Since the early 1980s David Byrne has used a bicycle as his primary form of transportation, both at home in New York City and while on tour throughout the world. Initially drawn to cycling by the convenience and sense of liberation it affords, Byrne found that it also provided him with a varied perspective on the world—faster than a walk, slower than a train, often slightly higher than a person.
Byrne began keeping a journal of his observations and insights in every new town he rode through, viewing cities as physical manifestations of our deepest beliefs and often unconscious thoughts. Narrated by Byrne, the Bicycle Diaries audiobook presents these collected accounts alongside original music and location sounds to create an atmosphere more akin to a radio show than a simple reading of a book.
©2009 David Byrne (P)2010 Todomundo, Ltd.
Only my friends who are either big cycling enthusiasts, David Byrne fans, or environmentalists or preferably all three. I did not find it hugely engaging as a story. My mind would wander all too often while listening. I did enjoy learning more about David Byrne whose music and film have intrigued me in the past... more so in my youth and art school period, and was intrigued by the similar values we hold today. Yet, he was like a talking head... meaning like watching someone lecture without many visuals or the ability to be engaging. This is a case where it might do better if someone else were to narrate.
I liked the added bits of music and I enjoyed his voice more so toward the end when he finally relaxed into the reading. His voice seemed rather monotone at times, particularly in the beginning.
Actually I think it was too long and I struggled to the end... a bit like riding up a big hill only to find there was no view once you arrived.
I am an English teacher in China and can now read and write some Chinese.I have been to 13 countries on 4 continents.I am an avid audiophile
I am an avid traveler and immediately thought this book would be a great adventure through different countries.The writer is a musician and tried to use music in some parts,which plays maddeningly during his monologue.I didn't know whether to enjoy the music or listen to what he was saying.The section on Argentina was most interesting to me,but perhaps that is because I am interested in visiting there some day.While the writer talks about cycling it wasn't like he took an epic rides or talked to anyone really engaging on the way.There are much better things you could divest a credit on.
"Byrne as architect"
There's some evidence in David Byrne's music that he is interested in both cities and in world culture, and this is a reflection of those two interests primarily. Chapters are generally about a specific place: LA, Buenos Aires, Istanbul, etc; and generally about biking around although many longer passages relate his experience of performing music. It is what might be expected for a cleaned-up journal of a nerdy guy.
On the balance, Byrne is indulging his interest in the organisation of people into cities and how transport reflects that. There's a good amount of discussion of policy and comparative study of cities. If you're expecting a book on biking, on music, or on Byrne's life, it is none of these. It's more like chatting to Byrne at a cafe about cities and bikes.
Byrne's voice is distinctive and he reads his work well. There are some background effects, mostly at the beginning and end of chapters, but I didn't find it distracting, and presumably it is Byrne's choice to insert it. It's like Radio 4 radio play background sound, not someone talking over music.
If you enjoy cycling as a means of travel, architecture, city organisation, and world travel, you'll enjoy the book. I've done plenty of cycle touring and cycling on holiday but I may now try out David's method of taking a folding bike with me on my next trip.
"Interesting reflection on cycling, cities, people"
For the first 3/4 of the book it is more about the places and people and the bike is merely a means of transport. The last 1/4 was more a discussion of the bike and cycling. I bought the audiobook to see what was said about the cycling but found the cities, art, people and music aspects just as interesting.
A fascinating insight into someone who is a world away from my experiences.
I couldn't finish this book. The background sound effects and music was just too distracting. It's a shame because I was really looking forward to this.
"An OK book"
I am glad I purchased this book but it was not the best I've read or listened to. I found some parts more interesting than others and will definitely keep it so I can pick the good bits out in time to come.
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