This is Eden.

A short critique of John Steinbeck’s East of Eden

Review 6. Written by SnapDragon X.

A Thing of Beauty, 2019. Original Photo by SnapDragon X. All rights reserved.

Oh my. This is big, Dear Reader.

So big.

I just found my new all-time favorite novel.

(gasp!)

Yep. It’s true.

(What was the former all-time favorite, you ask? Unsurprisingly, it was Steinbeck’s The Grapes of Wrath. It’s the only book (with the exception of books I’ve taught) that I’ve read twice.)

East of Eden, yo. It slid past Grapes for first place in my heart.

But I am getting ahead of myself.

. . .

East of Eden by John Steinbeck (1952)

I firmly believe that Steinbeck’s writing is best enjoyed in small, slow sips. Like a fine whisky, his stories are nuanced. There are countless moments of beauty, honesty, and tenderness. So please: do not rush through his works. They are much too lovely to swallow in a single gulp.

As for East of Eden, it’s a novel that’s been on my list since high school. And now that I’ve read it, I can’t imagine my life without it.

In a tiny nutshell (I promised to be succinct!) this novel follows the lives of two American families at turn of the 20th century. The families are loosely based on Steinbeck’s own ancestors, and the story also draws parallels to the biblical tale of Cain and Abel. It’s detailed, personal, and in a word, a masterpiece.

In closing, you need to know there are delicious one-liners are nearly every page. I’d love to produce a collection of tee shirts with all of the quotes from this novel. (Hmm. New project? Stay tuned.)

So my favorite quote? I’m going to have to pick a page, any page:

“[…] And, of course, people are interested only in themselves. If a story is not about the hearer he will not listen. And I here make a rule–a great and lasting story is about everyone or it will not last. The strange and foreign is not interesting–only the deeply personal and familiar” (Steinbeck).

This is spoken by Lee, who may be my new favorite character in all of literature. (Okay, besides Ebenezer Scrooge. He’ll always be number one.)

So there we have it, friends. Snap’s latest book review, which happens to be her new favorite novel.

I hate when people over-hype things, but I just couldn’t help myself.

This is a piece of art.

I hope you enjoy it as I have, and surely will again.

My Ultimate Library: Part 2.

Get ready for the second installment of Snap’s favorite books!

Here we go, friends. Another collection that just had to find a spot on the shelf.

Just as a reminder, these are books I hold very near and dear to my heart. My Ultimate Library is, well, just that.

These are my literary babies; they’re family. The books that make the cut are those that have stayed with me, long after their final pages.

May these stories continue to be told, forever.

SnapDragon’s Ultimate Library: Part 2.

I Know Why the Caged Bird Sings by Maya Angelou

Anne Frank: The Diary of a Young Girl by Anne Frank

The Autobiography of Malcolm X as told to Alex Haley

One Flew Over the Cuckoo’s Nest by Ken Kesey

Holes by Louis Sachar

The House on Mango Street by Sandra Cisneros

The Pigman by Paul Zindel

Of Mice and Men by John Steinbeck

A Christmas Carol by Charles Dickens

Things Fall Apart by Chinua Achebe

The Fault in Our Stars by John Green

The Elephant Man by Bernard Pomerance

The Hate U Give by Angie Thomas

. . .

Now if you’ll pardon me, it’s time to light a candle and dive into the glorious world of fiction.

Happy Reading!

Friday Night Ramblings.

Hello, Dear Reader.

It’s time for a few two-bit musings. You know: just because.

Three Things I Currently Find Annoying:

  1. Labeled Notebooks. I do not need a journal or notebook to display the word Journal or Notebook on its cover. I understand the purpose a bound collection of paper serves. Let’s save the covers for artwork or cool quotes.
  2. Major Corporations Who Won’t Recycle. How is it acceptable for Starbucks or Dunkin’ to serve millions of drinks in plastic cups each day, yet not provide a recycling bin in their locations? I don’t care what it costs or how inconvenient it is; if you’re not digging through those trash bins and secretly recycling, you’re almost surely destined for Hellfire, friends.
  3. The Idea that More is Always Better. Whoever coined the phrase Keep it Simple, Stupid was on to something. Our society loves the idea of more. Longer school days! More test prep! Bigger class sizes! More educational technology! Or consider our collective attitude toward overtime; multi-tasking; or 24-hour news. Umm, you ain’t fooling me, kid. Nobody needs all that. Because I can’t ever remember a time when stuffing my day to the brim helped, even in the slightest.

And so, there we have it! Another cynical post from yours truly.

(shrugs shoulders and smiles)

You know you love The SnapDragon. At least, I hope you do.

‘Cause I love you.

Nighty night.

More.

Let’s have more crying laughter;

more TV time;

more dishes of rice and refried beans.

Let’s have more ice-cold beverages;

more singing in harmony as another day dawns.

I want more quality sleep; more books; more delectable cheeses.

More bottle-cap earrings; more hand-written letters; more dinners with friends.

More paints;

More petting of animals;

More unconditional love.

I. Want. More.

The Natural Deodorant Challenge.

Because stress stinks. Just roll it on, yo.

Natural Armpit Love, 2019. Original Photo by SnapDragon X. All rights reserved.

All right! Snap is back and ready to share her two-bit opinions on the top contenders of the Natural Deodorant Game.

I think in 2019 choosing a natural–or at least aluminum-free–deodorant is a no-brainer. Whether or not the cancer-causing claims of mainstream sticks are bogus, I’d rather be safe than sorry. Besides: it’s not like regular deodorant is that much cheaper. (At least for the most part.)

And so, I’ve selected three of my faves, all for your reading pleasure!

Top Contender #1: Crystal Mineral Deodorant Roll-On (Unscented)

Crystal, 2019. Original Photo by SnapDragon X. All rights reserved.

I sweat a lot. (It’s true.) I’m no athlete, and live a fairly sedentary lifestyle, but my armpits need TLC, yo. Wash, deodorize, repeat. (You do too, right?)

So, while I enjoy the smooth, cooling, and unscented simplicity of Crystal’s deodorant, its up-to-24-hour-odor-protection disclaimer is no joke. It’s also purely a deodorant, so it’s not ideal for wearing your light-gray tee shirt to a picnic. Pit stains will happen, friend.

Overall, this is my go-to for breezy summer days spent sipping icy drinks in the shade.

You can score a 2.25 fluid ounce bottle at Target for about $3.99.

Top Contender #2: Schmidt’s Natural Deodorant (Rose + Vanilla)

Schmidt’s, 2019. Original Photo by SnapDragon X. All rights reserved.

Schmidt’s steps it up by both deodorizing and absorbing wetness throughout the day. It also lives up to the 24-hour rule, but if I had to put my money on which offers longer protection, it would hands-down be Schmidt’s.

This stick slides on in a gritty, almost wet-sand sort of fashion, and is not recommended for freshly-shaven skin. I concur. Additionally, my best friend tried this brand and unfortunately had a negative skin reaction. So it may not be for those with sensitive skin.

In short, this is my choice for more active summer days. I enjoy the rose vanilla scent, and overall it’s simply a quality product.

A 2.65 ounce stick will run you about $4.99 at Target.

Top Contender #3: Ursa Major Deodorant (Hoppin’ Fresh)

Ursa Major, 2019. Original Photo by SnapDragon X. All rights reserved.

I discovered this wonderful product when The Sweet Husband returned from a brewery run to The Alchemist, up in Vermont. (Why do I not live in Vermont? It boggles my mind at this point.)

Anyway, oddly enough, they were giving away these deodorant sticks to their craft-beer-loving clientele. Subliminal messaging, perhaps?

Either way, I love this stick. Its mint and eucalyptus scent is very light and fresh, and does its job by keeping me dry and feeling like I can hug my friends without embarrassment. In fact, this is by far the winner when it comes to an all-around effective and reliable natural deodorant product.

The downside?

It costs $18 for a 2.9 ounce stick!

That’s just crazy, yo. I love you, but you crazy.

So until I win the lottery, this will be a splurge-only type of product.

. . .

So in closing, Dear Reader? These three products are worth a shot. I enjoy having all three in my beauty arsenal.

You do you!

(And treat your armpits with love.)

Anxiety.

Anxiety is when you’re walking through a bookshop on a Sunday morning and your heart starts racing for no reason.

Anxiety is when you feel nervous when people text you because you feel like somehow you’ve offended them or let them down.

Anxiety is when you feel like a kid who might be in trouble even though you’re 32 years old and haven’t so much as broken the speed limit.

Anxiety is doubting yourself.

Anxiety is paranoia.

Anxiety is a theif who needs arresting.

Please, please leave.

You are not welcome here.

Goodbye.