“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


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