In 2005, TIME magazine chose On the Road by Jack Kerouac as one of the 100 best English-language novels from 1923 to then. This largely autobiographical work is based on the spontaneous road trips of Kerouac and his friends across mid-century America. Many consider this book the definitive work of the postwar Beat Generation– inspired by jazz, poetry, and drugs. I have never read it. I picked it up on my last trip to the bookstore, shortly before my trip to Pittsburgh. In college I read Blue Highways by William Least Heat-Moon while backpacking through Europe. Before that I read John Steinbeck’s Travels With Charley on a family road trip. I like to read travel journals while traveling. This time I just got distracted by something shiny– namely a certain wizard.

So I’m about a month late, but I’m looking forward to reading this seminal stream-of-consciousness look at an America that no longer exists– and maybe never did in the first place.