“Cannery Row,” by John Steinbeck
I was 14 years old the first time I read “Cannery Row” by John Steinbeck. The introduction reads: “Cannery Row in Monterey in California is a poem, a stink, a grating noise, a quality of light, a tone, a habit, a nostalgia, a dream.” I was immediately cast into a world of homeless men living in an unused warehouse, and their mentor, Doc, who liked alcohol a bit too much and sold aquatic specimens to make a little money when he got hard up. Their epic frog hunt is among the best prose I have ever read, and I was sorry it ended so soon. Then I learned the story wasn’t over. Doc finds love in the sequel, “Sweet Thursday.” Read them both. The story is priceless.
John Anderson, Minneapolis
Quarantine Reads are soothing books recommended for these fraught times. Send your suggestion, with your name and city, to firstname.lastname@example.org.