Saturday, June 10, 2006

Summer Reading List: One down, One to Add...

So I just finished Cannery Row. It was a quick and fun read, coming in at 181 pages. I started it yesterday while getting the 'diva put back into my hair, and finished just now here on my couch.

As predicited, I can read between the lines and see a tie in to Land Use and Civil Engineering. The characters in this book depend heavily on a sense of community that just wouldn't be possible in today's subdivision society. There is a feeling that all of these people are tied into each other- for better or for worse. They seem to feel about each other the way that we feel about our brothers and sisters- though they may annoy us, they are our kin and therefore we will always find a way to live together.

Perhaps that is why people initially sought out the idea of the Post WWII subdivision- the chance to get away from the peering eyes and needs of their neighbors. A 3/4 acre buffer of perfect lawn and trimmed hedges that keeps us from every having to know who lives next door, let alone make sure they are fed and clothed.

But something about that seems a little lonely to me. (As we speak I live in a rural corner of this world with a few neighbors that I barely know myself)

Cannery Row is painfully funny the whole way through- the main characters are a pack of well meaning hobos who though their hearts are in the right spot, they never seem to get it right. And in the end, I came to the realization that is just what makes them so great.

In reading the dust jacket, I realized that Steinbeck set another novel in Monterey- Tortilla Flat. So now I will add that to my list as well.