Review: Bicycle Diaries

Read: Bicycle Diaries by David Byrne
Stars: Four

Drinking: Earl Grey Classic, Fortnum & Mason

Bicycle Diaries is a series of short essays Byrne wrote over the last several decades as he visited cities all over the world, his trusty folding bicycle accompanying him.  I got the ebook from the DC public library thinking it was about bicycling, but the truth is that the bicycle is only the vehicle for Byrne’s experiences.  He does discuss the bike-ability of each city and compares the number of bicycles versus cars and other gas-powered vehicles on the road.  The primary focus of his essays, however, is art and music.

Byrne’s travels to the myriad cities around the world that feature in Diaries are to collaborate with musicians and spend time with artist friends.  He reminisces about the changes in Berlin since he first traveled there in the ’60s and the unique art scene in Manila.  As a musician himself, he writes lyrically and descriptively.

I thoroughly enjoyed Bicycle Diaries, although Byrne’s take on biking and city planning is a little more anti-car than I am.  Certainly cities should be more bike-friendly, especially small cities.  His thoughts on music and art, and what make something “art” were really interesting and reminded me quite a bit of Amanda Palmer. If you are looking for a book of essays, this is a good choice.

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