Cannery Row: actually very charming. Apparently, I will have to read East of Eden and The Grapes of Wrath at some point, which I had always avoided because of a) the tremendous length and b) the high probability of depressing content.

But Cannery Row had really beautiful prose, and characters who were surprisingly endearing given that they were mostly bums and whores and shiftless types. Plus one scientist.

Like I said: charming. And at 130ish pages, a very quick read and also easy to transport. (A delightful change from Jonathan Strange and Mr. Norrell, which clocks in at something like 600 pages and in hardback is about 7 pounds.)