Tuesday, December 18, 2018

Let's read The Dharma Bums together!

The version of The Dharma Bums I'll be reading from

When I taught a Kerouac class at the University of Maine at Farmington, two novels we read were The Dharma Bums and On the Road. One of the in-class small-group activities I had students participate in was developing one-sentence summaries of chapters they had read for that day. Recently, it occurred to me that I needed to re-read The Dharma Bums, my favorite Kerouac novel, for general purposes (from 2013-2017 I read it each spring for class and haven't re-read it since then). Today I was pondering blog topics and it struck me that it might be fun to read a book together with readers of The Daily Beat.

Combining all of the above ideas, I decided to try the following:

I will assign a reading each day (or at least each day that I take time to blog). It will be from The Dharma Bums -- we will go in order and it will be one chapter per day. I will likewise complete the reading assignment, plus I will write a one-sentence summary of the chapter. That one-sentence summary will be the title of and the content of a subsequent blog post and I will also include the next assignment (the next chapter). And so on . . . . If you read along with us, you are encouraged to post a one-sentence summary of the chapter on the relevant day as a comment.

This will accomplish several things. One, it will give me something to blog about. Two, it will encourage me to re-read The Dharma Bums, which I wanted to do anyway. It's 34 chapters, so this is going to take us well into if not past January 2019. Three, it will provide an interesting summary of The Dharma Bums in 34 sentences (I didn't always dig the ones my students came up with -- they often left out what I though were important points -- I posted an example of their work with On the Road here).

So there you have it. Your assignment for next time we meet, should you choose to accept it, is to read Chapter 1 of The Dharma Bums and be prepared to post a one-sentence summary of the chapter as a comment.

See you next time . . . .

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