Tuesday, July 31, 2012

Top Ten Tuesday: 10 Characters I'd Switch Places With

Today's Top 10 topic by The Broke & The Bookish is an interesting one and was pretty easy for me. 10 characters I'd switch places with? Here we go!

1. Hermione-I'd handle being tortured by Bellatrix if it meant I got Ron Weasley and lived in the magical wizarding world in the end! :) And tied for first place would be Professor McGonagall, because she's frigging awesome. She gets to turn into a cat without all the nasty Polyjuice side-effects!

2. Anna (and The French Kiss)-I want that fresh, exciting love and bonus points for it being in Paris.

3. Mary Anne, secretary extraordinaire of The Baby-Sitters Club-I don't know if I would necessarily want to be Mary Anne, but she is the most similar to me. Although I don't cry nearly as much.

4. Becky Bloomwood (Confessions of a Shopaholic)-OMG, this first book came out in 2000?? Wow, I feel old now. Anyway, yes, Becky has debt and all that, but she has fabulous things and she always gets out of trouble and in the end she gets the super handsome, David Beckham-esque rich dude who takes care of everything. Plus a cute kid. Who doesn't want that?

5. Scout (To Kill a Mockingbird)-she may not have grown up in the best time or place, but she sure has the best family I've ever seen (even without a Mama).

6. Elizabeth Wakefield of Sweet Valley-okay, yes she does that whole evil twin thing (and I'm not talking about Margo), but come on...who didn't want to be one of the twins back in the day? "long, golden hair, blue-green eyes, a tan, and a dimple in their left cheek." I kind of want to start buying all of these too like the BSC books. That would be totally crazy though, wouldn't it? 

7. Zannah McFee (Hunky Dory Dairy)-no real reason, I'm just weird like that. ;) I'd like to go to Pineapple Place too.

8. Bella Swan-I know you're all thinking "whaaaa???" But hear me out! I would want to be Bella so I can turn her life around and make her not such a whiny, over-indulged, dependent on stalker boyfriends, selfish girl. Heh. And also, I would make her have maybe some expressions every once in a while?

9. Ramona Quimby-big sister named Beezus, doll named Chevrolet, what's not to love?

10.Sister Bear from the Berenstain Bears-I stalled out on the last one, so I asked my sister and this is who she said lol. She dressed up as Sister Bear once in elementary school and these were her absolute favorite books. 

Monday, July 30, 2012

Review: "The Winter of Our Discontent" Classic a Month #7

The Winter of Our Discontent by Jon Steinbeck
4 out of 5 stars

Yep, more Steinbeck! Are you getting sick of it yet? ;) I think I'm almost done...I have Of Mice & Men to review and I checked out Tortilla Flat from the library this weekend. Maybe another Literary Death Match for those two? We'll see!

As my official July classic, this one was almost up there with Cannery Row. It has a good story, with an actual linear plot, where most of his books don't. But it also has those beautiful descriptive passages that I love so much.

A day, a livelong day, is not one thing but many. It changes not only in growing light toward zenith and decline again, but in texture and mood, in tone and meaning, warped by a thousand factors of season, of heat or cold, of still or multi winds, torqued by odors, tastes, and the fabrics of ice or grass, of bud or leaf or black-drawn naked limbs. And as a day changes so do its subjects, bugs and birds, cats, dogs, butterflies and people.

This is essentially a story about a man, Ethan Allen Hawley, and his struggle between his morals and his desire for ambition. Ethan is middle-aged, married, with two teenage children. He is a war vet and a grocery store clerk. He is the grandson of a successful sea captain/pirate. His family helped found the town and his name still holds weight. But for Ethan, none of that means anything if he doesn't have the money to back it up. To his family, he is a failure. A decent, hard-working man, but a failure nonetheless.

Ethan has a dry sense of humor and a strong sarcastic streak, so it's kind of hard to tell sometimes whether he is being serious or not. He calls his wife silly pet names, like "ladybug", "my rumpled duck", and "wiggles". But underneath that, you can tell he loves her with all his heart and will do anything to make her happy. Anything.

The high level of morality that Ethan has attained over the years is threatened when he starts to notice that his friends and fellow businessmen are only concerned with two things: money and how to get more money. He begins to struggle with the idea that maybe he should join them in that quest for more, more, more. Suddenly, Ethan is ambushed everywhere he turns by greed, deceit, and scheming. Should he join them? Should he make his family proud finally and become a success again? At the cost of his morals? At the cost of his life-long friends and the high standards his children hold him to?

That pivotal moment when he decides to go thru with his plans: giving his old friend, Danny, money to essentially drink himself to death so that he leaves his land in Ethan's name; making the step by step plans to rob the bank; turning his boss into immigration and in turn getting the store back...all these things bring Ethan to an ethical crisis. This is probably crazy (and speaks to my own lackluster moral standards), but I actually wanted Ethan to rob the bank and was pretty disappointed when he didn't.

Does he deserve the money and success, just because he got away with it? Everyone still thinks he is an upstanding citizen, but in his heart, he knows he is not. He is horrified to realize his children have somehow inherited that dark streak: his son plagiarized his winning essay, his daughter tattles on him. Yes, he is successful now, but how can he live with himself knowing how he got there?

That moment at the very end, 3 pages from the last, when he goes to the bathroom and picks up the razor blades made my heart stop for a minute. I desperately wish Steinbeck had gone on one more chapter after that. Yes, Ethan was saved by his daughter that time. But will there be another time? How can he go on living like that? Will he do something good with his money or become one of the suit-wearing, fast-talking, slick businessmen in town? Ugh, such an ending!

You know most people live ninety percent in the past, seven percent in the present and that only leaves them three percent for the future.

Wednesday, July 25, 2012

Review: "Dawn's Wicked Stepsister: The Baby-Sitters Club #31"

Dawn's Wicked Stepsister: The Baby-Sitters Club #31 by Ann M Martin
3 out of 5 stars

This is the second part to Mary Anne & Dawn's Big Day, AKA when they become siiiiisters foreeeeeever. This cover really bugs me, just like the last one. Mary Anne has weird puffy hair and is wearing mom jeans. And Dawn looks nothing like her usual description: extra long, extra blonde hair (it's almost white), and very pale blue eyes....dress the way I want - a style my friends call California casual. I guess that style falls somewhere between Stacey's and Kristy's. First of all, her hair looks shorter than Mary Anne's and is more of a dirty blonde. And why are all 3 of them wearing stripey shirts? Was there a rugby sale at Bloomingdale's?

Okay, whatever. We open back up at the wedding and Mrs. Schafer-Spier tossing the wedding bouquet...which Mary Anne catches! Dawn is kind of pissed, because she thinks it should have been her, but she covers it up pretty well and hugs her new sis. And Mary Anne starts the crying that lasts approximately 4 chapters ugh. After the wedding, all the BSCers + Logan go back to MA's old house to dish about the wedding. "Dish" means "gossip", just an FYI. ;) MA & Dawn spend the night in MA's old room alone while their parents are on their pathetic honeymoon at the Strathmoore Inn (seriously, they didn't even sleep in the next day) and the next day is Moving Day.

MA cries over everything that comes out of the house and Dawn is getting pretty annoyed with her, which I totally get. It just gets worse once they get to Dawn's house...nothing fits in their room (they decided that sharing a room would make the sister bonding work even better...let me tell you first hand, it doesn't), poor little Tiggy-poo is scared and confused and won't stop meowing, and MA turns into Little Miss CrankyPants. Dawn's "real" brother, Jeff, is more than ready to get out of town on Sunday night and even tells Dawn that he thinks the new family is going to have some trouble. Way to be astute, kid.

The new sibs decide to make things better by sharing clothes on Monday and all is good until the BSC meeting later, when they get in a tiff over a sitting job and MA tells Dawn that her skirt looks a little "tight" on her, basically calling her fat. Hah! Way to step it up MA! Claudia, on the other hand, looks pretty dang hawt, if I do say so myself. (When do they invent "dibbly" as a word? I keep wanting to use it.) Here's a What Claudia Should Have Been Wearing for you...

Claudia was wearing black stonewashed skinny jeans with a black cropped sweater over a bright pink tank-top. Her hair was piled up in a faux-hawk and cascaded down her back. She had about 30 brightly colored plastic bangles on one wrist and 6 or 7 black rings on her fingers. In her left ear she had a long, dangly bright blue feather earring and in the other, bright yellow studs. Her platform heals were an amazing thrift-store find that she had to sneak out of the house in her backpack, but they were totally worth it, and she had paired them with black fishnet stockings under her jeans. She looked at least 17 today.

So after that little tiff, it all goes downhill. MA & Dawn argue over having the radio on or not while doing homework (I vote on), how to do chores, who's parent is better, etc etc....It culminates with MA moving into the guest room for the week and the two not talking to each other. It gets so bad that Dawn even asks KRISTY for advice. I know right?!

Let's leave the stepsister feud for a minute and talk about the Pike Family Plague. It all starts with Mallory and trickles down the line until every last kid and adult is sick or injured. We've got chicken pox, bronchitis, pneumonia, colds, sprained ankle, strained back, burned hands and probably something else I'm missing. I bet even the family hamster is sick. So they need extra help from the BSC and Mal is kinda cranky about it at first, because she wants to be an adult like right this minute, but she gets over it. And I'm sorry, I find it incredibly hard to believe that Stacey's over-protective, "be safe and be careful" mom would let her baby-sit at the quarantined house, even with a mask on.

Okay, back to SSWWI (StepSister World War I)...Dawn finally realizes that maybe sharing rooms wasn't the best idea ever. (Duh, didn't you learn anything from Mar-Car in Mary Anne's last book??) But she doesn't want to kick MA out, because she doesn't want to seem like the bad guy. So what does she do? Comes up with a plan to scare the crap out of MA with her secret, haunted passage. Yes, really. She even sets it up so she has an alibi for that time. Wow. Dawn makes all kinds of scary noises in the passage when MA is home alone one night, throws stuff at the walls, makes the door creak open and when MA runs screaming from the room, leaves creepy stuff like a finger-shaped bone and a rose on her desk. Who does that kind of stuff to someone they supposedly love and are BFF's with?? Well, as you can imagine, MA hightails it out of there and moves all her stuff to the guest room. Of course, she may have to have therapy now, but it's cool...she probably already was with her dad's strict rules and such. NO WIRE HANGERS!! ;) Dawn and Mary Anne are BFF's again and that's the most important thing.

Tuesday, July 24, 2012

Top Ten Tuesday: Most Vivid Book Worlds

The Top 10 Most Vivid Book Worlds is a great topic! Thanks to The Broke & The Bookish! :) This is going to be a short and sweet post today, so let's get going!

1. Hoggy-Hoggy-Hogwarts...er, that would be Harry Potter's world by JK Rowling in case you didn't know or have been living in a cave or something.

2. Cannery Row in Monterey, CA by John Steinbeck. Just go read my review to see why. :)

3. The strange and unusual world of 1Q84 by Haruki Murakumi...it may seem like 1984 Tokyo, but it so is not. I need to review this one soon!

4. The Fayz in the Gone books by Michael Grant, similar to Hunger Games, but set in present times and that almost makes it more terrifying.

5. Pretty/Ugly Town in the Uglies series by Scott Westerfield. Bubbly making hot-air balloons and floating ice rinks, what's not to love?

6. The Graveyard Book by Neil Gaiman (or any of his books really). This one is set in a graveyard, with like dead people and stuff. ;)

7. Xanth by Piers Anthony...full of puns and potty humor, but still an incredible, amazing, inventive world.

8. Narnia by CS Lewis...I always counted The Lion, The Witch, and The Wardrobe as the first book and truthfully, my favorite. It brings the world of Narnia to life. I need to reread this soon I think.

9. The Forest in Where The Wild Things Are by Maurice Sendak. This book and its illustrations will take you to another world.

10. Stoneybrook, CT home of The Baby-Sitters Club by Ann M Martin. Yes, it's the simplest world, but for me, the most real and the most ingrained in my brain (besides Hogwarts of course).
(thanks to Leah Riley for uploading this!)

Thursday, July 19, 2012

TILT: Book Lovers Unite! +Random Thoughts

Today's Things I Love Thursday was easy-peasy...books. Book lovers. Passion for books. You got it? Good! :)

(click picture to make larger or here for details)

And a few random things that popped in my head this morning:

*I'm at 58% on my reading challenge for the year. Woot woot. Did you make a challenge for yourself? How are you doing on it?

*You know how on my last TILT I was totally disgusted with my bookshelves? Well, last week I suddenly had the bright idea to turn my extra shelf (that I had wanted to get rid of) on its butt in front of my window and push my old, ghetto plushy reading chair (that is too heavy to get rid of right now lol) to the corner. Can you say a big, fat DUH!? Here's the shelf a few years ago, on it's side...I put the stuffed animals away a while back and lately it's just been holding my to-reads. So I did it over the weekend and totally reorganized all my books and I LOVE IT!! I am so happy with it, I don't know WHAT took me so long!

*Going along with that, I still want to hang some pictures and stuff up and then I was thinking of doing a bookshelf tour on video. What do y'all think? I really like the vlogs but I've never done one. It'll have to be on my iPhone, so I'm not sure how well it will turn out. But I'm going to try!

Monday, July 16, 2012

Steinbeck Death Match: "The Red Pony" vs "The Pearl"

 Two Steinbeck classics face off in this first ever Literary Death Match! In the first corner, we have The Red Pony, "The moving and beautiful story of a boy, a sorrel colt and the sun-drenched California earth. It is one of Steinbeck's most beloved works and will be treasured by generations". Well, we'll see about that. And in the other corner, we have The Pearl, "a timeless and unforgettable novel of men and women - and good and evil. It is a book to be read many times and cherished forever." Let's see how the two fair in some choice categories, shall we?
(image courtesy of LiteraryDeathMatch)

The Red Pony--
1. Billy Buck was a cool dude. He tried to help Jody not once but twice to get a pony. And he stood up to Jody's dad when the boy was upset. +5 points
2. Jody "was only a little boy, ten years old, with hair like dusty yellow grass and with shy polite grey eyes." +1
3. The Red Pony: "Well, I guess he can bite all right." +1
4. "He helped the gentle wind push [the clouds] down the sky; it seemed to him that they went faster for his help." +2
5. Jody taking the mare to the stallion. "Instantly Nellie's mood changed. She became coquettishly feminine. She nibbled his arched neck with her lips. She edged around and rubbed her shoulder against his shoulder." +4
6. The Junius Maltby story. I think I enjoyed it better than all the rest of the Jody stories. +4

The Pearl--
1. The baby's name is Coyotito. +1 point
2. The use of songs throughout. "His people had once been great makers of songs so that everything they saw or thought or did or heard became a song." +5
3. "The gray oysters with ruffles like skirts on the shells, the barnacle-crusted oysters with little bits of weed clinging to the skirts and small crabs climbing over them." +2
4. The Pearl of the World +1 (+3 at first, then -2 in the end)
5. The spring in the mountains. "nearly always it gushed out, cold and clean and lovely." +1

The Ick Factor:
The Red Pony--
1. Gabilan's "cold". Horse mucus ew. -3 points
2. Gabilan's tracheotomy. Seriously? -4
3. The buzzards. 'Nough said. -5
4. Jody killing the bird. -1
5. Nellie's colt's birth. -4

The Pearl--
1. The doctor's sanctimonious benefactor routine. -3
2. Kino's supposed friends trying to steal the pearl. -1
3. Kino's attack outside his home. -1
4. Kino killing the trackers. -3
5. Coyotito gets shot, the top of his head blown off. -4

All The Tears:
The Red Pony--
1. Gabilan dies. The Red Pony, the title character, dies within 35 pages! -5 points
2. Jody's pride at doing a good job with his first pony. +2
3. Nellie has her colt. "There's something wrong." Noooo!! -3
4. Billy Buck's sadness and guilt for the two ponies and Jody. -2
5. Carl (Jody's dad) making fun of the Grandfather for telling his stories all the time. -2
6. Junius Maltby's son going to school & becoming the popular child. +3
7. The school board giving clothes to Junius' son: "why I don't think he ever knew he was poor until a moment ago." +1 (really a +2 because it's a touching moment, but a -1 because poor boy.)

The Pearl--
1. Coyotito gets stung by a scorpion!! Is he going to die on page 7?? -4
2. Kino's vision for his family after the wealth of the pearl. +2
3. Those jerk pearl buyers trying to fleece Kino. -2
4. Kino beating his wife when she tries to throw the pearl away. "I am a man." -3
5. "Here is your pearl. Can you understand? You have killed a man. We must go away. They will come for us, can you understand?" -2
6. Kino's home is burned down. -1
7. "I have it [the pearl]. And I will keep it. I might have given it as a gift, but now it is my misfortune and my life and I will keep it. His eyes were hard and cruel and bitter." +1 (+2 for the writing, -1 for the meaning)
8. "the keening, moaning, rising hysterical cry from the little cave in the side of the stone mountain, the cry of death." -3

Death Count:
The Red Pony--
1. Gabilan -5 points
2. The old man & old horse presumably -2
3. Nellie -4
4. Junius Maltby's wife and 2 children -3
5. Junius & son's ideal life -2

The Pearl--
1. The scorpion +1
2. The stranger Kino kills. -1
3. Kino's boat, that has been passed down to him for generations. -1
4. Trackers -3
5. Coyotito -5

Overall Likeability: 
The Red Pony--I liked Jody and Billy. +3 Junius Maltby was a fun addition. +2 But the deaths and the grossness really did it in for me. -3 The short stories with no connection was hard to follow. -1

The Pearl--I enjoyed the story better for the most part. +4 Kino's dreams for his family were inspiring. +3 The baby died. -3 They didn't get their dream future anyway and basically lost everything they already had. -3

The Red Pony--Negative 21 points. Oh dear, that is not good. :(
The Pearl--Negative 22 points. Wow. I was not expecting that.

So that Death Match was interesting...both books came out in the neg. After the marvelousness of Cannery Row, I was pretty disappointed with these two. I'm still going to keep trying more Steinbeck though. I just bought Of Mice & Men, which I read in HS and enjoyed, so we'll see how that comes out now. And I still have The Winter of Our Discontent from the library, I'll probably read that next.

What did you think of the Death Match? Did you like the format? Do you agree with my choices and points?

Tuesday, July 10, 2012

Top Ten Tuesday: 10 Books on My Shelf I Still Haven't Read

This week's Top Ten Tuesday over on The Broke & The Bookish was a freebie, so I checked out their archives and decided on "10 Books on My Shelf I Still Haven't Read". (Their post here, if you're interested!) I currently have 18 books on my to-read shelf, but I know it's actually a lot more than that. I never added all the books I got last fall at the Half Price warehouse sale (I really hope they do that again this year!!) But these are books that have been on there for a while or I actually bought on purpose and not randomly.

1. Odd Hours: Odd Thomas #4 by Dean Koontz -I am ashamed to say that this has been on my shelf since Aug 2008. I was very into Koontz books for a long time and loved the other Odd Thomas books. But I think by the time this one came out, I was mostly over them. I think I'll read it eventually though, which is why I've kept it.

2. A Lion Among Men: The Wicked Years #3 by Gregory Maguire -Also from 2008 eesh. I think I actually started this one, but couldn't stay interested because it had (again) been so long since I'd read the others. I'll probably have to do a reread of the whole series eventually. And I think there's even a 4th one out now?

3. The Mysterious Benedict Society (#3) & The Prisoner's Dilemma by Trenton Lee Stewart -arg, another series book. This one is from 2009 and another I need/want to reread the series first. And another, another that I think has a new one out. Maybe I should make August "Clear off your dang To-Read Shelf!!" month lol.

4. The Summer Before: The Baby-Sitters Club #0 by Ann M Martin -okay, this one isn't as bad. I got it last year when I was finishing up my collection of BSC books and I don't plan on reading it til I finish the series, so it's going to be on my shelf for a looooong time lol.

5. The Reckoning: Darkest Powers #3 by Kelley Armstrong -I almost sold this whole series a while back, without even reading the 3rd book, but I stopped myself just in time.

6. The Indian in the Cupboard by Lynne Reid Banks -I loved this book as a kid and found it one day at HPB, I'm really looking forward to reading it again and seeing how it stands up.

7. The entire Gossip Girl series by Cecily von Ziegesar -I know, I know. I got the whole series at the HPB warehouse sale for an insane price. I read the first one, thought it was pretty bad, nothing like the TV series (which I love and am a season behind, so no spoilers please!). I read that they get better after the first one, but haven't picked it up yet.

8. Lover Unleashed: Black Dagger Brotherhood #9 by JR Ward -I'm waiting for the right time to read this one. :) Yum.

9. Bitterblue: Graceling Realm #3 by Kristin Cashore -so excited to read this one still, but some books need to be savored, you know? I'm thinking within the month though.

10.Bite Club: Morganville Vampires #10 by Rachel Caine -I just picked this one up the other day. I love this series so much (like numbers 8 and 9), I want it to last forever. Plus, it's a quick read so I'll probably pick it up on a weekend and finish it in a day. :)

Monday, July 9, 2012

Review: "Mary Anne & The Great Romance: The Baby-Sitters Club #30"

Mary Anne & The Great Romance: The Baby-Sitters Club #30 by Ann M Martin
2 out of 5 stars

All that foreshadowing in the previous books is finally coming true! Logan got Mary Anne knocked up....oh. No wait, that's not right. Mary Anne's dad and Dawn's mom are getting married! There that's better. ;) This cover is hooorrrrrible. Dawn's "hip" sailor dress, Mary Anne's Laura Ashley dress, Mrs Schafer's not pale pink, not from the twenties dress. Hey, I just had a thought...shouldn't "Mrs. Schafer" have been "Ms. Schafer" or "Ms. Porter" all this time? Semantics shemantics I guess.

The book starts out with Mary Anne hanging out at Dawn's house and displaying all the ways they are different: Dawn is a veggie-eater, Mary Anne isn't. Dawn is obsessed with Haley Mills, MA just likes her. Dawn has a scary haunted passage in her room, MA is a big scaredy-cat. Etc etc etc...When Dawn gets a call from Jeff, MA goes back in time a la Wayne's World and thinks about where the BSC started. They must get sick of thinking about each other in detail so often. Anyway, let's see What Claudia is Wearing! I obviously took some liberties, but Entropificus does a great job of drawing it. :)

She always wears the trendiest outfits. For instance, at our last meeting she was wearing layers - a shocking pink tunic over a white shirt with pink and yellow umbrellas printed on it. Over the tunic was a wide, low-slung yellow belt with a pink plastic buckle. The shirt, but not the tunic (why does that matter?), was tucked into a pair of black knickers, and below the knickers were yellow stockings.

When MA and Dawn are surprised by their parents' engagement, they immediately go overboard with wedding plans and become the Super StepSisters in training. They're pretty disappointed when the adults squash their big fat Stoneybrook wedding, but are happy again when they can invite the other BSCers. (Which adds up to more than all the other guests combined.) Everything is super-de-duper awesomesauce...until MA finds out that they are all going to live in Dawn's house after the wedding and even worse, Dawn knew before her. MA throws a big ol' hissy cow, but she eventually comes to terms with it...or does she? This book is a "to be continued..." and we get Dawn's side of the story next time. Oooh...scandalous!

What's up with the Stoneybrook kids you ask? Well, my favorite twins, Marilyn & Carolyn, are back and boy, are they having troubles. In fact, they are eerily similar to what MA & Dawn are going thru. What?! How can that be?! Mar-Car are two unique individuals now, but still having issues expressing that. The Mar-Car that is more popular and has lots of friends is suddenly ignoring the Mar-Car who isn't and that's pissing her off. The loser Mar-Car invents a friend named Gozzie Kunka and those idiot BSCers fall for it (again). But it's cool. The BSCers figure out that Mar-Car need their own rooms and tell their parents to make it happen or else! I'm kind of surprised Kristy hasn't had a Bright Idea to teach a parenting class or something, because these Stoneybrook parents obviously need some help. Despite that significant afternoon special, MA & Dawn decide to share a room after the wedding and we end with Mrs. Schafer-Spier tossing her wedding bouquet...straight at Dawn and Mary Anne. OMG, the suspense!!

Thursday, July 5, 2012

Review: "Cannery Row" Classic a Month #6

Cannery Row by John Steinbeck
5 out of 5 stars

My sister picked this classic for June for me, because she went thru a huge Steinbeck phase right after high school and wanted me to read more of his books. Turns out this was one of the few she actually hadn't read though lol. Luckily, I ended up enjoying it immensely. It was a simple but beautiful book and I highly, highly recommend it. I do have a confession to make before I get into the review though and it's pretty embarrassing. I've always pronounced the title as "Canary Row" like the bird. Until I started reading it and realized it was about a canning factory town and it was actually "Cannery Row". *hangs head*

Okay, so this book is told in a series of small stories or vignettes. The stories have little do with each other individually, but they grow into a bigger picture of the town and its people. In the end, you're left with this beautiful picture of small-town life and its quirky inhabitants. (Side Note: I was just Googling stuff about the book and found out there is a sequel, called Sweet Thursday! Awesome. Classic for July? Possibly!)

Cannery Row in Monterey in California [in the mid 1930s] is a poem, a stink, a grating noise, a quality of light, a tone, a habit, a nostalgia, a dream. Wow. John Steinbeck is the master of description (not disguise). I hadn't read any of his books since high school and I am honestly really regretting it now. The way he twists words and creates worlds just makes me want to wrap myself up in them like a blanket. And obviously, he makes me want to be more descriptive too lol.

If there had to be a main character in this story, I guess it would be Doc. The owner of a biology lab that sells sea creatures (and other creatures) to students and researchers, Doc somehow became the fountain of philosophy and science and art of this town. People come to him for wisdom, beauty, monetary and theological help. And when they do, he is there. No questions asked. It's for this reason that a ne'er-do-well named Mack and his "boys" decide to throw Doc a party. Although their hearts are in the right place, things never end up quite right when these guys are involved. [T]hey were the worst threats to a home, for they offered ease and thought and companionship as opposed to neatness, order, and properness. The party scenes were probably some of my favorite parts of the story.

I honestly don't know what else I can say about this book. Read it. Enjoy the lyrical ups and downs of the words. Highlight the parts that grab you, the passages you can taste and smell and feel. Although this book is nothing like The Book Thief, it has that same hold on me; its words have been embedded in my heart. And now I'm wondering if it is the story of Cannery Row or the talent of John Steinbeck that strikes such a chord. I think July's classic is going to be Steinbeck too, but not this sequel. Yes, I have decided. :)

Then the sun came up and shook the night chill out of the air the way you'd shake a rug.