Pleasure reading, fiction and otherwise

In an effort to take a break from instructional books of all species for at least a portion of the day, I’ve picked up a couple lighter reads this week.

First, there’s Pete Dexter’s Paper Trails. This just barely counts as ‘not work’ since he’s a newspaper columnist and I heard about the book at work, but his non-fiction is written with the rich narrative detail of New Journalism without stepping off the stage of reality into the Sidd Finch zone.

Last night, I picked up Steinbeck’s Cannery Row for the first time, a good solid 10+ years after watching Grapes of Wrath (haven’t read it, but I’m as much a fan of John Ford as I am of Steinbeck) and upwards of 15 years after reading Of Mice and Men for a junior high English class. Again, even though I seem to be learning about California Central Coast history while I’m reading, I’ll classify it as ‘not work’ to give myself the benefit of the doubt. In this one, too, it’s the detail that hooks me.

Show me a newspaper story that makes me understand the quality of light on a quiet street and I’ll be happy.