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While browsing at the library recently, I ran across Book of Dreams, Jack Kerouac‘s dream diary originally published by City Lights Books in 1961 and reissued in 2001. This was my first encounter with Book of Dreams, and it’s Kerouac at his most Kerouacian (or is it Kero-Wacky-an?) — which is a good thing. Whatever he writes, Kerouac’s deep, utter charm and sincerity shine through.

In the book’s preface, Kerouac writes: “The reader should know that this is just a collection of dreams that I scribbled after I woke up from my sleep — They were all written spontaneously, nonstop, just like dreams happen, sometimes written before I was even wide awake — The characters that I’ve written about in my novels reappear in these dreams in weird new dream situations…and they continue the same story which is the one story that I always write about. The heroes of On the Road, The Subterraneans, etc., reappear here doing further strange things for no other particular reason than that the mind goes on, the brain ripples, the moon sinks, and everybody hides their heads under pillows with sleepingcaps. Good. And good because the fact that everybody in the world dreams every night ties all mankind together shall we say in one unspoken Union and also proves that the world is really transcendental…”

Book of Dreams also includes a “Table of Characters” where Kerouac lists how the dream players correspond with characters in his novels. For example, Cody Pomeray in JK’s dreams is Dean Moriarity in On the Road.

Here’s an excerpt from a “silver” dream in the book: “I goof, discovering a long paper bar of silver worth a fortune but tore it up and shortened it and didn’t care and now my sister’s fixing it, to get the money, so now I want the money too — She’s pasting it on the wall, in her shorts, it’s Sarah Avenue — it’s a long paper tape of ‘silver paper’ found and reaped in the mines…” 

As of this writing (9/23/12),  a 1961 first edition is available through Amazon for just 97 cents (plus $3.99 shipping) — find the link here.