Kamloops author set to release second edition of book exploring Bob Dylan's career

City man pens Dylan book

A Kamloops author who has conducted in-depth research into Bob Dylan’s decades-long career is set to release the second edition of a book analyzing the celebrated singer-songwriter’s works.

Anthony Varesi, a lawyer in the Kamloops Crown counsel office, authored The Bob Dylan Albums, which moves through Dylan’s career chronologically, album by album. The first edition was published by Guernica Editions in 2002.

Varesi said in the 20 years since he wrote the first edition of his book, Dylan released a number of studio albums and archival recordings from the 1960s to the 1990s — leading Varesi to write a “wholesale revision” of his book.

“I think it's really one of the few books on Dylan to focus on his entire output," he said.

"There are some books that do a general approach to each of his albums, some books will just cover certain albums in depth. So I've tried to try to cover his whole career through his music and his writings and his films."

Varesi said he discussed the idea of writing a second edition with his publisher in 2019 and obtained the contract in early 2020, working on the book over the pandemic for 13 months before submitting his first draft.

He said 2022 marks 60 years since Dylan’s first album was released — and 20 years since Varesi’s first book edition was published.

"I thought it was good timing-wise,” Varesi said.

The second edition of The Bob Dylan Albums will be released on Tuesday, coincidentally the same day that Dylan himself will publishing a new book of his writings.

In his book, Varesi largely draws on his own evaluations of Dylan’s massive catalogue of work, including individual songs, albums, writings and films.

Varesi said he believes his even-handed analysis will appeal to both Dylan’s followers and those who are “not quite as hardcore fans.”

“There's parts of the book where I'm quite critical of certain albums or certain things that Dylan has done," he said.

"I think it's important to do that. I tried to write with a fan’s passion, but with a degree of objectivity."

Varesi, who has attended about 50 Dylan concerts, said he first started listening to Dylan’s music as a 13-year-old in junior high because his dad owned most of the singer-songwriter’s albums.

He said he was drawn to Dylan’s lyrics and his voice, and he started to read and research more about the artist’s career.

“At his best, he's an outstanding and somewhat underrated singer. He’s written over 600 songs,” Varesi said.

“For the Nobel committee to award him the Nobel Prize was quite something, because it’s not often they give it to songwriters. I think that was really just a representation of his talent and his output in awarding that to him.”

Varesi said there’s always something new or interesting to find in the musician’s massive catalogue of work — something that was made clear as he underwent research for the second edition of the book.

Varesi noted he found his own opinions of some of Dylan’s work changed over time.

“There's one of his albums that he made for his young daughter — he had a young daughter — and I never really appreciated the album,” Varesi said.

“When I had a child of my own, I was able to actually understand where he's coming from with the album, because it was based on a lot of old nursery rhymes and fables and that kind of approach. So I found that interesting, that I felt a lot different about the album than I had at the time it came out.”

Varesi said he received good feedback from the first edition from the book, and the second edition — which is currently available for pre-order — “has been very well received so far.”

He said he hopes readers of the newest edition enjoy the book, and are able to find songs or albums they may not have listened to before.

The Bob Dylan Albums Second Edition is also published through Guernica Editions. The book can be pre-ordered online through Amazon, Indigo or any other online bookstore.

Once released, the paperback will be available for sale through Indigo and other bookstores.

Varesi said he hopes readers will enjoy the book.

“I hope that maybe it leads them to look at other songs or albums that they may not have listened to before or considered,” he said.

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