Tuesday, September 16, 2008

I'll Get To Dostoevsky Next Week

I've been working on a few of Jack Kerouac's other writings recently after I found an anthology of his travel writings, which are the novels he started or completed from 1957 to 1960 (yes, "On The Road" was included). I carry this anthology to the bar with me because I frequently go downtown early before work and read at my favorite coffee place, Cafe Gutenberg. I usually leave the book in plain view on the back of the bar by the liquor bottles while I work.

Aside from a few customers wanting to know what their bartender reads, I mostly get made fun of by our barback or by a waitress. They see Kerouac and they see "On The Road", and they say, "dude, I read that in like 8th grade."

My response is, one, I'm reading his other works from the period like The Subterraneans, Tristessa and The Dharma Bums, and two, On The Road still rocks my fucking world. Sure I read it like 10 years ago, but it's just one of those books that can be reread and not get old and not get repetitive.

Everytime I read certain passages from On The Road, I get the urge to hit the streets and talk to people and have a drink and I begin to explode with ideas. My wanderlust comes back and I start to get excited and think that anything is possible. The original reason I quit my job and started blogging begins to resurface; a reason and a feeling that have been rare these past few months.

I don't care if Kerouac isn't noted as a great writer and I don't care that On The Road doesn't get the scholarly respect it deserves. The book makes me happy and I think for the most part, that's what books should do.


Sidenote: I wrote about Kerouac a month ago, so did this guy.

8 comments:

Anonymous said...

Hey in Europe everyone gets health insurance provided by the government!

Anonymous said...

A guy like you ought to read A MAN WITHOUT QUALITIES by Robert Musil. Takes place during the demise of the Hapsburgs.

iwishicouldcook said...

Dharma Bums is the best.

Have you read The Motorcycle Diaries by Che Guevara (yeah, they made it into a lame movie...ignore that)?

Jack Goes Forth said...

I'd like to make an attempt at "A MAN..." as I've heard great things. A page count in the 1600's sort of scares me, but I think I'll give it a shot.

IWICC- Dharma Bums is one of his better works. Yeah I've Motorcycle Diaries. You didn't like the movie? I thought Gael Garcia Bernal was a perfect fit for Che.

iwishicouldcook said...

Well, I ruined the movie for myself cause I couldn't get Y Tu Mamá También out of my head. Not the right image I had of Che when I was reading the book.

[F]oxymoron said...

Just tell the twits you're reading Kerouac because he is a nice break from literary heavy hitters such as Nicolas Sparks and Dan Brown...

Chris said...

Dharma Bums was one of the best books I read in college, but then again I only read about 3.

Mike said...

OTR definitely rewards repeated readings, and I got more out of it as an older guy than I did when I was in college. In my college years I was also inspired by the wanderlust and the hunger for experience. (And I still am.) But there's a sadness and loneliness at the core of the book (and within Kerouac, as his other books shows) that I appreciated and empathized with much more when I read it again a few years ago.