Pat Loughery's Reviews > Riding with Rilke: Reflections on Motorcycles and Books

Riding with Rilke by Ted Bishop
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's review
May 24, 2011

really liked it
bookshelves: library, motorcycling, memoir
Read from May 24 to June 01, 2011

I really enjoyed this one. The author is a college professor of English, specializing in modern literature. He's also a motorcycle enthusiast. The story is the memoir of his ride from Calgary to Austin for a sabbatical research project, and takes on library archives, James Joyce, TS Lawrence, Virginia Wolfe, motorcycle touring, the Ducati brand, and other topics.

It's far deeper on the literature side than the motorcycle side, but it did a good job of describing the love many of us have for motorcycle travel. It introduced me to modernism, and even his descriptions of typefaces and bookbinding - which sounds totally boring - was pretty interesting.

The book is fairly philosophical. Somewhere in the rough genre of Zen and the Art of Motorcycle Maintenance, though I enjoyed this one more (although I last read ZAMM when I was a 20-year-old, so perhaps I should revisit it).

Oh, and the Rilke part of the title was a bit misleading. Rilke's work only shows up late, and in a small snippet. I was disappointed in that, but it didn't ruin the book by any means.

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Reading Progress

05/24/2011 "This might be the perfect book for me! Stumbled on it at library."
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