Friday, March 23, 2012
A person who will not read has no advantage over one who can not read.
John Steinbeck’s Cannery Row is one of the revered books of the American canon and takes its name from a street lined with sardine fisheries in Monterey. The novel revolves around the lives of its inhabitants: Chinese grocers; bums; bouncers; prostitutes; the local marine biologist (!) and other assorted chancers and ne’er-do-wells. As much a series of vignettes as a coherent narrative, the book does a supreme job reconstructing a certain time and place that seems very distant from the world today. As such, it is a masterpiece.
It is incredibly funny, yet surprisingly poignant. As ever Steinbeck does a superb job recreating both the exuberance of community and the loneliness of the individual. This really is a fantastic book, one of the best I’ve read in a while. Extremely highly recommended!
Second up is something a little different, Philip K. Dick’s Time Out of Joint. First published in 1959, the book captures a lot of Dick's recurrent themes concerning the nature of reality and the challenge that comes when ordinary people in ordinary lives suddenly begin feeling that the world is unravelling around them. To say any more would very much give the game away, but it’s enough to say that it all gets quite odd.
A decent read that touches on a lot of interesting points, I’d be happy to recommend this.