Item #27 in my Kerouac bookshelf curation project is this copy of Jack Kerouac's The Dharma Bums. It is a paperback Signet Book from New American Library/Times Mirror, 9th printing, with a copyright date saying the first printing was October 1959. This means Buddha only knows how old this actual book is.
Nevertheless, it has an interesting provenance. I got it from my great friend and Kerouacophile, Richard, as an unexpected gift in the mail (I wrote about it here: http://thedailybeatblog.blogspot.com/2016/10/jack-kerouacs-dharma-bums-great-gift.html). As I pointed out in that post, on the first page was written, "Cindy Wolkin." I asked Cindy to contact me if she happened to read my blog. She didn't. But the story goes on. I tracked down a Cindy Wolkin on Facebook and direct messaged her, asking if she might be the previous owner. It turned out that she was, and that she had owned the book when she was 15 and was a big Kerouac fan. (Zuckerberg, get your shit together and don't ruin a good thing -- Facebook does have some redeeming values like tracking down the previous owner of a book). I wrote about finding Cindy in this previous post: http://thedailybeatblog.blogspot.com/2017/02/follow-up-to-my-october-18-2016-post.html.
This copy is well-loved. Lots of cover creases, a taped binding, yellowed and worn pages, a few dog-ears. But, the text is unmarked and very readable (if you're careful with the binding).
Yesterday I opined about how The Dharma Bums is my favorite Kerouac novel and why. In case you don't believe me, here is a picture of my current license plate (it's an old picture of it -- I really do have current registration stickers -- in case MSP are reading this).
By the way, there is a 1E/1P hardcover for sale on eBay: https://www.ebay.com/itm/The-Dharma-Bums-Jack-Kerouac-1st-Edition-1st-Printing-FREE-SHIPPING/152967855506?hash=item239d983d92:g:RPIAAOSwnMBafwdQ. I find the price too low to believe, but you never know. I'm tempted but retirement moderates my temptations in such matters.
MAY YOU USE THE DIAMONDCUTTER OF MERCY.
Below is a picture of Shelf #1 of my Kerouac bookshelf showing the placement of this book (8th item from the left) on the day I started curating my collection. Next up: Big Sur by Jack Kerouac.
Shelf #1 of my Kerouac bookshelf