The Kind of Peak that Never Comes Again

Now that my affair with Dracula is over, I have moved on. That’s right, I now hold a bright and shiny new book in my hand. Okay, so that is a lie. It is nowhere near new; it’s in fair condition, at best, and was purchased at a used book sale over a year ago. So, anyways…Where was I? Oh, yes! I have moved on. Farwell, Count Dracula. Hello, Sal Paradise. You guessed it, I am just beginning Jack Kerouac’s celebrated novel, On the Road. I am only a few chapters into part one, but so far, I’m digging it. It reminds me a lot of Hunter S. Thompson’s cult classic, Fear and Loathing in Las Vegas. Maybe it’s the two friends carelessly traveling across the country, or the promise of excitement and bizarre adventure lurking within the text, but whatever it is, Kerouac’s vibe echoes the same one I uncovered in the summer of 2001, when I climbed in the car with Raoul Duke and Dr. Gonzo and headed toward the American Dream. Perhaps, Thompson was a Jack Kerouac fan, and found inspiration in the same book that now sits on my nightstand. Note to self- look into this speculation. You see, for those who do not know me, Hunter S. Thompson played a major role in reinventing my love of reading in adulthood. It’s like this- I was born an only child, and by default (due to the lack of outside entertainment, typically accredited to siblings), I was an avid reader. However, as I aged into young adulthood, I found that books just didn’t excite me the same way they once did. Thompson changed that. He reminded me of the power of human expression, and how amazing it can be to witness it through written word. Now a days, I have made it my life’s work to catch up on the many “classics” written during the 18th and 19th centuries (books like Jane Eyre, Candid, and Anna Karenina), and don’t get me wrong, they are fantastic. However, the more of these I read, the more I realize that my heart belongs to the contemporary section of the library. It just does, I can’t help it. Contemporary literature, to me, is so much sharper, so much more vibrant all the way throughout the story. It’s straight to the point and not afraid to be off-beat and impulsive. So, when I allow myself to pull a book like On the Road down off the self, I cannot help but smirk and long for the wonderful repartee that surely awaits me. You know, I am realizing- I talk a big game, but actually know nothing of this book. All I know is what I have read of it so far, and that it is highly praised by the literary world. I can only pray that the always entertaining formula of sex, drugs, and rock and roll, coupled with a group of disheveled and adventurous youth, will prevail in this novel as it has so many times before.

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