The Complete Idiots Guide to the Ultimate Reading List discussion

Chapter 17: Travel > Zen and the Art of Motorcycle Maintenance; An Injury into Values by Robert M. Pirsig- *book club selection - may contain spoilers*

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message 2: by W. (new)

W. This book is one of my list.
Hope to have time to read it soon.:)



message 3: by Eva (new)

Eva yaaay, it's on my bookshelf and i've never read it. looking forward to it :)

message 4: by Sunflower (new)

Sunflower | 33 comments Holy crap! This book is hard work- I did read it years ago, so wondering whether the re-read is worth the effort...nearly half way though. Personally think that putting it in the Travel section is a bit misleading-though the travelling bits are some of the most readable. The preachy/philosophy/exploration of his past psychiatric illness bits are much less so.

message 5: by MJ, Idiot's Top libriarian (new)

MJ | 1332 comments Mod
I started reading this book but I am having a hard time getting into it. I am going to put it down and try it again later.

message 6: by EJ (new)

EJ Johnson | 21 comments This book should be titled: "Persig's Ego Trip Surrounded by Lots of Gobbly-Gook and a Few Minute Nuggets of Wisdom." In my opinion, it was not worth the time it took to read. I forced myself to finish but really wish I had used my precious reading time for better things. It sounds like the motorcycle/camping/hiking trip could have been fun. Since I am familiar with some of the areas they were in, I enjoyed reading about them. I also thought it interesting how Persig used motorcycle maintenance/riding and the trip to illustrate his points. However, toward the end he had way too many metaphors going at once. Sometimes three in one sentence. I was not impressed with his parenting skills at all. He should have taken some time to study 11 year old boy's normal behavior and been more loving and accepting of Chris. Chris' fate was certainly sad and tragic. (I was really pulling for him to be alright.) But the most tragic thing was probably Nell. Imagine growing up being told you are someone else. I wonder if she has had a sex change yet? I did learn about Chautauquas. We have a park by that name in our town. I thought it was just a Native American name. Now I know that our railroad town was on the Chautauqua circuit. To summarize I state again that this was not worth the time it takes to read it. Pirsig's own observation that the book just happened to be published at the right time to be accepted--right after the socially upsetting sixties when people were grabbing anything other than traditions to give meaning to life--seems true. To end positively, there was one statement I agree with: "A person who cares about what he sees and does is a person who's bound to have some characteristics of Quality."

message 7: by EJ (new)

EJ Johnson | 21 comments Barbara, I agree. I think we can find ideas for quality in lots of places that are more enjoyable than this book, too.

message 8: by Sunflower (last edited Oct 28, 2009 04:12PM) (new)

Sunflower | 33 comments I just finished re-reading this, and am sorry I bothered. It just made me angry. Loved EJ's re-title, which I think is very apt. I gave it one star. If I have to read the word chautaqua ever again, I am going to scream!
How did it get into a book titled "the Ultimate Reading List"? Purely on the sales when it first came out?

message 9: by EJ (new)

EJ Johnson | 21 comments I have to admit I still like the word Chautaqua. The book I read was a 25th Anniversary edition and had an afterward written after Chris' death and then a foreword written for the anniversary. In the foreword, Persig explained that Phaedras was never insane, it was the narrator who was off. One evidence being that he said early on in the book that he (the narrator) hadn't had a new thought in years. Obviously 25 yrs after publication, Persig still was obsessed with his own ideas.

message 10: by Sunflower (new)

Sunflower | 33 comments Barbara wrote: "Sunflower - I think that the simple fact that so many people have read this book makes this something for an "Ultimate" reading list - but I guess it should be a long list if it is included. :)

You know, I would have agreed with you after the first time I read it, in the 70's. I might have even agreed with your 4 stars at that point in my life, but things change. Life happens. And now the self-centredness bothers me. But at least it is generating discussion, and that can't be a bad thing.

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