I had some interest in the motorcycle riders, as I used to ride a scooter, and was in two clubs. But I was young and we were innocents, comparatively....moreI had some interest in the motorcycle riders, as I used to ride a scooter, and was in two clubs. But I was young and we were innocents, comparatively. While they have strict rules such as the order of riders on a bike ride, or run, we were mostly unencumbered by such rules. They want to be free but are restrictive in their actions, everything must be approved by the higher ups in the organization. Their business was mainly illegal, while most of us still lived at home with our parents, although I didn’t; I had a job, went to school, lived a fairly “normal” life.
To quote: “Their individuality is confined by a rigid conformity, ride the same brand of bike, wear the same clothes, abide the same rules. The irony is the lifestyle and appearance is clearly set up in opposition to us who live straight lives, but they are hardly distinguishable from one another.”
I found some resonance with this, with my past, the scooter days. We rode Vespas or Lambrettas only, wore similar clothing, listened to certain music, but we liked to think how individual we were. Perhaps in a group of kids our age one of us would stand out, yes, I know I did look different, but collectively we looked quite similar. When we grouped together for rides en masse it might have been hard to distinguish one kid from another. That’s about where the comparisons end. Now I know how much more freedom we really had when put side by side to these life-long bikers.
Gang activity was not what I nor my friends were into, but the ATF undercover (the primary author) was searching for that, and during his investigation got carried away where all he wanted was to become a bonafide Hells Angel himself. Of course it would have been not quite true, as he was undercover and his cover was being an illegal gun dealer, and debt collector which was false, and the killing that would get him his “cut” or patch was faked as well. The more I got into the story the more I saw how very different my experience with scooters were compared to these motorcycle guys. We had a few occasions to be harassed by cops and mostly laughed about it, although it could be annoying at times, particularly when interrupting an organized ride. Learning about this story I have a new appreciation of what a biker gang looked like on the other side. The book was interesting, not told in the best manner, still decent enough. The undercover ATF Dobyns acknowledges his story would have not been as it was without the co-author, but it still could have been told better. Despite that it was fascinating and I learned more about hard-core riders. (less)
Not sure I'll get back to this one, so marking as partial read. The author is too self indulgent in his life story and doesn't provide much of anythin...moreNot sure I'll get back to this one, so marking as partial read. The author is too self indulgent in his life story and doesn't provide much of anything for the reader. Seems mostly like something he wrote for himself, to work out some of his problems. Doesn't feel like it's going anywhere either, that he's attempting at any resolution or growth.(less)
Roughing It was an interesting book with a mixture of some dull parts, and many unbelievable tales. Mark Twain lives up to his reputation of being a b...moreRoughing It was an interesting book with a mixture of some dull parts, and many unbelievable tales. Mark Twain lives up to his reputation of being a bit of an exaggerator. In this supposed autobiography of his adventures traveling to the West and the time he spent there, he puts the exaggeration on other folks. The book is more a series of essays of individual stories of interesting events that happened, but could these things really happened? Perhaps it did, but likely not exactly. Take the one where there's a group out hunting buffalo. They run across a bull and this one fellow ends up telling how the bull chased him up a tree, then came up the tree. Twain even remarks how the fellows don't believe this guy, but the man swears it happened and they weren't there to see it, so how can they say otherwise? Thus it isn't Twain who is exaggerating, but this other guy. We see this pattern with Twain over and over(less)
I didn’t think I’d read this book, well of course at first I thought I would. I borrowed a copy from the library, an eBook so it was on a short loan b...moreI didn’t think I’d read this book, well of course at first I thought I would. I borrowed a copy from the library, an eBook so it was on a short loan but wasn’t sure there would be enough time to read it all before the due date. So I just started reading a little to see if it was something I would want to get my hands on right away, or if it could wait. The beginning made me doubt reading it through anytime soon. The author spent most of the first 50 or so pages on how difficult it was after her mom died after getting lung cancer. Since I’m going through the same (but handling it much differently!) I wasn’t sure I could manage the book right now. I cried but carried on, and she finally started to write about the trail and her experiences, instead of primarily her life before hand. I understand why she framed the book this way, it provides the readers a reason why a young woman went on a very long hike alone. But I enjoyed reading more about the trail and the hiking and the experiences she had, then the lead up. Maybe it just wasn’t interwoven fluidly enough. Some passages between the past and the trail hiking present (which in reality was about 18 years in the past) was a little disjointed as well. In the end I read the book fairly quickly, in its entirety and before it was due back to the library. Not as good as I hoped, but decent enough in the end. (less)