REVIEW: Cannery Row

About halfway through Cannery Row I couldn’t decide how I felt about Steinbeck’s writing style, and it (by “it” I mean my neurotic mind) was distracting me from the story. I opted, however, to power on through and figure it out along the way. While pondering my ambivalence towards Steinbeck’s writing style, I became completely swept up in the characters and forgot all about the neurotic debate I was tackling inside.

Steinbeck creates a realistic atmosphere, with strong and likeable stock characters that you can’t help but find charming. The main plot is sweet, without any superfluous frills, and the interspersed vignettes add a variety of flavors – most of which my palate enjoyed.

While Cannery Row might not be a book that sticks with me forever (and I have yet to figure out what wasn’t clicking with me at first), I can’t help but give credit to Steinbeck for pleasantly distracting me from my biggest nuisance – my own overly analytical intellect. So, you got me, John, I will venture further into the library of your works.

Rating: 4 Jugs of Whiskey


Let’s Support Self-Published Authors

Hey gang!

Some awesome people I know have been brave enough to tackle writing their own novels. And, I’m in total awe.  A blog post or essay, I can handle. But, what these guys do is truly amazing.

First up:

Matthew Davenport

Matthew Davenport lives in Des Moines, Iowa with his beautiful wife, Ren. He spends his time writing, reading, and working to promote and support writing communities in Iowa through his company Davenport Writes, LLC.

You can keep track of Matthew through his twitter account @spazenport.

You can follow his blog at

And MOST importantly you can check out his books, including The Trials of Obed Marsh here: Matthew Davenport on Amazon

Next, I would like to shine a spotlight on…

Sue Raymond

Sue Raymond was born and raised in the Midwest along with her siblings. Sue was trained in the Commercial art field before marrying her husband. After raising two sons and having five grandchildren Sue started a new avenue in her life, writing. She has six published novels as she works on four other novels and children’s stories.

Sue is currently promoting her DeBois Crime Murder Mystery Box Set

And you can find the rest of her works here: Sue Raymond on Amazon


Check them out. Pass them along. Get people reading!

REVIEW: Shantytown

I went into reading César Aira’s Shantytown completely blind. I didn’t know anything about the plot, and I had never read any of his other works. All I knew was that my pops is a huge fan. I am so glad I entered Shantytown with no preconceptions; it’s rare to be able to achieve that. But, even if I had some prior knowledge or even an inkling to what the plot was, there is no way it would have ruined the Aira experience, because he is a master of the unexpected.

10 pages into reading Shantytown I had a solid idea of the kind of novel it would be. 150 pages later, I was proven wrong, in the best way possible.

Aira takes you on a beautifully interwoven and smartly paced journey filled with enticing characters, corruption, and suspense, which leaves you thinking “I don’t know how the hell I got here, but I sure loved the ride.” Somehow he manages to decorate all of this with honesty and moments of genuine human goodness.

I don’t want to touch on the plot or specifics of the characters, because I want you to have as similar an experience as I did. So, I will end on this note: Aira is a special gem in the world of contemporary fiction. While Shantytown is my only experience reading him thus far, I am confident that I will enjoy a similar thrill from his other works. His genius is blatantly apparent.

Rating: 5 Light bulbs