The Dharma Bums, a 1958 novel by Beat Generation author Jack Kerouac. Kerouac’s semi-fictional accounts of hiking and hitchhiking through the West inspired me to embark on my own footloose adventures. In his latest book, Kerouac in Ecstasy: Shamanic Expression in the Writings, Thomas R. Bierowski explores Kerouac’s writing as ecstatic technique. As Bierowski puts it, “One of the duties of the archaic shaman was to retrieve lost souls and bring them back for the psychic good of the tribe. At the height of his artistic powers, Kerouac renders all of his Beat heroes in order to provide his readers with the possibility of communing, as he has, with these great souls.” Read more.