vote for the next book club selection!

well everyone…the time has come for us to choose our next book for the free people book club! this time around we want you to vote…we picked six books from the list of suggestions we got from our readers, a few of which many of you recommended.  check them out, and vote for your top choice!


on the road – final post

well we have come to the end of our first book club selection, jack kerouac’s on the road.

i’ve read the book several times, but this time i really took notice of the writing style.  kerouac got a lot of criticism for his skill as a writer due to the fact that it was written in a creative burst over a span of a few weeks, in one continuous scroll.  however, the content for the book was gathered from notebooks that he kept throughout the duration of his travels, and personally i think that the hurried, frantic nature of the text perfectly suits the subject matter.  it captures the impulsiveness of the adventures that Kerouac and his friends embarked on and the freedom of being on the road without any real destination.

i leave you with this…

“our battered suitcases were piled on the sidewalk again; we had longer ways to go. but no matter, the road is life.”

p.s. we’ll be picking the next book shortly, so stay tuned…


book club update!

as i’m nearing the end of on the road i was inspired to take a look at the fashion of the beat generation.  beatniks were characterized by their rebellious spirit and anti-establishment, anti-materialistic philosophy, and they expressed this through stark and simple fashion.  jack kerouac and his crew wore old, ripped jeans and t-shirts because they didn’t care how they looked, while others wore head-to-toe black with berets or glasses.

what else about the beat generation’s style and culture is still resonant with you today?

share your thoughts in the comments section!  also for those of you reading on the road, try and finish by january 4th if you can, and check the blog for a final post about the book!

on the road: part two

“what is that feeling when you’re driving away from people and they recede on the plain till you see their specks dispersing? – it’s the too-huge world vaulting us, and it’s good-by.  but we lean forward to the next crazy venture beneath the skies.”

what did you all think of part two of on the road? this section of the book finds sal (kerouac) back on the east coast settling in to a quiet contentedness with his girl and school and family, when a surprise visit from dean takes him on another wild cross-country journey.  this trip’s scenery, traveling in dean’s car along with his girl Marylou and their friend ed dunkel, reminds me of my own road trip as they take the southern route across the country.  they stop in new orleans to visit old bull lee (in reality, william s. burroughs), a heroin addict who brings out the madness of the intimate group.  after new orleans, they continue moving on through texas, new mexico, arizona, and then into san francisco via the oakland bay bridge.  this portion of the book is more about their journey on the road than what happens when they get there…which ends up not being much, as sal finds himself broke and homeless, wandering the streets in search of something he never finds.  part two ends with him returning back east, unsure of whether or not he’ll ever see dean again.  why do you think he went on this trip? and why do you think it ends on such a melancholy note?

have any of you ever taken a road trip? where did you start and where did you end up?

firefly literacy fund

some friends of mine are involved in a nonprofit organization called the firefly literacy fund that I think is really cool…it’s all about bridging the opportunity gap in the city of philadelphia by working with families, teachers, schools and shelters.  they have donated hundreds of books to elementary school students and this past october they worked really hard on turning the library at the southwark elementary school into a relaxing and inviting space where kids would want to spend time…and they did a great job, as you can see in the above images. they’re having an event this wednesday to raise money and awareness for this important cause…click here for details, and check out their website!

are any of you involved in good causes? what charities are you most passionate about?

on the road: part one

did everyone finish reading part one of on the road? what did you think? i love part one of the book because it really captures the feelings of freedom and independence as sal (kerouac) crosses the country for the first time. i was lucky enough to be able to take a road trip in the spring of 2008, starting in philadelphia and ending up in san francisco, and it was one of the best things i’ve ever done. after my trip i re-read on the road and found that i had a whole new appreciation for the book. certain passages now had a much more personal meaning for me, such as the part in chapter three where he describes waking up in a hotel room in des moines…
“i woke up as the sun was reddening; and that was the one distinct time in my life, the strangest moment of all, when i didn’t know who i was – i was far away from home, haunted and tired with travel, in a cheap hotel room i’d never seen, hearing the hiss of steam outside, and the creak of the old wood of the hotel, and footsteps upstairs, and all the sad sounds, and i looked at the cracked high ceiling and really didn’t know who i was for about fifteen strange seconds. i wasn’t scared; i was just somebody else, some stranger, and my whole life was a haunted life, and the life of a ghost. i was halfway across america, at the dividing line between the east of my youth and the west of my future, and maybe that’s why it happened right there and then, that strange red afternoon.”
share your thoughts on part one! was there a memorable quote for you?

book club selection 1: on the road by jack kerouac

good morning everyone…i am so excited to announce about the launch of the book club! we have chosen on the road by jack kerouac as the first book featured in the free people book club! this is one of my favorite books of all time, and I can’t wait to hear what you all have to say about it.
since we’re new at this, we’re just going to learn as we go…if you look to the list of categories on the right you’ll see we’ve created one for the book club. you will still be able to see the posts on the main page, but if you ever want to see only book club posts, click there.
here’s how it’s going to work:
on the road is broken into three parts, so we’re going to give you all some time to read the first part and then we’ll start discussing! check back for a post – maybe in the form of a question, a highlight, not quite sure yet – on monday november 23 about part one of the book, and leave any comments you have in the comments section as you normally would. but make sure you don’t spoil the ending for anyone who might not be finished the book yet…
happy reading!