Welcome to the On the Road read-a-long! We’re reading this book through June and July. You can see the reading schedule and guidelines on the Starting Post Page.
Week One: Read to Part 1, Chapter 7
Aaaaaand we’re off! Several of us weren’t quite sure what we would think of this book, so I am very curious to hear how it’s turning out for everyone. I am enjoying it (so far) much more than I thought I would. The writing is easy to read; a little reminiscent of Hemingway, no? Though I do find him easier than Hemingway (perhaps because this is a work of fiction rather than the memoir essay style). I appreciate his getting to the point quickly and starting the journey – it has made it kind of exciting to jump right in. How close to real life is this story? I know it was based off of real road trips he took and experiences with friends – but just wondering if anyone knew how closely it was based?
Kerouac is labeled as the person who named the Beat Generation (though not on purpose). Did anyone else notice how often he used “beat” as an adjective? He used it to describe so many things throughout these first seven chapters that it made me smile knowing that he unwittingly named an entire generation of artists this name; it was just his phrase of the moment and I laugh to think of what I could have possibly named generations if accidentally given the chance. (Or worse, what Rachel Zoe would have named a generation… the “I die” generation, anyone?)
I’m actually sad that I didn’t read this as a teenager – I would have LOVED it. Is it just me, or does this feel like the male counterpart to The Bell Jar? Neither of these books were required reading for me in high school, but I managed to discover The Bell Jar and fall in love. It seems that these, as companions, would be the ultimate in teenage summer reading. What’s better for angsty teenage years that books about adventure, new places, crazy-times, and people who are just enough out of the norm to make you realize that you aren’t the only one?
Having said that, I am fully understanding the character of Sal, and remembering what it was like to be younger – to be attracted to the people who “interest me, because 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”; and for knowing when someone wasn’t exactly who they were trying to be – but wanting to be around them anyway because at least they were trying. As I’ve gotten older, these people have interested me less – mostly because of what usually happens after the fun wears off, but oh how I remember how exciting these “mad” types of people are and how drawn to them I was like a moth to a flame!
And Dean! “In the West he’d spent a third of his time in the pool hall, a third in jail, and a third in the public library.” Dean would have been KYRPTONITE to me as a teenager or a young twenty-something (oh who am I kidding… as a late twenty-something as well)!
“I ate another apple pie and ice cream; that’s practically all I ate all the way across the country, I knew it was nutritious and it was delicious, of course.” If only.
Maybe my favorite line in the book, so far - “…there was nowhere to go but everywhere.” (chapter 4, pg. 26 – in my version).
So, let’s hear it – what’s the consensus for our first week of On the Road?
Who’s Reading Along:
** Please don’t forget to come to this blog each Friday and share your thoughts in the comments section of the weekly On the Road discussion (see below for more information).**
Jennifer O. (@LitEndeavors)
Jessica M (@crazylilcuban)
Meg @ A Bookish Affair
Melody (Fingers & Prose)
- If you are participating and I don’t have you on this list, please let me know in the comments section. I did not include people who said ‘maybe’ so if you have changed your mind and are definitely reading along with us, let me know so I can add you. Also, if you are not going to be able to join us anymore please let me know and I will take you off the list.
- Comments from the previous week’s reading will be closing Thursday afternoon (before the next discussion takes place on Friday). If you would like to be part of the discussion, please remember to comment before then.
- Each week, on Friday, share your thoughts about the previous week’s reading. If you are stuck on what to comment about, you can respond to my post or others’ comments. Regardless, you MUST check in each week (two weeks without a response and you will be taken off of the list — see below for details on why). You may have only one “off week” (which may not be the last week of reading for obvious reasons) and still be kept on the list, but you must let me know in the comment section by saying something like, “I’m catching up,” or “I’m still reading.” ***for all week’s discussions please refrain from posting ahead, even if you have read ahead, as to not spoil the book for others***
- If you are a blogger you may post a link to your blog if you are posting about each of the each week’s reading. If I, or other readers, have extra time we will gladly try to visit your blog; however, you must make sure to share your thoughts here on this blog, and be part of the main conversation or your comment will not be counted.
- If you go for two weeks without commenting in my weekly update comments section, I will assume you are no longer participating and will take you off of the list (*NEW GUIDELINE*, in order to get back onthe list, you need to a.) Have missed no more than two weeks of discussion, b.) Let me know you would like to be on the list again, and c.) consistently be part of the discussion for the next two weeks after requesting to be put back on the list.). This is in no way to be discouraging, but helps to keep the read-a-long organized (and helps me remember who’s completed what read-a-long…there (ahem) might be something fun for different levels of participants at the end of the year! Thanks!