Ghost Rider
Neil Peart
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Buy *Ghost Rider: Travels on the Healing Road* by Neil Peart online

Ghost Rider: Travels on the Healing Road
Neil Peart
ECW Press
400 pages
September 2002
rated 2 of 5 possible stars

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Buy *Traveling Music: Playing Back the Soundtrack to My Life and Times* by Neil Peart online

Traveling Music: Playing Back the Soundtrack to My Life and Times
Neil Peart
ECW Press
440 pages
September 2004
rated 2 of 5 possible stars

buy this book now or browse millions of other great products at
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Though he is best-known as the drummer for the Canadian power trio Rush, Peart is also that band's main lyricist. As such, it's only a logical extension that this man who sets words to music would also apply those same words to paper.

The first book here is his own wrenching tale of losing a 19-year-old daughter in a car crash. He is overwhelmed by the tragedy; in order to clear his head and find some sense of inner peace, he takes off on an extended motorcycle trek that would cover 55,000 miles and require 14 months to complete.

This is his diary, as it were, of that odyssey. His wife in a suicidal frame of mind, he leaves her behind and sets off on the journey. Separation, he feels, is the only way to save their beleaguered common-law marriage.

The writing is workmanlike if not terribly original. If these entries were originally written to represent merely his own memories of the trip (and not meant to be read by an audience), transforming them into a form more novel-esque has proven to be a difficult transition. Peart scrambles for a voice somewhere between Jack Kerouac and National Geographic but ends up falling somewhere in-between.

"Among the few, tiny, yet radiant sparks of hope in my "something will come up" file, those vague imaginings which kept me going down that highway, was a glimmer of fantasy in the back of my mind that I might stumble across my own personal Eden."
It's a bit rambling and, at the same time, a bit forced.

In Traveling Music, he has refined the approach and also minimized the scope of the material. Here, he writes about a six-day, 2500-mile excursion to Big Bend National Park in southwest Texas. Instead of perching his rear end on the seat of a BMW R1100GS motorcyle as he did in Ghost Rider, here he sits upon the plush front seat of a BMW Z-8.

This reflects more on his career as a musician as he recalls his past, his performances, his bandmates, and the music with which he grew up. There are some fun moments as he touches upon subjects as varied as James Dean, Miles Davis, and Sam Shepard. Peart is bright and articulate, but somewhere between thought and placing those ideas on paper, a connection is broken.

Still, he's led a life most of us can only dream of. You'll certainly be entertained by these two accountings.

Originally published on Curled Up With A Good Book at Steven Rosen, 2007

buy *Ghost Rider: Travels on the Healing Road* online
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