On the road

books from the road, and for the road

A young journalist packs his backpack, says farewell to his girl and gets himself a dog from the neighboring pet asylum, then walks off Hamburg on his feet. He's commited to walk the country, from North to South, and god only knows when he's going to return. He is further commited to do it without money nor credit cards, just begging for some food for the dog and a place to sleep in the farmers barns. As a temporary Drop out and experienced journalist, he keeps his diary and fills in all those tiny details of such voyage - the friendly as well the unfriendly encounters, the happy walks in the sun as well as the mood swings after a few days walking in the pouring rain. And he's doing well in writing, every page is a joy to the reader. Somehow, this book recalled a lot of my own experiences on the road. Now I know, there is this "Japanese type" of travelling - tabi - in Germany too. And that there is a German saying for "Once on the road, always on the road", too.

For the English speakers - sorry, it is available in German only.

Back in the days of the Roman empire: A beautiful story about a girl being raised by a healing woman that rescued her after her birth from the Roman soldiers. The old woman does not know about young Selenas fate, yet she has the key, some amulett given to her from Selenas father. By the age of 16 years, the girl fells in love for a Roman doctor called Andreas and gives him the amulett as present without knowing anything about the meaning. Fate mades her dying healing mother bringing her to her birth place to discover the secret of the amulet, yet the old woman doesn't know Selena gave it away. The caravan gets attacked, the old woman dies and young Selena gets imprisoned by the personal physician of some royal couple. After months, she manages to break free with a German who does not speak her language, and they run away into the wide dessert. A long journey through various countries of the Middle East, and a long way looking for her beloved Roman doctor. Healing people, learning from other healers and eventually crossing Andreas path again. Fate reveals her true origin, yet the journey is by far not over yet...

Henry Valentine Miller (26 December 1891 – 7 June 1980) was an American novelist and painter. He was known for breaking with existing literary forms and developing a new sort of 'novel' that is a mixture of novel, autobiography, social criticism, philosophical reflection, surrealist free association, and mysticism, one that is distinctly always about and expressive of the real-life Henry Miller and yet is also fictional.

My favorite Miller books are:

  • Quiet days in Clichi
  • Big Sur
  • Tropic of Cancer
  • Tropic of Capricorn

J.K. is a well known author, one of the so called pioneers of the Hippie Generation. He was born in 1922 in Masachusetts as child of frankocanadian parents. After a short time at the Columbia University he had to serve during WW2 at the trade marine. After that he spent his time by hitchiking and jobing through the States and Mexico. In this time he wrote down his adventures and experiences. J.K. writing style is very straight, mind boggling and as fast as the times were changing in those days. He wrote about free life, love, drugs and excesses as well as about philosophy and religion, about truelly believing in something. His books seem to be mostly autobiographic I think. Reading them in timely order shows his personality changing from a wild & sentimental boy to a rather experienced man.

Some of my favorite Kerouac books are:

  • On the road
  • Dharma Bums
  • The Subterraneans

Reading Kerouac's books well influenced me when I was 20 or so, made me hitchhiking from my home village to Paris after Christmas 1996.