Monday, September 08, 2008

Zen's Cyclist

This Wall Street Journal article on a new book about Zen and the Art of Motorcycle Maintenance sparked a lot of memories, but one stood out:

I didn't swoon over the original book.

A friend had recommended it. As a cyclist, he enjoyed many of the descriptions of the open road. I could understand those passages. The overall thrust of the book was what I missed. Even back then, I felt the descriptions of the relationship with the son were a tad too personal to put in a book, but that was a side-issue. The main irritation came from being baffled about what made the book such a big seller.

This may, of course, be my fault. You read a book at one point and miss the beauty that is found upon a second reading. I may give it another try although there is the lingering suspicion that "Zen and the Art..." was always the beneficiary of media-generated hype; a more sophisticated version of "Love is never having to say you are sorry."

If you saw something deeper, I sincerely would like to know what it is.


DarkoV said...

Along with Gary Zukav's Dancing Wu Li Masters and Douglas Hofstadter's GOEDEL, ESCHER, BACH: AN ETERNAL GOLDEN BRAID, Persig's tome made up the triumverate of Thick Reading of the post-High School years for me.

Oh, how I wish it was The Gospel of the Flying Spaghetti Monster that I had in my late teenage intense years. The former three tomes had nary a joke, a pun, even a jape within their all too serious pages. What's a belief system or well told story without some humor. What little I took from the three books, I then inflicted on my friends without respite. Why my friends didn't tar and feather me is an indications of how off the deep end I must have struck them as being.

Gawd! Nothing worse than an overly serious pedantic teenager! Wonder why I didn't get 2X4'ed with my Three Volumes of Deep Thought.

Michael Wade said...


That is funny! There's nothing like a teenager who's figured it all out.