Jack Kerouac's 'On The Road' sat on my bookshelf for about 10 years before I finally got around to reading it. I was packing my belongings up ready to move out, deciding what to keep and what to give away. Even though I hadn't made the effort to read it, I was reluctant to give it up. I sat on the floor and read a couple of pages, telling myself it would have to go if I couldn't get into it quickly, and ended up reading the whole book. Since then it has been my favourite book.
"The only people for me are the mad ones, the ones who are mad to live, mad to talk, mad to be saved, desirous of everything at the same time, the ones that never yawn or say a commonplace thing, but burn, burn, burn like fabulous yellow roman candles exploding like spiders across the stars..."
The story of how Kerouac wrote 'On The Road' on one huge scroll of paper - supposedly in a three-week burst while on benzedrine - has always fascinated me and in my head I thought one day I would go and see it on display in America. So when I heard that the scroll was heading for the British Library late last year I had to go and see my favourite book in its original form.
The original 'On The Road' scroll
Me and the scroll.
- The original scroll manuscript, typed by Kerouac in a three-week burst, measures 120ft
- It's only been fully rolled out twice
- It was bought for $2.43 million (£1.51 million) in 2001 - the highest ever amount for a literary manuscript
- That's $20,250 (£12,555) per foot
- It has a typo on the first line - 'I first met met Neal...'
- The end of the scroll was chewed by a dog
- More than 10 million copies of 'On The Road' have been sold - I own two of those