Links: The Jack Kerouac Tour of San Francisco and how to impress a girl with books

29 Russell Street

This was the house of Neal Cassady, inspiration for the character Dean Moriarty in Kerouac’s On the Road, in the 1950s. Via the link.

The other day I came across this link to The Jack Kerouac Tour of SF, compiled by Paul Iorio. It starts out with the obvious spots like City Lights, Jack Kerouac Alley, the Beat Museum and Vesuvio’s, but then moves into some places I didn’t know about, like Neal and Carolyn Cassady’s home (left), where Kerouac stayed in the attic for several months while writing Visions of Cody. It also includes some other places Kerouac lived, as well as neighborhoods, cafes, and performance spaces he frequented. Pretty cool, and definitely something I’ll be doing when I get back to the city.

I also thought this was pretty funny: Dear Paris Review, What Books Impress A Girl? The list at the end hits pretty close to the mark, I think. When I was 17 I used to write impassioned diary entries about my dream man, who I would encounter on a bus reading Nabokov. He would compliment my pink hair and then we’d go to a coffee shop to talk about Pale Fire. I still love Nabokov, but these days I would probably find a guy who wanted to talk about him on a bus tedious; some potential winners might be Michael Chabon’s The Adventures of Kavalier and Clay, Steinbeck, Whitman, really good non-fiction, or, yes, Haruki Murakami. (I cracked up at the “worst book of great author” formula suggested in the article, but in all seriousness, A Wild Sheep Chase is totally underrated and when I find someone who agrees with me I will bond instantly with that person. I feel the same way about Anne Bronte, but she’s significantly less sexy.)

Obviously you shouldn’t read just because you think it’ll help you get laid, but just for fun, what books would you like to see members of your preferred gender reading? 

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12 thoughts on “Links: The Jack Kerouac Tour of San Francisco and how to impress a girl with books

  1. jules1310 says:

    If a guy was reading Jane Austen on the train next to me, I’d probably just ask him to marry me right there and then.

    • Elizabeth says:

      Dang… That wouldn’t quite be my thing, personally (although I love Jane Austen), but this comment made me realize that I included exactly 0 female authors on my list. How shameful! I smell a follow-up post. :)

  2. letizia says:

    I think the idea and question are sweet, although I can’t think of any particular book. I have to say, whenever I see a man reacting to a book in some way (chuckling, frowning, taking notes, agreeing) I just find that so cute…

    • Elizabeth says:

      Totally agreed! It just underscores that it doesn’t matter too much what the book is… it’s more that a love of reading is sexy. :)

      Kind of unrelated, but when I played The Sims 2 I always used to zoom in and watch when the sims were reading books. They made the funniest faces.

  3. [...] the very first comment on my last post made me realize that not only had I not included a single female author on my list of books that [...]

  4. Julie says:

    Ha, I’ve pondered this question for a loooong time — because like you, my dream since high school was to pick up a guy via his reading material. Ironically, the one time it happened to me was when I was reading Neal Stephenson’s Snow Crash on the subway, I was literally 5 pages from the end, and a cute guy did a double-take upon seeing me with it and started talking to me.

    Any other time, I would have been so receptive — but because I was in the climactic shit-hitting-the-fan scenes and ONLY 5 PAGES FROM THE END, I basically went “yes it is amazing ty bye”, shut down the conversation, then buried my head back in the book. I have so much regret over doing this. So much sadness and regret.

    But either way, I’d most like to see genre fiction — notsomuch ~great literary classics~ to inspire intellectual snobbery or high-falutin’ discussion — but just my favourite books: The Shadow of the Wind, Ender’s Game, Discworld, anything Neil Gaiman, anything Iain M. Banks, House of Leaves, recently A Song of Ice and Fire. Not to say that those books can’t inspire discussion, because they can, but that I’m not too concerned about stereotypical intellectual prestige.

    • Elizabeth says:

      Oh, no!!! Haha. I can understand both wanting people on the subway to GO AWAY! during a climactic scene and regretting it later. And I agree on the genre fiction, actually… Serious Literary Discussion seemed the height of sexiness back in the day, but these days talking to a stranger about “literature” feels too much like school. Also whenever this happens to me (and it does occasionally) it sets off alarm bells in my head that the person is someone like the guy who originally wrote in, all “HOW DO I MAKE GIRLS THINK I’M SMART???” rather than someone who actually likes reading. A genuine interest (in anything) is way better than that kind of posing.

      • Julie says:

        Yeah, precisely! Serious Literary Discussion feels it runs the risk of turning into oneupmanship & trying to exaggerate how smart you sound, all just to impress. While, say, get me chattering about typography in House of Leaves (as you yourself have witnessed!) or utopian society in the Culture novels or George R. R. Martin’s female characters, and I think that makes for intellectual discussion that comes from unbridled enjoyment — rather than sounding like you’ve recycled soundbites from the classroom.

  5. [...] I honestly feel kind of silly even writing this. But hell, my most-commented post here was about books and dating, so I know we book nerds can appreciate the frivolous side of life when we want to. And although I [...]

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