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.