Wednesday, May 20, 2009

A Book for my Must-Read list

While I was completing my undergraduate degree in English, I took a class on literature of the Beat Generation. The course was wonderful; great reading (although I'm not sure I'll ever get over Naked Lunch), great discussion and a wonderfully painted picture of beat culture.

Knowing that, and knowing about other passions in my life, you can understand my excitement when I heard about this.

To quote:

Almost all his life Jack Kerouac had a hobby that even close friends and fellow Beats like Allen Ginsburgh and William S. Burroughs never knew about. He obsessively played a fantasy baseball game of his own invention, charting the exploits of made-up players like Wino Love, Warby Pepper, Heinie Twiett, Phegus Cody and Zagg Parker, who toiled on imaginary teams named either for cars (the Pittsburgh Plymouths and New York Chevvies, for example) or for colors (the Boston Grays and Cincinnati Blacks).

He collected their stats, analyzed their performances and, as a teenager, when he played most ardently, wrote about them in homemade newsletters and broadsides. He even covered financial news and imaginary contract disputes. ...

All these “publications,” some typed, some handwritten and often pasted into old-fashioned composition notebooks, are now part of the Jack Kerouac Archive at the Berg Collection of the New York Public Library. The curator, Isaac Gewirtz, has just written a 75-page book about them, “Kerouac at Bat: Fantasy Sports and the King of the Beats,” to be published next week by the library and available, at least for now, only in its gift shop.
I need to get my hands on this book! Assuming I'm able to find a copy, look for more on this subject in the near future.


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