Reading Matters: Hemsley, Hemsley and Kerouac

On my table this week: Hemsley + Hemsley “Good and Simple”.

“Good and Simple”

I love their recipes which focus on simple ingredients, gluten free and sometimes paleo. Great book to dip into not least for the colour pictures for inspiration and a clean healthy feel. My top cook book this week.

And a copy of “The Portable Jack Kerouac” which I picked up from a second hand book store last week for the joy of content in the letters and excerpts from a life in words.

Minor Characters

Reading extracts, I am reminded of two of my favourite books I read years ago which form a great partnership with this collection sharing the other side of bohemian life in 1950s America for women: Minor Characters by Joyce Johnson

and Off the Road by Carolyn Cassidy.

Hot and Male

Reading “On the Road” is such a very hot and male affair: I constantly taste the sweat and the dirt from his skin and smell the dust and the grittiness of the desert which blows through his writing.

Make no mistake, he is all man.

I don’t understand him at all or relate to the maleness, the masculinity of his writing but I have always loved the book for its movement and cadence, the rise and fall, ebb and flow of his poetic sentence structure.


But I love too, the curious juxtaposition of my cookery book choice with Jack Kerouac, and the suggestion of 1950s women as *minor characters *- of women cooking and raising children on the prairie, women providing the love and nourishment while men drove and wrote and explored and pushed boundaries.

It makes me think also of a title sentence from the poet, Thom Gunn who wrote “On the Move” subtitled “man you gotta go” and how as I was becoming a woman, I felt over and over and over again this urgency in motion to go, to travel out, to move, anything but stay where I was and stagnate.

On the Move

This is the front page quote and dedication in “Off the Road”. I don’t know what it means to anyone other than an overwhelming sense of relief and comfort as I read it. How about you?

Dosnoventa Short Film Clip

I love this short film too from Dosnoventa with some later words, a wildly expansive text by Jack Kerouac with music from Johnny Cash and Pink Floyd.

Total Bliss.

WE WERE NEVER BORN from Dosnoventa on Vimeo.

So that’s my reading this week.

Until next time….

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