Boozy Books Friday: Celebrating America with On the Road

Happy Friday Nerd Cactus, readers! Hopefully some of you had the day off in early observance of July 4th and are well on your way to an enhanced state of weekend happiness, vis a vis American-themed alcoholic delights. If you didn’t have the day off and are just now getting on your rest and relaxation, there’s no need to worry there’s plenty BBQ, booze, and fireworks to go around.

In honor of our nation’s birthday I thought I’d fuse our weekly selection with some heartfelt Americana. After a quiet debate with myself and remembering that we already covered American Gods (though Neil Gaiman is British so perhaps it would not have been an appropriate choice anyway…) I landed upon an American author whose work helped define an entire generation of Americans; Jack Kerouac. Yes, today The Nerd Cactus will be pairing On the Road, Kerouac’s most famous literary work which strives to capture the America of the late 1940s  and early 1950s.

Made up of five distinct parts and being a largely autobiographical piece, On the Road follows the travels of two young men as they explore their country and their freedom. Capturing the “Beat” movement and the rise of jazz, it is a story which describes the country through the eyes of men determined to find the elusive “IT” in the land of opportunity. The narrator, Sal Paradise, is  a representation of the author and a constant observer of the American way of life. His itch to travel and the irresistible pull that draws him towards Dean Moriarty’s wild lifestyle results in adventure after adventure in multiple cities across the United States.

Though Kerouac’s work may not be for everyone it is a story not only of friendship, but of this country which provides a glimpse of how much (or how little) road-tripping has changed. As for the pairings I think we can all agree that it must be paired with something distinctly American. Given the fact that this story recounts the adventures of Kerouac’s life without being particularly glamorized or embellished upon I also think simplicity is best. So I’d like to recommend Yuengling (if you’re a beer person) or Bourbon (if you’re not a beer person).

That’s all for today! Have a safe and happy Fourth of July!



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