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10 Books on Bob Dylan (Pt. 2)

Part 2

Bob Dylan is one of the most versatile singers in all of human history. He has an ever-changing voice and a timeless style. He's a man who has been in nearly every genre of music, perfected the art of lyricism and who has created a myth and a legend around himself—all whilst doing other ventures as well as music. There is no doubt about it that Bob Dylan is an incredibly hard-working man with a legacy that will never fade away. There are hundreds of books out there on Bob Dylan, some are clearly better than others but all of them have their own take on various aspects of the Dylan myth. 

There's books on the Freewheelin' Era, the Gospel Era, the Rolling Thunder Revue, the post-2000 Era, the famed Blonde on Blonde album, the writing behind his religious imagery and even the different decades in which his music took over most every other artist out there. Bob Dylan has innumerable sides and innumerable personalities, it is impossible to measure his impact. 

If you want to read more then please visit part one of this series, "10 Books on Bob Dylan." But it is never too late to start reading about Bob Dylan and there is so much to read as well. The man is an everlasting legend, a timeless character of music and the embodiment of lyricism. Let's explore ten more books about Bob Dylan. 

10. "A Freewheelin' Time" by Suze Rotolo

  • Pages: 384
  • Recommended for the list by @venetianblonde on Twitter. 

This book was written by the stunning Suze Rotolo, Bob Dylan's beautiful muse and a very intelligent woman in her own right. She penned one of the most beautiful books about Greenwich Village in the 1960s, including her ex-boyfriend, Bob Dylan on the action and the change that was happening during this time. Her romanticised version of the 1960s has moments of darkness at the rising fame of Bob Dylan and her worries during this time. It is a clear portrait of a woman who didn't want the fame and fortune that came from being a muse. A pioneer of biographical writing, I believe that this is one of the most important books about the time, place and in separating the man from the myth. 

9. "Positively 4th Street: The Lives and Times of Joan Baez, Bob Dylan, Mimi Baez Farina and Richard Farina" by David Hajdu

  • Pages: 336
  • Recommended for the list by @barberville on Twitter. 

This is one of those books that really kicks in the want to live with these guys in the 60s. This book explores the lives of four young wannabe beatniks at a time where counterculture was becoming popular and on the rise were these folk singers as well. We see the blend between activism and music, between folk and rock and between who we consider friends and who we don't. It's an excellent book for learning about the context and the beginnings of this movement. I personally really enjoyed it though my copy is tattered because I bought it secondhand. The quality of the maintenance of the book really doesn't change the amazing stuff that's inside, believe me. 

8. "Bob Dylan: The Never Ending Star" by Lee Marshall

  • Pages: 300
  • Recommended for the list by @MarcusMarsden on Twitter.

Bob Dylan is one of the most iconic singers and songwriters in all of human history. This book explains exactly why. Bob Dylan's many personality traits as being a rockstar are explored under the microscope and the legend is unearthed once again. This book also places Bob Dylan in the history books of rock music, exploring exactly what made him so famous and so liked amongst fans. A book about the legend and the man, the songwriting and the music—this book definitely shows us that Bob Dylan is more than just a pretty face. 

7. "The Song and Dance Man" by Michael Gray

  • Pages: 929
  • Recommended for the list by @barberville on Twitter. 

This one is a big book if you can tackle it! It is a great piece of analysis and reference for anyone wanting to get into Dylanology. I have to admit the first time I read it, I was a bit perplexed because it is so expansive and my Bob Dylan knowledge back then was that of a simple bobcat and not a Dylanologist. I read The Song and Dance Man more than once because, well, I wanted to learn about Dylanology. It is an incredible book that has an awful lot of Dylan's use of the Bible in there, which is really interesting. The main thing though is that if you're a simple bobcat who wants to get into Dylanology, then this book is for you. 

6. "The Ballad of Bob Dylan" by Daniel Mark Epstein

  • Pages: 512

Bob Dylan's work in the studio is just as important as the myth that surrounds him. This book has many first hand and second hand accounts in its research, looking at exactly how Bob Dylan lived through this extensive songwriting period and what he did when he went to record. I love this book because it's easy for a bobcat to read. If you know the songs it references, then you can picture it and it all looks incredible. I would highly recommend this book.

5. "Do You Mr. Jones?" Edited by Neil Cocoran

  • Pages: 400

I don't want to over-talk about this book but I probably am going to. I love this book to bits because it's lots of different people writing their essays on Bob Dylan, lots of different people discussing the many aspects to his character. My personal favourite chapter is "Rock of Ages" by Simon Armitage (yes, the poet). He does this really long analysis, verse by verse, of "Tangled Up in Blue" and it's not only really good, but it's absolutely hilarious. I don't think the fact that he doesn't like "Lily, Rosemary and the Jack of Hearts" changes that, but some of his commentary on the cover art for Shot of Love is pretty funny. I would love for you to read this book because it's brilliant. (I own two copies of it. A white one and a pink one).

4. "Bob Dylan: A Spiritual Life" by Scott M. Marshall

  • Pages: 304

Bob Dylan's spiritual life has been under the radar since the 1980s after the Christian/Gospel era he had. But, in this book, Marshall goes back to the beginning to explore Bob Dylan's Jewish roots back when he was still Robert Zimmerman. The way his spirituality evolved and changed is probably the most important thing about his musicality and, Marshall challenges the idea of Dylan's religious odyssey stating that it was there from the beginning. In songs like "With God on Our Side" all the way to "Man of Peace" and further on in the journey—we are left with an amazing conclusion. Dylan was always spiritual. 

3. "No Direction Home" by Robert Shelton

  • Pages: 256
  • Recommended for the list by @barberville on Twitter. 

Written with Dylan's cooperation and input, this book explores the incredible myth and legend of Bob Dylan's 1960s legacy. (For some reason I felt like using a picture of Dylan from the 70s though). You get everything from this book: research, overviews, commentary, an extensive bibliography, footnotes to explore, discography to check out—everything that both a Bobcat and a Dylanologist would need to build their knowledge on the Voice of a Generation. This book really explains why Bob Dylan is named the God of Folk and in incredible style as well. 

2. "The Treasures of Bob Dylan" by Brian Southall

  • Pages: 64

This book may be short but it really is every Bobcat's dream. It has an incredible amount of little stories about Bob Dylan and there's a ton of great pictures and photographs. You get a bunch of stuff from this and no matter how expensive this is it requires to sit on every Bobcat's shelf, because it is just incredible. It is basically a book written by a Bobcat, for a Bobcat. It's like someone is going crazy about Bob Dylan with you and sharing all their stuff about Bob. There is really something beautiful about this big, massive book. It is lovely to read from time to time. 

1. "Dylan" by Jerry Schatzberg

  • Pages: 262

Bob Dylan's 1965 and 66 years were some of the most famous years of any musician in all of history, especially 1966. Schatzberg captures the 1966 era in many photographs, showing us something new from the pensive almost recluse Bob Dylan that we understand of the mid-60s. Schatzberg shows us a performance artist, a creator, a writer, a legend, a serious man, a funny man and finally, a song and dance man. Bob Dylan is many things, many people all in one and Jerry Schatzberg brings them all into photography and anecdotes. It is a brilliant thing to witness. 


I hope you enjoyed part two in our series. Hopefully, I will be back for more because I have a lot of books I want to cover. If you feel like contributing or offering a suggestion just drop me a DM or tag me in a post, my handle is @3ftMonster on Twitter. I will make sure I read the book before I put it up here (I only ever put up books I have already read, for some reason I find it too difficult to talk passionately about something I haven't witnessed for myself). But, I hope we can be Bobcats together and study some Dylanology in the process. I'd love to hear what you think. 

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