What drew you here?
A good place to start would be what appealed to you about the beats in the first place. I came in through a sidedoor myself-the confrontational surrealism of William Burroughs. As a punk-inspired art school student in the 80's I admired his vicious science fiction imagery. Only later did I find the warm human stories of Kerouac and the rest. Now I admire the Beat embrace of mysticism AND cynicism, their descriptions of the holy in the confusion of modern life. I also find it fascinating that these people all found each other and grew together in often painful ways. This is what keeps me exploring these writers, I'm sure everyone has different reasons. I still have a lot of reading to do in the "canon" but 2 great nonficion books are "Jack's Book an oral biography of jack kerouac" and "Letters of William S Burroughs 1945-1959"