Penguin Books has released their first iPad application and delivers an enhanced experience of the seminal Beat Generation classic ‘On the Road’ by Jack Kerouac.
You can look at this new application as the original 1957 classic that defined a generation and a mix of bonus materials. These ‘extras’ includes rare and never-before-seen material: Kerouac family photos, and even audio clips of Kerouac himself. If you fancy yourself an aspiring bohemian beatnik you can walk the path of Jack with fully interactive maps of his legendary trips from 1947, 1949 and 1950. There will also be documents and notes that Jack wrote while on the road.
The original publisher of On the Road was Viking and they have generously donated tons of content to Penguins application. They are coughing up correspondence between Kerouac and the book editors during the writing of the book. Who knows where he found the time but wrote the entire book in three weeks on one giant roll of typing paper.
On the Road was one of my favorite books of all time and defined who I am today. The entire book was clearly and vividly written and gave you an introspective into the post war lifestyle in the late 1950’s. On the Road features the dynamics between Jacks character Sal Paradise and Neal Cassady’s alter ego Dean Moriarty. The book chronicled Jack and Neal traveling all over America in Cars, hitchhiking and hoping on trains. While traveling they meet a colorful montage of characters who end up being some the greatest writers of the modern era.
The one factor of the book that amazed me the most is that it introduced the reader to many other writers who were friends of Jacks and were superb novelists in their own right. Literary stalwarts such as William S. Burroughs, Allen Ginsberg and Ken Kesey were all friends of Jack and where featured in On the Road.
One of the factors that drew me to the Beat Generation was the fact they formed a cohesive motley group of writers. They wrote about each other in their books and their escapades were the basis of their poems and novels. This is something that is lost in the modern day writing world, and it makes me sad. You may have authors who are friends with each other and make draw inspiration from their discussions but it lacks the panache of Jack and the boys.
Penguin has acknologled that this may be the companies first dedicated ebook application that is worth talking about. They previously released an amplified ebook edition of John Steinbeck’s Of Mice and Men, but officials said it does not stack up to “On the Road”
You can buy it now for $12.99 until until July 5, 2011, then its $16.99.
Michael Kozlowski is the Editor in Chief of Good e-Reader. He has been writing about audiobooks and e-readers for the past ten years. His articles have been picked up by major and local news sources and websites such as the CBC, CNET, Engadget, Huffington Post and the New York Times.