Quick Reads: “The Dylanologists” by David Kinney

The Dylanologists

The Dylanologists

By David Kinney


It seems like everybody and their dog has a book about Bob Dylan, but The Dylanologists turns the spotlight on his most obsessive fans instead. Journalist David Kinney takes us into a world of zealous collectors who will snap up anything the great man has touched, nerds who obsessively trade and catalog bootleg recordings, and code breakers who pore over every quote and lyric for meaning. We learn about the travails of dedicating one’s life to an inaccessible hero and the emotional toll of having that hero regularly reinvent our favorite parts of himself. Through it all runs a tension between the Dylanologist’s compulsion to understand the “real” Bob and the artist’s steadfast desire to remain an enigma.

This review originally appeared in our May/June 2014 issue of Mother Jones.