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I picked up the book "Animal Farm" by George Orwell after the Borders books clerk had been in disbelief that I hadn't read it. She had approached me earlier when she saw I had a Vonnegut book in hand. She told me about her first Vonnegut ("Breakfast of Champions", mine too) and proceeded to tell me some of her favorite books over the last few years. I was flattered that she shared her favorite books with me. She couldn't have been more than 18, and knows more about lit than when I was her age. I wonder where that came from for her?

For me, I thank my brother for giving me my first novel, one that I truly loved, "On the Road" by Jack Kerouac. That book had traveled with me from Bedford to San Diego to Bedford to Austin and then back to Bedford. It took five years for me to open that book, after returning home for the second time, and when I did I was instantaneously hooked on the writing and philosophy. I've read it three times since.

Last month I had the privilege to view the original scroll of "On the Road" at The Harry Ransom Center in Austin, TX. Kerouac's style of writing, continuous & spontaneous prose, had moved him to cut large pieces of tracing paper and tape them together, cutting out the time it takes to manually insert another piece of paper into the typewriter and avoiding the thought interrupted. The scroll is approximately 120 feet. The exhibit displayed the first 40 ft.