Pat Loughery's Reviews > The Dharma Bums

The Dharma Bums by Jack Kerouac
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's review
Dec 10, 2010

really liked it
bookshelves: audiobook, library, memoir
Recommended for: Poets, dreamers, deep thinkers, people who don't need structure in life or poetry or literature

This is my second Kerouac, after On the Road many years back, and my first in audiobook form. It might be the best way to hear Kerouac's beat poetry in the prose, to hear them spoken:

"... All alone and free in the soft sands of the beach by the sigh of the sea... "

and so many of those two-word pitter-patterns.

Kerouac's characters, heavily based on the poets of the San Francisco Renaissance of the 50s, shine - Japhy (Gary Snyder) in particular; in fact the whole story is a love-song to Japhy, written as Kerouac is trying on Buddhism as one tries on a coat to see if it fits. It does, and it doesn't; it's at least ill-fitting for the author in this story.

It's been a long time since I read On the Road, and I remember liking it better than Dharma Bums, but I'll definitely read - or probably hear - more Kerouac, to see how he matured and changed and grew.


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Quotes Pat Liked

Jack Kerouac
“The closer you get to real matter, rock air fire and wood, boy, the more spiritual the world is.”
Jack Kerouac, The Dharma Bums

Jack Kerouac
“Though the flesh be bugged, the circumstances of existence are still pretty glorious. ”
Jack Kerouac, The Dharma Bums

Jack Kerouac
“The closer you get to real matter, rock air fire and wood, boy, the more spiritual life is. All these people thinking they're hardheaded materialistic practical types, they don't know shit about matter, their heads are full of dreamy ideas and notions.”
Jack Kerouac, The Dharma Bums

Jack Kerouac
“The secret of this kind of climbing, is like Zen. Don't think. Just dance along. It's the easiest thing in the world, actually easier than walking on flat ground which is monotonous. The cute little problems present themselves at each step and yet you don't hesitate and you find yourself on some other boulder you picked out for no special reason at all, just like zen.~ Japhy”
Jack Kerouac, The Dharma Bums

Jack Kerouac
“Jumping from boulder to boulder and never falling, with a heavy pack, is easier than it sounds; you just can't fall when you get into the rhythm of the dance.”
Jack Kerouac, The Dharma Bums

Jack Kerouac
“Try the meditation of the trail, just walk along looking at the trail at your feet and don’t look about and just fall into a trance as the ground zips by. Trails are like that: you’re floating along in a Shakespearean Arden paradise and expect to see nymphs and fluteboys, then suddenly you’re struggling in a hot broiling sun of hell in dust and nettles and poison oak… just like life.”
Jack Kerouac, The Dharma Bums

Reading Progress

December 10, 2010 – Shelved
October 14, 2011 – Started Reading
October 14, 2011 – Shelved as: audiobook
October 14, 2011 – Shelved as: library
October 17, 2011 –
October 18, 2011 –
80.0% "I'm pretty sure I"m enjoying this as an audiobook more than I would in print. It's a fun listen for the car commute, when usually I'd be listening to sports talk radio, or maybe podcasts.."
October 19, 2011 – Finished Reading
October 24, 2011 – Shelved as: memoir

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