Wednesday, October 31, 2012

Final Grapes post & Hurricane update.

Sorry I don't have a better title this week. I'm blaming Hurricane Sandy. I plan on blaming a lot on her.

First up, Sandy update! Boyfriend+ and I are fine. No flooding and the only real casualty we faced in the storm was our grill cover. It didn't blow away, but it held on so fiercely that it ripped in half. RIP friend. We did however lose power Monday afternoon and according to reports we shouldn't expect to get it back for 7-10 days. Apparently something like 90% of Long Island is without power, so there's a lot of commiserating on the island, as well as plans to burst into the locations that do have electricity. At least I've been making those plans. Watch out, bagel place down the street.

Boyfriend+'s work has power AND they got their internet up today, hence how I can post this. I believe my office does actually have power today. However my office is also in Manhattan, which I cannot get to as the trains aren't running. FUN TIMES.

Really though, we're very lucky that other than inconveniences from not having power, we're fine. We even have hot water (knock on wood, fingers crossed that's still the case). The biggest annoyance is realizing we're going to have to empty our entire fridge.

It's the final Grapes of Wrath readalong post! And I gotta say, I'm not sad this is done. Don't get me wrong, Grapes is an excellent work of literature with some truly beautiful moments. It's also insanely depressing and also Steinbeck needs to get off of his soapbox sometimes and realize things were shitty all over, so maybe quit painting the non-farms as evil soulless douchecanoes.

As with the other readalong posts, there will be spoilers. Be warned.

So you know how for some of my other Grapes posts I just did some random thoughts? That's happening again because I'm too drained to do anything coherent. Also I luckily wrote this on Sunday, or else you'd just have a post that says "I finished this. Yup".

- After pretty much everything Ma says to Pa in the beginning of chapter 26 I want to yell "Ooo buuurn". I should be in a '90s talk show audience
- So, I know there's no work and everyone's starving, but I still think leaving the Government camp is a bad idea...
- Whoa Casy's back! Aww Steinbeck thanks! This is aweso-OH MY GOD, WHAT DID YOU DO TO HIM? WHY DID YOU CAVE HIS HEAD IN?
- And Tom killed another guy. Sorry, I used up all of my shock on Casy coming back and leaving again.
- Rosasharn, I know you're young and pregnant and scared and starving and your husband left you. But still, STFU
- Now the family has to flee cos of Tom killing that cop. Dammit Tom. Except it's hard to stay mad at you after what he did to Casy, but still.
- Ma is the best. Just in general. I'm going to need to repeat that a few more times.
- I was on the edge of my seat the whole time the family was leaving the camp with Tom hidden in the back. Thank you Steinbeck for not having Tom dragged off, as I assumed.
- The Joads found more work! I figured Steinbeck would have them wander the roads until they all starved, got run over by trucks. They even have a boxcar to live in instead of a tent, but they lost the hot water. And naturally the people at the farm are all "how dare you ask for hot water? Why would you think you're entitled to that?" because they're assholes.
 - Good for Tom, deciding that he should work to help the migrant workers. However, given his temper he's displayed throughout the whole book, his plan is probably going to work for roughly five minutes before he bludgeons someone to death again.
- Pa, I know you're sad that Ma is making all the decisions and you're supposed to be the Man of the house and blah blah blah. Maybe if you took charge at all, you could still be the one to lead. But when times are tough you just get quiet so Ma takes over. Because she is the best.
- Oh good, torrential rain. Nice contrast to the endless droughts that started the book. Now the family will get to drown instead of starve.
- Al, the family already lost Granma, Granpa, Tom, Casy, Noah, and Connie. Could you quit trying to abandon them, only-person-who-knows-how-to-drive/fix-the-damn-truck. You're not finding this garage to work in. If you found it, you'd be working in it. It's not like your family is keeping you from this job because they WANT you to work in the field.
- After telling the other kids about Tom (kinda) I was going to get mad at Ruthie. But then I realized she and Winfield (who haven't starved to death as of the end of the book! Small victories!) are sort of the only hope left. At least they still act like kids the whole time. If they had been broken, sort of like the kids at the Hooverville, then I don't know if I could have taken anymore.
- Of course the baby was born dead. Of course. Because Steinbeck hates us all.
- I'm having mixed feelings about the ending. Because on the one hand, Rosasharn completely makes up for anything annoying she did by feeding this dying old man. On the other hand wtf Steinbeck? I totally blocked that ending from memory in high school.
- So I guess Alfred the American spirit turtle isn't making a reappearance. Because the American spirit is dead. Thanks for that uplifting ending.

I'm happy I read this again (Thanks Laura!) because if nothing else, I'm now less intimidated to give East of Eden a try.

Friday, October 26, 2012

"It is hard to find a friend," I said. "It is the hardest thing in this world," he agreed.

Where to I even begin? I know! By procrastinating on this review a little longer by writing about book expectations.

This isn't the first time that I've picked up a book because other bloggers convinced me I have to. Of course I can't think of any specific examples right now, but it's happened, trust me. This time though it wasn't just a recommendation. I sort of had to read The Sisters Brothers. Not only read it but LOVE IT. Megs, Alice, and Laura all raved about it. That's so much pressure. What if I don't like it? I think I'd be shunned.

Of course there's a problem when expectations are really built up. Can anything ever stand up to such high hopes? Would the book have been better received if you weren't expecting it to be earth shattering? Of course, any recommendation is going to give you some sort of expectation for the book. And if you ignore all recommendations to avoid setting any sort of expectation before you begin, you're going to miss out.

If they (the three above and book bloggers as a whole) hadn't recommended this book, I'm sure I would have passed it by. Western, what now? No, that's cool. You keep your dusty guys and their horses and I'll just be over here. But guys, The Sisters Brothers isn't like that! Well it is, cos there are dusty guys and horses, but I loooove them. Sure, they're hired guns and there's lots of horse riding and shooting and bourbon drinking and the Gold Rush and stuff that I would expect to find in a Western. But there is so much more. The brothers, Eli and Charlie, make the story. Especially Eli, which works out nicely given he's the narrator.

Eli and Charlie are hired guns with quite the reputation. Charlie seems to really enjoy the work, but Eli's not so sure anymore. As they make the journey from Oregon City to San Francisco to kill the prospector Hermann Warm Eli decides maybe this job will be his last.

One thing about reading a book that other people have already reviewed, it means that I already have their thoughts in my head while I'm reading. At least some of their thoughts. Like Megs comment about how Eli squishes women with his love. Yeah, I kept thinking that. It may have stuck in my head because of that lion gif or because the statement is SO ACCURATE. (Both) Oh Eli, I know you mean well, but maybe back down a little bit. For a hit man he can be very sentimental, even when it comes to his sort-of-useless-but-not-at-all-I-love-him horse Tub.

I love the relationship between the brothers. It seems like it's a simple case of Charlie being the leader and Eli following, but there's more than that. There's genuine affection between the two, not only Eli for Charlie (what with all that sentimentality) but also Charlie for Eli, in his own way. His own kind of messed up way. But behind all of the affection, all of the humor is a constant feeling of sadness and loneliness. Which makes sense for a man who makes his living killing but doesn't want to anymore.

So I started this talking about expectations going into a book. There may have been some worry that I didn't like The Sisters Brothers. But I did. I did enjoy it and I can see myself reading it again. However I do think had the expectations not been built up so high I would have liked it even more. It would have surprised me with how good it really was. I hope on a second reading I can focus more on the story and the characters and the language itself.

I can't think of anything else to say so let me just throw some quotes out there, since I highlighted so much and this needs to be shared

"The creak of bed springs suffering under the weight of a restless man is as lonely a sound as I know."

"I reentered the cave to stoke the fire, curling up beside it for warmth, but I could not sleep without proper covering and instead spent the rest of the night rewriting lost arguments from my past, altering history so that I emerged victorious."

"Nodding politely, I said, 'Yes, well, it is fairly obvious that you are in love with me!"
'No,' she said, coloring. 'Not that.'
'I can see it. Hopelessly in love, powerless to guard against it. You shouldn't feel too badly about it, it has happened before.'"

"It must not have been that I loved the bookkeeper, but that I loved the idea of her loving me, and the idea of not being alone."

Hmm, a Western. Who woulda thought?

deWitt, Patrick. The Sisters Brothers. Ecco, 2011. Kindle edition.

Tuesday, October 23, 2012

Now farming became industry

It's Tuesday so here we have another Grapes of Wrath readalong post, hosted by Laura at Devouring Texts. If you've been playing along, welcome! If not, I bet this has been boring for you. Sorry. Hope you're at least enjoying the gifs. As with each of these readalong posts, there will be spoilers.

First, things are awful in California. Of course EVERYONE has been telling the Joads that pretty much since they left, so, yeah.
Except to the Joads who really held onto the idea that because there were fliers there were unlimited jobs and the streets were paved with gold. I know, I'm being mean to the Joads because once they started their trek towards California it's not like they had much of a choice but to press on, even if they knew it was going to be no use. They didn't have the money to get the gas to go anywhere else. But a little acknowledgement on the Joads part would be nice.

We also lose a couple more people because the family is falling apart. But this time no one dies which is an improvement? Maybe. Casy goes to jail after a skirmish at the campsite, presumably never to be heard from again. A man tries to ensure fair wages which equals COMMUNIST so the police are called in, and they proceed to shoot a lady in the hand. Tom trips the cop and Casy knocks him unconscious. And since Tom is on parole* Casy takes the blame and is happy to be hauled away having helped the family. We the readers, on the other hand, have lost another one of the better characters. Dammit Steinbeck.

Connie also wanders off, I guess as he attempts to walk back to Oklahoma? I don't think he really got the details worked out apart from "Screw California. I'm going home." I'm sure he'll be a real success back at home after taking some classes.
There is a tiny ray of hope for the Joads. They end up at a government camp where the cops aren't allowed and there are toilets. Things start looking up when the Joads get running water and then I realized how low my standards have fallen for "happy times". But the family can finally hang out for awhile without being harassed and having to move every day. The men can look for work, although things aren't really that much better there. However the other families in the camp help take care of each other. Steinbeck is not subtle with his with his "we must all stick together in order to survive" thing.

Last time the family chapters were super depressing and the in between/vignette chapters had the hope (Mae & her penny candy). This time the Joad chapters have the little ray of hope and the vignettes offer up the taste of everything that's awful. There's a chapter where they talk about how farming has become an industry and a business, how the land and the crops don't matter except to the bottom line, how the people who are hired to gather the food are imported in, treated like slaves, and deported when no longer needed. How food is left rot while people are starving because it's too expensive to actually pick it. It's unfortunate how much of this is still true today. Sorry Steinbeck, your dreams of sharing and caring have not come true.

So how much more depressing can this get?
Only one section left to find out.

*How would they check that he's on parole in Oklahoma out in California? It's not like now where there are computers and the CA cops can check the guy out in a database. How would they find this out?

Title quote from page 316

Steinbeck, John. The Grapes of Wrath. Penguin, 1992. Originally published 1939.

Sunday, October 21, 2012

Destination Weddings: Yay or Nay?

In terms of actual wedding planning, we're no further along than we were last update. Well that's not true, in that I do have an appointment for wedding dress shopping in a few weeks. Right now it look like the whole wedding is going to be planned around the dress. Assuming that's the first thing that gets figured out. That's the way people normally do this planning, right?

In the meantime I wanted to get opinions from people about destination weddings. What do you think of them? At what point does a wedding count as a destination wedding?

What makes  a wedding a destination wedding? Do you have to go out of the country for it? Do the bride and groom have to be the ones to travel?  Is it only a destination wedding if EVERYONE has to travel? This doesn't really have anything to do with actually planning the wedding, just something I was curious about. I've traveled to Arizona for a wedding, but the bride and groom lived there, so not really destination. I've also traveled to New Hampshire for a wedding, which I wouldn't really consider a destination wedding, although I, the bride & groom, and most people had to travel for it.

Regardless of what might technically count as a destination wedding, what do you think of them? Would you skip it if you were invited to a destination wedding?

Obviously there are additional costs. You have to get to the location. And pay for a hotel. Which are things you may need to do for non-destination weddings (I had to do for both the AZ & NH weddings). But I guess the assumption is it would cost more?

There may be additional time off work, depending on how far away the place is and when the wedding is.

On my end it is more difficult to plan things if the location isn't nearby. OR it's way easier, cos I just tell someone at the location "you do it". So that can be good or bad, depending on how much control you want over the little details. I would like someone to just do it all for me, so this goes in the "plus" column.

Other than this I guess I don't really know the pros and cons for a destination wedding versus a local one. Clearly I'm doing a bang up job with this whole wedding planning thing. So yeah, if you have any insights, please share.

Thursday, October 18, 2012

I'm not negative, you jerk

Hey, remember how I used to do these random word clouds of my blog? No? Cos I haven't done them in about a year? Right, makes sense.

The other day I remembered I hadn't done one of those in awhile and decided I wanted to again. But whenever I do build one it's just made up of my 6 most recent posts. But I want my word cloud to represent MOAR DATA. So I decided to play around with a social listening tool to pull in more posts. Here's what that looks like

Yeah I know, not that interesting. Oh I say "book" and "read" a lot? Who would have guessed.

BUT while I was in this tool I decided to take a look at the sentiment section and see what it says. And it told me I am mostly negative. Wait, what?

It said, for the past year, 22% of my content as been positive, 37% neutral and 41% negative. Granted, my first reaction to those stats was to IM a friend and go "Apparently my blog is 41% negative. Well fuck you then!". So yeah, maybe they have a point.

Then I really looked at why the system was being so judgy. Essentially anytime I used a negative word like "bad" or "don't like" it said the section was negative. Of course, as with any automated system, it can't take into account context. The system can't tell I said "Now normally I don't like this, but this book nailed it perfectly. Kudos" It also marks my entire rant about wanting to set a character on fire because I hate them so much as "positive" because I said the character was "SO PERFECT".

Moral of this post:
Word clouds are pretty boring but have shapes and colors so people like them (me included)
Context is important
Computers do not get sarcasm
Automated sentiment is pointless

Tuesday, October 16, 2012

Up ahead they's a thousan' lives we might live, but when it comes, it'll on'y be one

It's Tuesday which means it's time for another Grapes of Wrath readalong post! This time we're dealing with chapters 12-18. Heads up, there will be spoilers. And the sadness is mounting.

The family stops to get some gas and they are accused of being bums, the family's dog gets run over, and then grandpa dies. Damn Steinbeck. I need a minute
Turns out drugging Grandpa was probably not the best idea. Who will Grandma shoot in the ass? Who will button their shirt into their underwear? Who will give us even a second of comic relief?

There are moments that aren't quite so depressing. Everyone is in a shitty situation. We haven't met anyone really living it up during this exodus from the dustbowl. What we do get to see is people being kind to one another. And I mean perfect strangers. People sharing a limited and ever dwindling supply of food, caring for the sick, helping keep the cars running. Thank you Steinbeck, because if it was just wave after wave of awful things happening to the Joads and then people being terrible to each other, I wouldn't be able to take it.

Even the scene with waitress Mae and cook Al gives me happy feelings. Mae and Al may be staying put, their lives aren't being completely uprooted but they're affected by the depression. So when the family asks to buy a loaf of bread you may not like it, but you at least understand her reluctance. They can't do this for everyone that comes by or they'll have to go on the move as well. While you can understand it, you still want Mae to relent. So it's that much more touching when she sells the boys two pieces of nickle candy for a penny. Then you see this pay-it-forward as the truckers leave her a large tip. It's like those commercials for...something.* (I guess I could look it up. Could being the important word there.)

 BUT Steinbeck isn't done with the awfulness in this section. So after a couple chapters of things happy (happy in the relative Grapes of Wrath way) things naturally have to turn around. All those times of people being not-assholes to each other are over, and all the happy feelings are done.
Grandma's been raving ever since Grandpa passed. Which is sweet in a messed up, Grapes of Wrath version of sweet (similar to that version of happy before). Ma tells everyone she's just tired, including the very pushy people that insist on busting into the tent to loudly pray for her. And know...

Noah wanders off and decides he's not going to head off to California with the family and instead he'll hang out by the river and eat fish. And Tom really doesn't do too much to convince him otherwise, which seems mean when you consider how important Ma said keeping the family together is. Jerk.

To make up for all of those people being nice to each other in trying times, we have the cops in California being general assholes to people. Assholes with some purpose, as they are trying to make sure shanty towns don't show up along the highway as the displaced farmers give up their trek and stop wherever their cars give out. Which, while not a fun thing, isn't being awful for the sake of being awful. Though they do seem to take joy in being assholes.

Ma, however, is continuing to kick ass. And a few times that gets literal and she threatens to first beat down anyone suggesting that the family split up. Then she stands up to the cop who busts in on the family when they're camping to tell them to move along. Then she convinces the border guards to let her and her family go through while she stays in the back of the truck with Grandma's body. Ma is the best. She is stronger than all of the other characters put together.

To counter all of the sadness that has come and is yet to come, here's a waving bear.
Waving Bear
I am afraid of what the Joads have to deal with next. Maybe we all stop now and assume that California is 10x as awesome as the Joads think (ignoring all of the families coming back from Cali telling them how terrible it is) and everyone is happy the end.

PS cos I forgot to mention that Rosasharn & Connie totally do it right next to the dying/dead body of Grandma. Apparently that is the comic relief we get and Grandpa isn't around to button his shirt into his underwear.

*Or, you know, it's like the Pay It Forward movie. But that's clearly too obvious.

Title quote from page 168

Steinbeck, John. The Grapes of Wrath. Penguin, 1992. Originally published 1939

Friday, October 12, 2012

How many books do you read at once?

How many books do you read a time?
I usually only do one book at a time. I am not the best at keeping stories straight so I try to stick to one story, finish it and then move on. But right now I'm reading not one, not two, but THREE books. This has the potential to go very badly.

First up, I'm reading The Grapes of Wrath for Laura's readalong. Now because for a readalong we're suppose to read up to a certain point. And to make sure I don't confuse myself with my posts, I make sure to only read the assigned chapters before writing my stuff. So I NEED another book to read.

Next, I'm reading Ad Nomad by Eric Jay Sonnenschien. It's a book I agreed to read and review. And it's long. And I'm just over halfway through but I need a break from it. I will hold any other comments about it until my review, when I've finished it, but I was reading it the other day and decided I needed something else for awhile.

So finally, I'm reading The Sisters Brothers by Patrick deWitt. I've wanted to read this for awhile. Pretty much since Meg, Alice, and Laura went on and on about the AMAZINGNESS of this one. So when Amazon had it on sale for Kindle at $2.99 I HAD to buy it. So, yeah.

I just realized I'm lacking in scary reads for the month. I will need to get some Stephen King or something on my to read list. Which means I need to get it together and put together a list of how I rate the King I have read, so Laura can make a recommendation for me, which she so kindly offered to do. And which I WILL get to. Soon. Soonish.

Anyway, I'm hoping I don't go mixing up plots and characters from these three books. Although so far I think it'd be funny if there was any sort of cross over. Or at least if any of the Joads or Charlie and Eli showed up in Ad Nomad. I'm sure that would end up with wacky shenanigans. Or violence and depression. Either way.

On a slightly related note, Zombie by Joyce Carol Oates is also currently on sale for the Kindle. I've never read any JCO before. Brenna said this isn't a favorite Oates for her so I'm wondering if maybe I skip it until I try one of her other books first. Or maybe I just start with this one cos a) SALE and b) it's called Zombie and I know, it's not about a zombie in the typical sense but still. Horror-y so good for the season. Thoughts?

Tuesday, October 9, 2012

Times are changing, mister. Don't you know?

It's the first true post of Laura's Grapes of Wrath readalong. At least the first post after we've all read some of the book. Everyone depressed yet?
OK so, I started this post as I was reading. And then I apparently thought I finished the post so last night I didn't bother to check it or anything. A new episode of Hoarders was on so yeah, I had some really important stuff going on. Anyway, instead of doing a nicely composed piece, here are a bunch of bullet points!

-There are so many things I did not remember/didn't notice when I read this in high school which proves that public school totally misses the things that they should point out when reading a book, if you want the class to pay attention to the important things.*

- Preacher goes on and on about banging young, virginal church girls. How did I miss this the first time around?

- A pig eats a baby. Seriously, wtf? And it's just mentioned like "Oh yeah, we make sure to keep the gate closed cos last time it was open a pig got out and ate the neighbor's baby. It made her go a little crazy, but it's like, 'Get over it already'. Anyway, yeah, keep that gate closed"

- I really like those in between chapters not about the Joads. Not that I DISLIKE the Joad stuff and I think an entire book written like those "in between" chapters (which prob have a fancy name that I don't know) would be painful to read after awhile, but this macro-view of the time is so powerful.

- I would never have made it during this era. I don't know how to do anything Ma & co have to do.

- This is how you do dialect in a book. I'm still not crazy about it but at least I can understand what's being said without having to read it out loud (which is awkward on the subway). I get a feeling for the tone and speech of the Joads while not impeding the story. Kudos, Mr. Steinbeck. Kudos.
- I seriously remember NOTHING of this book. Nothing. I thought maybe something would come back but no. It's like I blocked it entirely.

- Can someone smarter/less lazy than me explain the turtle?

- I haven't cried yet but this is already so depressing. I fear for what's coming.

*That said, I feel teachers who DO point these things out are the same teachers that get yelled at for corrupting kids and then those books get banned. That's how banned books happen, isn't it?

Title quote from page 50

Steinbeck, John. The Grapes of Wrath. Penguin, 1992. Originally published 1939.

Monday, October 8, 2012

The fury of its own self-destruction creates an entirely new monster

I didn't MEAN to pick up another Lehane book. It just sorta happen. I tripped and found myself in the bookstore and then I ended up near the discount books and there's such good stuff there. I've made some bizarre rule with myself where I won't buy just one book. I have to find at least 2. Somehow that's my logic for buying less books. In other words, I don't understand logic.

ANYWAY, what I'm saying is I picked up another Dennis Lehane book because for whatever reason, those randomly show up on the discount table so I have to get them. This time it was Shutter Island. On the one hand, I really wish I didn't already know the ending*. On the other hand, I sorta loved the book anyway. Or at least really liked it.

This is very unlike the other Lehane's I've read**. It's about a crime but I don't think of it as a crime novel, like the other books. It's not as graphic or as violent. The setting is Ashecliffe Hospital, a hospital/prison for the criminally insane. And yet I'm never really worried about the psycho killers. So while it's unlike Lehane's other stuff in terms of plot, it still feels like one of his books.

It's 1954 and a patient has gone missing from the hospital so US Marshall Teddy Daniels has been called in to find her. The mystery is the hospital is located on Shutter Island. How do you escape an island? But Teddy and his new partner Chuck Aule learn that nothing is at it seems on this island. There's a missing doctor and overall no one seems overly concerned that there's an insane murderer wandering about.

The Night Circus was all about atmosphere. The plot was incidental. Here the plot and atmosphere work off of each other to create a really good story. It's creepy and it sucked me in. I wanted to know what happened next, I wanted to know what happened to Rachel and I wanted to know what was going on at this hospital. I didn't think deep thoughts. The other Lehane books got under my skin more. But this is a book I can see myself revisiting.

I haven't seen the movie yet. After reading this I really want to. So if you've seen it let me know how it is.

*Why no, I don't know the ending because of the movie, though that would be a logical conclusion. I know it because of a Cracked article. I ruined the ending for myself to read a snarky piece on a comedy website. Go me.
**Mystic River, Gone Baby Gone, Darkness Take My Hand, A Drink Before The War

Title quote page 223

Lehane, Dennis. Shutter Island. Harper, 2003.

Wednesday, October 3, 2012

September Reading Wrap Up

September, where did you go? Ah well, time marches on, no matter how much I ask it to slow the hell down.

This month's stats were OK. Nothing great. Lot of white people. Lots of US authors. Mostly guys. However I did read some books that were surprisingly good. Well surprising to me. Everyone else had already confirmed the fun of The Night Circus and The Lover's Dictionary so I'm not exactly breaking new ground there. On that note, you should expect my review of The Casual Vacancy long after the rest of the internet has already read it and weighed in.

Anyway, the stats!

Number of books read
The Mine by John A. Heldt
The Night Circus by Erin Morgenstern
The Lover's Dictionary by David Levithan
The Maltese Falcon by Dashiell Hammett
Shutter Island by Dennis Lehane

Number of pages read

Percentage of fiction read

Percentage of female authors

Percentage of white authors

Percentage of US authors

Percentage of eBooks

Percentage of challenge books

Books written by decade
1920s - 20%
2000s - 20%
2010s - 60%

This month it's the Grapes of Wrath readalong, and I'm hoping this book is better than I remember because 15 year old me is NOT into this. 28 year old me is afraid of crying on public transportation while reading this, so trepidation all around!

Tuesday, October 2, 2012

Sour Grapes: My High School Remembrances of Steinbeck

I am going into this Grapes of Wrath readalong with trepidation. Because I have read Grapes before. And I did not like it.

OK to be fair, I read it my sophomore year in high school. And I didn't read it because I WANTED to. I read it because class made me. And I wasn't a big fan of that teacher. (For reasons that have less to do with him and more to do with the fact that teenagers are idiots.) If you ask me what I remember about the book I will tell you....nothing. I don't remember a thing. Anything I know about the book comes from references in culture and not because I read it. So this all seems like a perfect reason to tell teenage me to shut up and just read the book.

I've only read two Steinbeck: The Pearl and Grapes. I've wanted to read Of Mice and Men and East of Eden, but I haven't, mostly because of bad memories of the other two. Well, maybe not bad memories. I was scarred by the other books. Just sort of "I could read more Steinbeck. Or I could read something I know I'll like. So..."

I'm hoping my reading will go like this

And not like this (which is how 15 year old me remembers it)
But I have faith that this will be good. Some faith. I at least don't think I'll be wasting my time. Because I mean, even if it's awful, the gifs will make it worth it. The more depressing the book gets, the more ridiculous I expect the gifs to be.