Today we're celebrating books not because it's a special day, but because we can. Besides which, every day I spend in the company of a good book is special.
Books, like music, have been lifelong companions, but as much as I love music, books can take me places -- and I can take them -- that music cannot go. Books are fun. They're brain candy. They enable me to both concentrate and relax. And as a writer, they inspire me.
Following are several book-related posts, including capsule summaries of 25 books I read in the past year that would make terrific holiday gifts, a profile of Joan Didion, who is one of my favorite writers, a review of a Thomas Pynchon classic, an appreciation of Jack Kerouac, a peek at the most beautiful book in the world, and an immodest plug for my own books.
As literary creation myths go, the story of Jack Kerouac's On The Road typescript pictured above is a whopper.
According to the myth, the great Beat trailblazer wrote the book on a 120-foot roll of Teletype paper in the course of a three-week Benzedrine and coffee binge. Inconveniently for fans who believe that the novel was written off the top of his head, much of it had been laid out in diaries and correspondence during an extended road trip across the U.S. and Mexico with Neal Cassady, who was the model for the character Dean Moriarity.