I've moved on to author number two:
"Cuddle up with William S. Burroughs,"
I realise now just how incongruous this marriage of verb and noun is intended to be. I mean, if there were any author whose work you wouldn't want to cuddle up with... Even the author himself is suspect in this regard, having famously accidentally shot his first wife, but I should note that the song's fictional "baby" is enamoured with the authors' works, not with the authors themselves. Well...for the most part. I'll explain later.
I didn't ask for book suggestions this time around: it seems to me that if you're going to read Burroughs, you ought to read Naked Lunch. Nearly half way through it, I'm wondering if that was a wise choice.
My experience so far has been...unusual. I've found most of it surprisingly easy to read, but that ease is surprising: there's no real plot, only the slightest of tenuous structures, no clear point of view. There are three themes knitting it together, though if it is knitted then Burroughs is using some kind of viscous bodily secretion instead of wool, because those themes are drug addiction, violent (mostly homosexual, and frequently fatal) sex, and disease.
This is not a kind of book I've experienced before.
I don't know how representative he is of Beat; perhaps I should try some Ginsberg or Kerouac (neither appear in the song). I've certainly earmarked J. G. Ballard's Empire of the Sun for a post-project read - he's not of the some mould, but in his introduction to my edition of Naked Lunch he claims Burroughs as a major influence, and I can't imagine how that translates to a work like Empire. (I just discovered he also wrote Crash, though, so who knows? They're at least linked by Cronenberg, though given the themes above I can't imagine anyone else making the decision to film this book.)
In any case, this is a new kind of writing for me. More thoughts soon.