"Everybody knows by now that there's a gazillion books on me either out or coming out in the near future. So I'm encouraging anybody who's ever met me, heard me or even seen me, to get in on the action and scribble their own book. You never know, somebody might have a great book in them" Bob Dylan, “To my fans and followers”, 13 May 2011I'm a sucker for intelligent and thoughtful books about Bob Dylan. (see previous posts here and here).
Sadly a lot of the books written about Bob Dylan that I have read are disappointing, just turning over the same material.
Some exceptions worth reading are Dylan's own biography, Chronicles: Volume One ; Suze Rotolo A Freewheelin Time; A Memoir of Greenwich Village in the Sixties; Mike Marqusee Wicked Messenger: Bob Dylan and the 1960's; Michael Gray, Song and Dance Man 111: The Art of Bob Dylan; Michael Gray, The Bob Dylan Encylopedia.
So when I saw Daniel Mark Epstein's newbook The Ballad of Bob Dylan on display at my local library I was skeptical, but I had read some good reviews (like this one) so the book has come home with me. One reviwer says this about Epstein"s book:
Written for any level of fan, by capturing Dylan's humanity and humanness, and by demystifying the icon, Epstein has succeeded where most Bob Dylan biographies fail. Rather than perpetuate them, he has rubbed out the fantasies and squashed the nostalgia, framing Dylan as one of us.
Dylan also has a new album titled Tempest due for release in September 2012.