Below I’ll give you my selections for the best Jack Kerouac books by a few categories. I will cover these and other great books more in depth later.
1. On the Road (1999)
Inspired by Jack Kerouac’s adventures with Neal Cassady, On the Road tells the story of two friends whose cross-country road trips are a quest for meaning and true experience. Written with a mixture of sad-eyed naiveté and wild ambition and imbued with Kerouac’s love of America, his compassion for humanity, and his sense of language as jazz, On the Road is the quintessential American vision of freedom and hope, a book that changed American literature and changed anyone who has ever picked it up. …
IN THREE WEEKS in April of 1951, Jack Kerouac wrote his first full draft of On the Road—typed as a single-spaced paragraph on eight long sheets of tracing paper, which he later taped together to form a 120-foot scroll. A major literary event when it was published in Viking hardcover in 2007, this is the uncut version of an American classic—rougher, wilder, and more provocative than the official work that appeared, heavily edited, in 1957. This version, capturing a moment in creative history, represents the first full expression of Kerouac’s revolutionary aesthetic.For more…
3. The Dharma Bums (1971)
First published in 1958, a year after On the Road put the Beat Generation on the map, The Dharma Bums stands as one of Jack Kerouac’s most powerful and influential novels. The story focuses on two ebullient young Americans–mountaineer, poet, and Zen Buddhist Japhy Ryder, and Ray Smith, a zestful, innocent writer–whose quest for Truth leads them on a heroic odyssey, from marathon parties and poetry jam sessions in San Francisco’s Bohemia to solitude and mountain climbing in the High Sierras….
4. Desolation Angels (1995)
Originally published in 1965, this autobiographical novel covers a key year in Jack Kerouac’s life—the period that led up to the publication of On the Road in September of 1957. After spending two months in the summer of 1956 as a fire lookout on Desolation Peak in the North Cascade Mountains of Washington, Kerouac’s fictional self Jack Duluoz comes down from the isolated mountains to the wild excitement of the bars, jazz clubs, and parties of San Francisco, before traveling on to Mexico City, New York, Tangiers, Paris, and London. Duluoz attempts to extricate himself from the world but fails, for one must “live,…
5. Big Sur (2019)
2019 Reprint of 1962 Edition. Coming down from his carefree youth and unwanted fame, Jack Kerouac undertakes a mature confrontation of some of his most troubling emotional issues: a burgeoning problem with alcoholism, addiction, fear, and insecurity. He dutifully records his ever-changing states of consciousness, which culminate in a powerful religious experience. Big Sur was written sometime after Jack Kerouac's best-known works, following a visit to northern California and the first feelings of midlife crisis. Kerouac stayed for several weeks…
Here for your delectation is the SPECTACULAR & RARE——————THE SUBTERRANEANS by Jack Kerouac. The Subterraneans haunt the bars and clubs of San Francisco, surviving on a diet of booze and benzedrine, Proust and Verlaine. Living amongst them is Leo, an aspiring writer, and Mardou, half-Indian, half-Negro, beautiful and neurotic. Their bitter-sweet and ill-starred love affair sees Kerouac at his most evocative. Many regard this as being Kerouac’s most touching and tender book. “The first clear development of the American Romantic prose since Hemingway, Kerouac’s writing is full of mad sex, comedy, widescreen travel writing, and…
7. Big Sur (1992)
In this 1962 novel, Kerouac’s alter ego Jack Duluoz, overwhelmed by success and excess, gravitates back and forth between wild binges in San Francisco and an isolated cabin on the California coast where he attempts to renew his spirit and clear his head of madness and alcohol. Only nature seems to restore him to a sense of balance. In the words of Allen Ginsberg, Big Sur ”reveals consciousness in all its syntactic elaboration, detailing the luminous emptiness of his own paranoiac confusion.”…
Freewheeling and spontaneous, Mexico City Blues is Jack Kerouac’s most significant and emblematic poem. Consisting of 242 loosely linked ‘choruses’, it takes in life, death, spirituality, jazz improvisation, memory, fantasies and dreams, all infused with the rhythm of the blues, to create a surreal and all-encompassing epic. ‘A spontaneous bop prosody and original classic literature’ Allen Ginsberg’A jazz poet. His sentences frequently move into tempestuous sweeps and whorls and sometimes they have something of the rich music of Gerard Manley Hopkins or Dylan Thomas’ The New York Herald Tribune…
9. Big Sur / Jack Kerouac (1962)
10. The Portable Jack Kerouac (Penguin Classics) (2007)
To coincide with the 50th anniversary celebration of On the Road, Penguin Classics republishes this landmark collection. The Portable Jack Kerouac made clear the ambition and accomplishment of Kerouac’s “Legend of Duluoz”-the story of his life told in his many “true story” novels. Featuring selections from Kerouac’s autobiographical fiction, as well as from his poetry, criticism, Buddhist writings, and letters, The Portable Jack Kerouac offers a total immersion in an American master.For more than seventy years, Penguin has been the leading…
Best Jack Kerouac Books That You Need
We highly recommend you to buy all paper or e-books in a legal way, for example, on Amazon. But sometimes it might be a need to dig deeper beyond the shiny book cover. Before making a purchase, you can visit resources like Genesis and download some jack kerouac books mentioned below at your own risk. Once again, we do not host any illegal or copyrighted files, but simply give our visitors a choice and hope they will make a wise decision.
Jack Kerouac, Haiku, Haikus
Author(s): Jack Kerouac
Publisher: Jack Kerouac, Year: 2020, Size: 340 Kb, Download: pdf
America first!: it's history, culture, and politics
Author(s): America First Committee.;Abbey, Edward;Buchanan, Patrick Joseph;Fulbright, James William;Kauffman, Bill;Kerouac, Jack;Lewis, Sinclair;Roosevelt, Alice Lee;Vidal, Gore
Publisher: Prometheus Books, Year: 2016, Size: 1 Mb, Download: epub
The unknown Kerouac: rare, unpublished, & newly translated Writings
Author(s): Cloutier, Jean-Christophe;Kerouac, Jack;Tietchen, Todd
Publisher: Library of America, Year: 2016, Size: 2 Mb, Download: epub
Empty Phantoms - Interviews and Encounters with Jack Kerouac (Expanded & Revised)
Author(s): Paul Maher Jr.
Publisher: Lulu.com, Year: 2015, Size: 498 Kb, Download: epub
At the end of the road Jack Kerouac in Mexico
Author(s): García-Robles, Jorge;Kerouac, Jack;Schechter, Daniel C
Publisher: University of Minnesota Press, Year: 2014, Size: 3 Mb, Download: pdf
Please note that this booklist is not definite. Some books are really hot items according to Chicago Tribune, others are drafted by unknown authors. On top of that, you can always find additional tutorials and courses on Coursera, Udemy or edX, for example. Are there any other relevant links you could recommend? Leave a comment if you have any feedback on the list.