Saturday, July 21, 2018

Curation #89 from my Kerouac bookshelf: Gerard: The Influence of Jack Kerouac's Brother on His Life and Writing by Donald Motier



Item #89 in my Kerouac bookshelf curation project is this paperback 2010 PublishAmerica edition (no printing number) of Donald Motier's Gerard: The Influence of Jack Kerouac's Brother on His Life and Writing. 65 pages, this book measures about 5-7/8" x 8-7/8" and is in good condition. It would likely be in better condition except that I loaned it to a student in my Kerouac class at the University of Maine at Farmington who was doing a paper on Gerard and he dragged it around with him for quite some time. There's a dangling participle in that last sentence and I'll be damned if I'm going to fix it. The provenance of this copy is likely that I purchased it via Amazon. You're welcome, Mr. Bezos.

This book was first published in 1991 by Beaulieu Street Press. I reviewed the Hell out of it back in March 2016; you can read that by clicking here. I don't really have anything to add to that other than I've never met Mr. Motier but I consider him a kindred spirit, both of us having written and published a book in the Kerouac genre. Mine is available by clicking the link over on the right. Mr. Motier's is available below. We self-published authors have to stick together!

As we've opined before, to understand Jack Kerouac one must understand the influence of his older brother, Gerard. This book plays a role in understanding that dynamic.






Below is a picture of Shelf #3 of my Kerouac bookshelf showing the placement of this book (9th from the left) on the day I started curating my collection. Next up: Jack Kerouac: King of the Beats by Barry Miles.

Shelf #3 of my Kerouac bookshelf

Thursday, July 19, 2018

Curation #88 from my Kerouac bookshelf: Door Wide Open: A Beat Love Affair in Letters, 1957-1958 by Jack Kerouac and Joyce Johnson



Item #88 in my Kerouac bookshelf curation project is this hardcover 2000 Viking first edition first printing of Joyce Johnson's Door Wide Open: A Beat Love Affair in Letters, 1957-1958. 182 pages, it measures about 5-1/2" x 8-1/2" and is in very good condition. The provenance is uncertain but it was likely an Amazon purchase. Sorry for the glare in the picture above.

This is a collection of letters between Jack Kerouac and his then girlfriend Joyce Glassman (now  Johnson). Jack's words are all in the letters, but Johnson supplements her letters with an introduction and helpful explanatory matter throughout. There is an index.

These letters cover the time immediately before, during, and after the publication of On The Road, making this a significant contribution to Kerouac scholarship and offering firsthand insights into his life and thought process at the time. It likewise offers insights into Johnson's life and thought process; she is an often unheralded but important writer and figure in the Beat story (as are many other woman in that circle). You can read Part I here as well as access a link to the NY Times review of the book.

Highly recommended for your Kerouac bookshelf.







Below is a picture of Shelf #3 of my Kerouac bookshelf showing the placement of this book (8th from the left) on the day I started curating my collection. Next up: Gerard: The Influence of Jack Kerouac's Brother on His Life and Writing by Donald Motier.

Shelf #3 of my Kerouac bookshelf

Wednesday, July 18, 2018

Curation #87 from my Kerouac bookshelf: Understanding Jack Kerouac's ON THE ROAD by Edward Renehan



Item #87 in my Kerouac bookshelf curation project is this 2012 New Street Communications edition (no printing number) of Edward Renehan's Understanding Jack Kerouac's ON THE ROAD. 63 pages, it measures about 6" x 9" and is in very good condition. The provenance is likely that I bought it via Amazon.

I purchased this book when I was teaching On The Road in my first year seminar at the University of Maine at Farmington, thinking I would get some new insights to share with students. There are points with which I strongly agree. For example, regarding On The Road:
Notably, just about every review, whether positive or negative, failed to acknowledge Kerouac's vision of the work as the narrative of a journey toward spiritual enlightenment: a holy pilgrimage by flawed mortals seeking some semblance of Truth. (p. 51)
On The Road is a spiritual book, yet many miss that. This is something I learned from Gerry Nicosia, and that has been reinforced since by others including Renehan.

There are other points in the book that were new to me. For example, Oswald Spengler's notion of "second religiousness." I may have read about that somewhere else, but it stuck out to me in Renehan's treatise (perhaps because it is a chapter title). To wit, the book includes the following chapters/sections:

Preface
Beats
Revelation
Second Religousness
Stigmata
Purgatory
Bibliography


This book could use some serious editing, but a theme (spirituality) does come through and Kerouac fans would likely enjoy this quick read.








Below is a picture of Shelf #3 of my Kerouac bookshelf showing the placement of this book (7th from the left) on the day I started curating my collection. Next up: Door Wide Open: A Beat Love Affir in Letters, 1957-1958 by Jack Kerouac and Joyce Johnson.

Shelf #3 of my Kerouac bookshelf


Tuesday, July 17, 2018

Curation #86 from my Kerouac bookshelf: The Portable Jack Kerouac edited by Ann Charters



Item #86 in my Kerouac bookshelf curation project is this paperback 1996 Penguin Books 1st printing of The Portable Jack Kerouac edited by Ann Charters. 621 pages, it measures about 5" x 7-5/8" and is in good condition. The provenance is that I bought it from a used bookstore (the name escapes me) in Belgrade Lakes, Maine.

As the back cover indicates,
This one volume omnibus, planned by the author before his death [Jack was inspired when he saw The Portable Steinbeck] and now completed by his biographer, Ann Charters, makes clear the ambition and accomplishment of Jack Kerouac's "Legend of Duluoz"--the story of his life told in the course of his many "true-story novels," including On the Road.
This collection includes selected prose from his books (Duluoz Legend and beyond), poetry, essays, and letters. It really can serve its titular purpose -- to be the one Kerouac book that comprises a thoughtful, representative sampling of his works. That, in fact, is why I bought it; unfortunately, I haven't used it that way. It strikes me now that it might be just the book to leave at camp for when I'm jonesing for some Kerouac. I had a copy of On The Road out there last year but it didn't always fit my mood.

There is a preface and an introduction, a chronology of Jack's life, Jack's own introduction (from Lonesome Traveler), an editor's introduction including a letter from Jack to John Clellon Holmes musing about such a book, a character identity key, and a Kerouac bibliography. Many of the selections are introduced with a brief editor's note.

If the purpose of this book is to, as Jack described it, capture the "'essence'" of his prose and poetry "'in one binder to carry around and read at leisure'" (p. 4), this book fits the bill. It deserves a spot on your Kerouac bookshelf, or, better yet, in your canvas rucksack.

There are over 100 books in the portable library series (purchased from Viking Press by Penguin Books in 1975). You can see a list here.










Below is a picture of Shelf #3 of my Kerouac bookshelf showing the placement of this book (6th from the left) on the day I started curating my collection. Next up: Understanding Kerouac's ON THE ROAD by Edward Renehan.

Shelf #3 of my Kerouac bookshelf

Monday, July 16, 2018

Curation #86 from my Kerouac bookshelf: A second copy of Ann Charters' Jack Kerouac: A Biography




Item #86 in my Kerouac bookshelf curation project is this paperback Warner Paperback Library edition of Ann Charter's Kerouac: A Biography. The only copyright date shown is 1974 and there is no printing number. 416 pages and measuring about  4" x 7", this copy is in rough shape: the pages are yellowed and, as evidenced by the above photo, the binding is broken completely, separating the book into two pieces around page 193. The provenance is that I bought it from a used bookstore in Portland, Maine. I already had the copy curated yesterday, but I liked the cover (illustration by Jim Sharpe, design by Gene Light).

Since I curated this book yesterday, there is no need to opine more about Charters' seminal Kerouac biography. It's the same book minus the updated preface from Charters in the newer edition. I got to see Ann Charters for the first (and only, so far) time in NYC in 2016 when Richard and I attended the Beat and Beyond event at the Howl! Happening arts center. Click here to read the stupid thing I said to Ann when I met her.








Below is a picture of Shelf #3 of my Kerouac bookshelf showing the placement of this book (5th from the left) on the day I started curating my collection. Next up: The Portable Jack Kerouac edited by Ann Charters.

Shelf #3 of my Kerouac bookshelf

Sunday, July 15, 2018

Curation #85 from my Kerouac bookshelf: Jack Kerouac: A Biography by Ann Charters



Item #85 in my Kerouac bookshelf curation project is this paperback St. Martin's Press 1994 edition (no printing number) of Ann Charters' Jack Kerouac A Biography. 416 pages, it measures about 5-1/2" x 8" and is in fair condition. The provenance is that I bought it used from Goodwill of NNE via Amazon on August 25, 2012 for $.08. Yes, you read that correctly. Shipping was $3.99 so I paid a total of $4.07.

First published in 1973, Charters' book is recognized as the earliest comprehensive Kerouac biography. It met with a positive review from the NY Times (click here). This edition includes a foreword by Allen Ginsberg, a preface and an introduction by the author, a set of photos, and 5 appendices (chronology, notes and sources, bibliographical chronology, character identity key, and index).

Since Charters' biography there have been many more. Click here for Dave Moore's flickr set of Kerouac biography cover photos, which includes 27 titles (including Bernice Lemire's Master's Thesis).

Many have pointed out errors in Charters' work, but it still stands as a solid Kerouac biography and it paved the way for much Kerouac scholarship to come. It's a compelling read and deserves a spot on your Kerouac bookshelf.









Below is a picture of Shelf #3 of my Kerouac bookshelf showing the placement of this book (4th from the left) on the day I started curating my collection. Next up: another copy of Kerouac: A Biography by Ann Charters.

Shelf #3 of my Kerouac bookshelf

The Daily Beat reaches 10 years of Kerouac blogging!


My first post on The Daily Beat was 10 years ago today on July 15, 2008. It was a test post, and I didn't start posting in earnest until September when my book, The Beat Handbook: 100 Days of Kerouactions, appeared for sale on Amazon. I started blogging without really knowing what I was getting into, and since that time a lot has happened. For one thing, we have posted 1,453 times, which averages 145 times per year or once every 2.5 days. Not bad for a non-income generating (mostly -- if you don't count book sales spurred by my posts) blog and most of that time I was working full-time (having retired in May 2017). For another, I've interviewed some well-known Beat figures. For example, you can read my interview with Al Hinkle (Big Ed Dunkel from On The Road) here, my interview with Gerald Nicosia here, and my interview with Kerouac paramour Helen Weaver here.

We've done some serial posts over the 10 years. For a time in 2011, we posted about each entry in my book, including a picture of the relevant passage in The Dharma Bums or On The Road (start here and move forward in time). We've also done some recurring posts. For example, a few times we played 6 Degrees of Jack Kerouac (click here for the original).

Which reminds me, if you ever want to search this blog (or any website, for that matter) you only need to type in the address bar the search word and then the word site with a colon and the URL. So if you want to search my blog for instances where I mention the word Richard, it would look like this:

Richard site:https://thedailybeatblog.blogspot.com/

Regular readers know we are in the midst of curating my Kerouac bookshelf, with entry #85 up next. That's a serial that will run over 160 posts total.

We started a series called Beat Hero, but never got very far, having only completed two: Travis Tribble and John Wight. We ruminated on North Pond Hermit Christopher Knight being Beat Hero #3, but scoring an interview with him would be next to impossible. As always, if you think you are  a Beat Hero or know someone who is, let us know. (Note: Don't be fooled by my use of plural pronouns -- this is a one-person operation. Consider it a nod to a favorite Beat movie: The Big Lebowski and the Dude's explaining his use of the "royal we.")

We occasionally post blog stats. Kristen Stewart topless in On The Road continues to be #1 in pageviews (9,170), with Full text of On The Road plus #2 at 7,156 and How to pronounce "Cannes" #3 with 5,730. #4 is The joys and pitfalls of blogging, coming in at 3,045 pageviews. And #5 is A Kerouac favorite word: fellaheen (the latter is an example of me being schooled by readers).

Traffic here is a mystery to me. Posts usually get a few dozen pageviews in the early stages, but every once in a while a routine post will get hundreds right away (given enough time, many get into the thousands). I assume that high early number comes from others linking to my post. Or maybe it's Russian bots. Who knows? While I appreciate pageviews, that's not what it's about: this blog is a labor of love for Jack Kerouac.

I've spoiled some Kerouac myths on The Daily Beat, opined that Jack Kerouac was murdered, reviewed a number of books, reported on road trips to places like Lowell and San Francisco and Big Sur and France and NYC, posted spontaneous prose, linked to Kerouac news and resources, defended Jack's honor, explored the enigmatic number 23, reminded of important dates, written about requesting Jack's FBI files, held a Beat poetry contest, collected pictures of Kerouac license plates, archived a Beat dictionary, reported on visiting the Memory Babe archive in Lowell, posted pictures of Kerouac tattoos (mine and others'), published a post by a guest author (one more is in the works), reported on my efforts to get the USPS to issue a Jack Kerouac stamp, posted guest poetry, and given away a number of free books.

Which brings me to the end of this ramble. Perhaps you are expecting another book give-away, but if so, you are mistaken. That has not gone well in the past couple of tries (winners don't contact me with address details so I can't send them a book). So how are we going to celebrate our 10-year anniversary?

Simple: by posting a blog entry. And here it is. Feel free to tell us congratulations in a comment. Or support our efforts by purchasing a book -- I don't get rich but it's motivational.

CONGRATULATIONS TO THE DAILY BEAT ON 10 YEARS OF KEROUAC BLOGGING!