathead renaissance man Henry Rollins swings up and down like a see-saw. Once he wins you over with a great piece about asshole bouncers he blows it by telling us "Madonna makes me want to drink beer". Um, nope, Madonna makes me want to puke, Henry. He's got some wild lines about deformed suburbanites from the South Bay, but then he blows it by talking about animal torture. Oh well, I hear Madonna's available again, Henry. Go for it.
Vache
Mar 09, 2014 Vache rated it it was amazing  ·  review of another edition
Henry Rollins is my savior. I understood Henry Rollins before I understood myself. I picked this book because it contains excerpts from many of Rollins' other books. I have read Get In The Van by Rollins and that book saved my life. I respect Henry Rollins very much. He is a very smart man. My favorite quote from the book is: “I'll never forget how the depression and loneliness felt good and bad at the same time. Still does.” I love this quote because it so true and I can relate to it very well. ...more
Gabriel Strange
At times there were shimmers of something good to read. The writing quickly got old fast however.

Now don't get me wrong, I am a fan of Mr.Rollin's music and spoken word. I find both excellent and equally honest and gritty.

With this book however, it was too much of a "WELCOME TO MY SICK SAD WORLD" and whether or not it holds true to the author himself, I could care less. It was overall just a monotonous experience. With the one track mind Henry has shown through his poetry, diary entries etc over
...more
Laura
Aug 27, 2007 Laura rated it it was amazing  ·  review of another edition
Recommends it for: any fan of first person stories or journal-esque writing.
As terribly and horrible cliche as this will sound- this book was one of my main saving graces through high school. In a time when emo wasn't cool and you were a jock or you were no one, this book of personal lash-outs taught me that there really is more to life than a designer label.

Yeah, Rollins can be a pansy, but who isn't? All of his books are just little glances into his mind at that given time. There's no grand plot, there's no happy ending. It's raw. I like that.

I've read this book sever
...more
West Mack
Good. I liked Rollins in Black Flag but jumped ship on him with Rollins Band, then came back when i got into his spoke word. Portable.. is pretty much a compalation of every book of anything hed written prior to. i liked it, the short stories the most (The Iron), but i could only stand it for about 30min at a time. After that i either wanted to break something or assault a cop.
Matt
Aug 08, 2007 Matt rated it it was ok  ·  review of another edition
This was my first taste of what a terrible writer Rollins is. I love the guy. I love his honesty and it's this that tries to salvage his "writing". It's as if he was satisfied with the way he wrote in middle school and decided that he didn't need to improve, just to tell the truth.

Go get'em Henry!
Angela Wade
Mar 03, 2009 Angela Wade rated it really liked it  ·  review of another edition
Shelves: stand-up
He just GETS it.
Heather
Picked this up from the library because it had Henry Rollins face on the cover and I can't resist anything Rollins-related. So I went into it not knowing that it was a collection of all of his works.

At first, I was a little bummed, but in the end it ended up working out really well. I love Henry, love his music, love his writing, love his spoken word, but I'm not the hugest fan of poetry. I need something that keeps me turning pages, dying to know what happens next. Poetry doesn't do it for me.
...more
David
Dec 28, 2008 David rated it really liked it  ·  review of another edition
This was the first Rollins book I read. I loved his music and wanted to give his books a try. I loved the short, terse entries. Each filled with gems of advice and wisdom, or just rantings and ravings.
lk05321
May 31, 2008 lk05321 rated it really liked it  ·  review of another edition
A fresh look at the realities of life as told through the man who's lived a harsh life, Henry Rollins.
Dana
Oct 22, 2008 Dana rated it really liked it  ·  review of another edition
I love you, Henry, that's all I can say. I read this after finding his shows on IFC and wanting more.
Patrick
Jan 19, 2008 Patrick rated it it was ok  ·  review of another edition
Shelves: summer-1999-2000
I don't really like Rollins in printed form, although his spoken-word is quickly becoming the only thing I can relate to.
Katie
Aug 22, 2008 Katie rated it it was amazing  ·  review of another edition
Excerpts from most of his books. He is a pretty intense guy, I am surprised I really liked it. He's kinda a man-child, but honest if nothing else.
space
May 15, 2007 space rated it did not like it  ·  review of another edition
are you fucking kidding me?
Rainey
There is nothing as raw and honest as Rollins' writing. This was the first I picked up, and it tore me apart.
Snem
Jan 06, 2017 Snem rated it it was ok  ·  review of another edition
I am a huge fan of Henry Rollins' music and spoken word so I was really eager to read this collection of assorted pieces of his writing throughout the years. There were some great moments in here. "Get in the Van" and the article about weight-training were great. I enjoyed the honesty when describing the loneliness and depression of touring.

This is angry, aggressive, gritty, raw and violent. There are no plots, no story arcs, so much rambling. It was just really tough to enjoy and every essay s
...more
Tuxlie
Jul 09, 2015 Tuxlie marked it as to-read  ·  review of another edition

Henry Rollins is an artist whose legendary, no-holds-barred performances encompasses music, acting, and written and spoken word. As Details magazine said when it named Rollins the 1994 Man of the Year: "through two decades of rage and discipline, Henry Rollins has transformed himself from an L.A. punk rocker into a universal soldier. His enemies: slackers and hypocrites. His mission: to steel your soul and rock your world."

Rollins was frontman for the seminal punk band Black Flag, and since 19

...more
Melanie
Oct 09, 2012 Melanie rated it it was amazing  ·  review of another edition
My love for my non-friend Henry Rollins has taken me to some rather dubious places. As a non-friend, I’ve endured steamy love letters to Ann Coulter, which despite my ability to perceive the tongue-in-cheek sentiment and extreme dislike of the obnoxious subject, had my inner feminist glowering in suspicion. I have watched him stamp his cloven hoof on my nations beloved Willy Coyote, Narduwar, in what I can only describe as one of the more horrific moments of incivility I have witnessed on Canadi ...more
Hal
Nov 19, 2013 Hal rated it really liked it  ·  review of another edition
3.5 is my more accurate rating, but I figured I'd round that up to a 4.

This book is an overview of Henry Rollins' work, taking excerpts from a number of his works.

It's difficult to give a specific review because the book itself jumps between many points in Rollins' life. I'll distinguish between the three main "segments" of the book. His own thoughts, ramblings, and musings; his life experiences in LA and his experiences touring, and his short stories and poems.

For the first part: the book can
...more
Andrew Galante
Feb 16, 2017 Andrew Galante rated it really liked it  ·  review of another edition
Just don't read this on overnight shift at 3 am.
East Bay J
Jul 11, 2010 East Bay J rated it it was ok  ·  review of another edition
Shelves: music-bios
To be honest, I find that I'm burned out on Rollins. This isn't to say that there weren't several pieces of writing in Portable that I enjoyed. I, too, have felt the honest, painful revulsion at witnessing the ignorance and inhumanity of my fellow humans, felt the outrage, the disbelief. It's just that Henry's so unhappy, so insulated. It strikes me that Rollins has chosen what might be thought of as the easy way out. This goes against the rhetoric he himself has set up in his writing but, reall ...more
Monk
Aug 17, 2007 Monk rated it really liked it  ·  review of another edition
Recommends it for: Nihilists, Angry People
Shelves: poetryessays
Hank Rollins is an Angry Man. Have you ever thought about being angry for a living? Hank has, and he's never looked back.

This is acollection of Henry Rollin's written works. They are unpolished, simple, visceral. They are mostly bits of scribblings and writings while on the road, they come from all sorts of times in his life, which is full to the brim of things that are shockingly graphic, maudlin, melancholy and, well, angry.

Despite his lack of any kind of writing training, what he writes is ra
...more
Mark
Apr 24, 2013 Mark rated it it was ok  ·  review of another edition
Over the years I have enjoyed Henry Rollins work with Black Flag, his independent projects, and his spoken word albums/performances. However, this collection of his writings from many of his books was so unremittingly grim it was difficult for me to get through it.

I confess, I have written my share of angst ridden poetry and journal entries. But Mr. Rollins comes off as so suicidal, misanthropic and joyless that it's amazing he hasn't already pulled the trigger to quell his endless misery.

I can'
...more
Dave
Mar 01, 2015 Dave rated it it was ok  ·  review of another edition
HR is a shocking bad writer. He has an occasional great insight or rambling. The tours shake down as follows: Being on the road is hard and miserable…when will this anguish be over, then followed up with being restless at home and going back on the road. Much of his writings are grumblings and conplaints admixed with tough guy posings. The weight lifting chapter was great, however.
“Portable” was advertised as a “good adventure story, about brave people with convictions and diminished social sk
...more
Pewterbreath
Almost painfully straightforward, Henry Rollins has his own corner in writing, which is quite rare for a musician. He generally describes the dregs of society and the darker thoughts, but he has some room for nicer things too in that world. He has an improvisational style of writing, very jazz-like, settling on images for a while before wandering off to another one, which makes this book more of a flip through and read what catches your eye sort of thing than reading everything in some sort of o ...more
Scott Isaacs
Jan 18, 2013 Scott Isaacs rated it really liked it  ·  review of another edition
I really wish someone had shoved some Rollins into my hands back in high school...I could have used a hero back then. As it is, I'm reading it 20 years too late...but still enjoying the hell out of it. Rollins is brilliant and twisted. Not for the faint of heart, and not meant to be digested all at once, but very worthy. Some of his poetry can be extremely disturbing, and he is an incredibly intense character, but that's his appeal. A few glimmers of humor shine through here and there, but it's ...more
Jamie
Sep 09, 2009 Jamie rated it liked it  ·  review of another edition
Not what I was expecting...thought this was going to be more of an autobiography, but it's much more than that. He is definitely angry as a young man. Some of the book confused me - probably because I know nothing about Henry Rollins, Black Flag or Rollins Band. Some of the writing is great, some is strange (couldn't tell if certain parts were real or imagined). I like the Solipsist section the best-some of what he described there really spoke to me. (I think if I were to read any other Rollins, ...more
GoMonroy
Jan 03, 2011 GoMonroy rated it it was amazing  ·  review of another edition
Great compilation of Rollins' work. Ranging from the early works of the Black Coffee Blues -a classic by itself- to Solipsist. Going from short tales, to running diaries on the road with Black Flag. To recall, Rollins was the vocalist and frontman of the extinct hardcore punk seminal metal band of the 80's. Other essays are included, such as the Iron, which was published originally for a body building magazine. Insightful through the whole range of emotions that we all experienced but seldom tal ...more
Mental Jacket
Oct 23, 2016 Mental Jacket rated it it was amazing  ·  review of another edition
You can get What you want. Never sell out. Dont break. Dont weaken. Dont let the kindness of strangers be your salvation, for it is no salvation at all. Unless you sleep alone, you sleep with the Enemy. Never come out of the storm. On the other hand, you should. You dont have what it takes to go the hard way. Come out of the cold and sit by the fire. Let them warm you with smiles and the promise of friendships fortune. Lose your edge. A soft body and a Chained mind suit you. Chances are you dont ...more
Kelli
Sep 28, 2012 Kelli rated it it was amazing  ·  review of another edition
This book was more than amazing. When I finally met Henry, he signed it and commented on why the book wasn't smaller. I told him it was great and I enjoyed reading it. Combine this book with meeting the actual Henry, you will love him more. He's wonderful and his writing is just...I have no words. I could relate on a lot of levels and he revealed so much that I think many people would have a hard time talking about themselves. I admire that. The man is smart and witty and deep. I hope even if no ...more
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Henry Rollins (born Henry Lawrence Garfield; often referred to simply as Rollins) is an American singer-songwriter, spoken word artist, author, actor and publisher.

After joining the short-lived Washington, D.C. band State of Alert in 1980, Rollins fronted the Californian hardcore punk band Black Flag from 1981 until 1986. Following the band's breakup, Rollins soon established the record label and
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“It hurts to let go. Sometimes it seems the harder you try to hold on to something or someone the more it wants to get away. You feel like some kind of criminal for having felt, for having wanted. For having wanted to be wanted. It confuses you, because you think that your feelings were wrong and it makes you feel so small because it's so hard to keep it inside when you let it out and it doesn't coma back. You're left so alone that you can't explain. Damn, there's nothing like that, is there? I've been there and you have too. You're nodding your head.” 5630 likes
“I'll never forget how the depression and loneliness felt good and bad at the same time. Still does.” 1222 likes
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