Thursday, November 4, 2010

November's books

#4, The Grapes of Wrath by John Steinbeck (1939)

I spent the summer when I was 14 reading Steinbeck. Until I got near the end and couldn't read any more. I still have never read Travels with Charley.

But this book, of all of them, was the best. Left me simply flat out limp with the size and scope, the humanity and compassion of Steinbeck's vision and skill. It seemed to me just as accurate a view of the Depression and the way it revealed America to itself as To Kill A Mockingbird, while looking at other problems, other areas of the country, other realities. For someone whose parents lived through the Depression and who herself has only experienced it in books, plays, and film, this is a great doorway into the non-academic reality of those times and those people. I wish we had a writer with this vision about our times, about the failures, the losses, the foreclosures, the banks, the rich vs. poor cruelty, the government, and the anger, hope, and perseverance of people now.

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