I admit, I didn't imagine I'd be writing this post today. I've been a bad blogger and infrequent reader these past weeks and I had trouble imagining myself crawling out of my reading slump/procrastination hole anytime soon, so signing up for a reading event didn't sound like the wisest of ideas. But then again... Reading events are fun. Adam's reading events, especially so. So here I am, ready to try out some stuff from the Beat Generation for The Beats of Summer.
This is where I tell you that I haven't read anything ever from any of the people associated with the Beat Generation. No Kerouac, no Ginsberg, no Burroughs, no whoever-else-might-be-associated-with-this-that-I-haven't-even-heard-of. So although I do have some idea about this group of writers through cultural osmosis, this will pretty much be a filling-in-the-gaps month (and a half) for me. That is pretty exciting and it's given me the opportunity to indulge in one of my favorite online guilty pleasures: looking up syllabuses from various classes and imagining I'll actually work through them on my own. (Yes, as far as online guilty pleasures go, this is a pretty sad one. What can I say? I am a tragic person.)
My favorite syllabus/reading list so far is this one, although there are a lot of awesome resources online about the Beat Generation. (For example, this page provides a helpful list of other syllabuses and resources for teaching Beat literature. Adam has a list of writers, important works etc. in his post announcing the event.) But then I stumbled across something even better on Tumblr, and I think I will start with that: the Celestial Homework, aka Allen Ginsberg's reading list for his class "Literary History of the Beats." The first page of it is below, and the rest can be found here, as normal text, or here and here as pictures of the typewritten syllabus.
Now, since, per Ginsberg, this reading list includes "suggestions for a quick check-out & taste of antient scriveners whose works were reflected in Beat literary style as well as specific beat pages to dig into," I think I will actually start reading before June 1st, when the official Beats of Summer event begins. In fact, I think I'll start reading today and hopefully cover a few of the classics on that list. So... grab your books and join me?