Monthly Archives: February 2006

riding with rilke

by: ted bishop
Riding With Rilke - Ted Bishop

as the subtitle suggests this book deals with riding and books, in an equal measure. i heard an interview with ted bishop on cbc, which brought me to a bookstore for further insight.

the moment i opened to the first page i knew i was leaving with a copy. the first thing my eyes set on was the table of contents – first chapter: why a duc?

i headed straight for the checkout, and as i set the book on the counter the merchant explained for several minutes how mr. bishop had taught his literature class at the university of alberta, and had introduced him to many of his now favourite books.

i started to get a bit of an author-crush as i left the store.

the book is divided in three. the first section deals with riding a ducati motorcycle to texas. the reasons for the method of travel and the reasons for the destination are explored creatively and thoroughly. the third section brings the author and the book home.

bishop quickly triggered my boyhood love of motorcycles and drew me into his adventure. i’m sure a contributing factor to my headfirst dive into his experience is that we share the same city of residence, so his perceptions and bias were easy lenses to look through. nevertheless, by the time ted was on the road, i was glad i was along for the journey.

after the book travels to texas the reason for the destination comes to the forefront and the style and substance of the book shifts to a more scholarly, opinion-driven style. it is no less interesting, but is a marked shift in pace and tone.

the middle section wanders through a few different styles, and near the end of the writing adventure it begins to feel as though the story is about to morph into a spy novel.

the third section eases into the familiar travel style of the first section, and finishes off the book and the trip with a climax that almost feels fictitious.

you should pick up a copy and read it yourself. an entertaining read from a strong canadian author.