Friday, January 20, 2012

Required Reading for Everybody

Cannery Row at IndieBound
Rebecca Joines Schinsky, of the Book Lady's Blog, suggests required reading for everybody as a cure for what ails us. Leaving aside logistical questions of translation, publication, distribution and follow-up: imagine going anywhere in the world, meeting entirely new people, and already having in common at least one thing, that we've read the same book.

As a thought exercise, it appeals to me a lot. Which is, of course, why I'm sharing it here.

What would you ask the entire world to read? In bedrooms and living rooms and classrooms around the world, 7 billion people are grappling with the same series of words, of thoughts.

I think I would begin with John Steinbeck's Cannery Row. It's a sweet and simple book, about how a community grows when people begin to work past their first reaction and find the good in each other. It's about building a better world by being a little happier in the world we're in. I think it is the story of a quiet revolution, because the characters (without ever meaning to, or setting out to, or even fulling comprehending what they've done) transform their little corner of Monterey into something like a functional community through a strength of spirit which, we understand, the rest of the town and the world lacks.

It's been a few years since I re-read it. I need to pick it up.

Where would you start?

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