Jump to content


Photo
- - - - -

John Steinbeck


  • Please log in to reply
32 replies to this topic

#1 Dimitra

Dimitra

    Addicted!

  • Member
  • PipPipPipPipPip
  • 452 posts

Posted 11 August 2009 - 06:02 PM

So, I noticed yesterday that there was no thread about Steinbeck or the books I've read from him, so I thought I would make a general one about the author.
I've read East Of Eden and The Grapes Of Wrath. I loved East of Eden and liked TGOW too, but I thought that the first one was better.
In EOE, he deals with the nature of good and evil in this Salinas Valley saga. The story follows two families: the Hamiltons - based on Steinbeck's own maternal ancestry - and the Trasks, reprising stories about the Biblical Adam and his progeny.
TGOW is set in the Great Depression and describes a family of sharecroppers, the Joads, who were driven from their land due to the dust storms of the Dust Bowl.
His style of writing is unique. He has a great way of picturing his characters, and most importantly the times they live in. Throughout his books, he dedicates some chapters in describing the changes in society.
If anyone has read any of his works, he may want to discuss it here.:mrgreen:

#2 chesilbeach

chesilbeach

    Conqueror of Mount TBR

  • Moderators
  • 12,204 posts
  • Reading now?:Cogheart by Peter Bunzl

Posted 11 August 2009 - 06:23 PM

The only two Steinbeck books I've read are The Pearl and Of Mice and Men, and both of those were at school in my English class and I remember enjoying them, but I've never read any more of his books since.

#3 amethyst

amethyst

    Super Bookworm

  • Member
  • PipPipPip
  • 223 posts

Posted 11 August 2009 - 07:28 PM

I read Of Mice and Men in school too and it is a really good book!

#4 Tikkititi

Tikkititi

    Settling In

  • Member
  • PipPip
  • 61 posts

Posted 11 August 2009 - 07:37 PM

East of Eden is one of the books I re-read every so often, just because I love it so much. Cathy (or Kate) is probably my favourite character of any book, ever.
Spoiler
Steinbeck's description of the Salinas valley is so evocative it practically jumps off the page. I you haven't already, go read it right now!

#5 Adam

Adam

    I Am Canadian

  • Advanced Member
  • PipPipPipPipPipPipPip
  • 720 posts

Posted 12 August 2009 - 03:19 AM

I have a bunch of his books on my wish list. I hear nothing but good this about him. I would like to read his books one day.

#6 Euphorix

Euphorix

    Settling In

  • Member
  • PipPip
  • 37 posts

Posted 14 August 2009 - 06:11 PM

I have read Of Mice and Men and am currently reading The Grapes of Wrath. True of both these novels is the immense descriptive skill of Steinbeck; his descriptions of settings -- in particular Oklahoma during the Dust Bowl in the latter novel -- are truly formidable, and paint a very vivid image indeed in one's mind.

On my shelf I have The Pearl, which I plan on reading sometime in the (hopefully) near future.

#7 Kylie

Kylie

    Multifaceted Abnormal

  • Moderators
  • 13,251 posts
  • Reading now?:Deciding...
  • LocationSydney, Australia

Posted 15 August 2009 - 12:06 AM

I'm also reading The Grapes of Wrath at the moment and I agree about the imagery. His writing is just fantastic!

#8 pontalba

pontalba

    Nabokovian

  • Advanced Member
  • PipPipPipPipPipPipPipPip
  • 6,321 posts
  • Reading now?:sooo far behind.....
  • LocationNorth of Lake Pontchartrain, Louisiana, USA

Posted 16 August 2009 - 08:02 PM

I have never been able to enjoy John Steinbeck, quite the contrary, I can't stand his writing. I have completely read East of Eden and attempted some others. Tortilla Flat, The Moon is Down, and Of Mice and Men. Couldn't finish the latter three.

I wish I could explain what it is about him that puts me off so...to me he is flat and uninspiring and downright turgid. I kept trying because so many people think his books are so innovative and wonderful.

Oh well, lots of people don't like my favorites, so I guess the world will keep spinning, and we'll keep reading. :)

#9 honestfi

honestfi

    Avid Reader

  • Member
  • PipPipPip
  • 105 posts

Posted 17 August 2009 - 05:23 PM

I have never been able to enjoy John Steinbeck, quite the contrary, I can't stand his writing. I have completely read East of Eden and attempted some others. Tortilla Flat, The Moon is Down, and Of Mice and Men. Couldn't finish the latter three.

I wish I could explain what it is about him that puts me off so...to me he is flat and uninspiring and downright turgid. I kept trying because so many people think his books are so innovative and wonderful.

Oh well, lots of people don't like my favorites, so I guess the world will keep spinning, and we'll keep reading. :D


Thank goodness for that, someone else who doesn't like Steinbeck, I thought I was the only one. I was forced to read Mice and Men at school, and frankly, found it rather boring and overlong for a book that basically had one statement to make; albeit that it was a worthy one.

....and nobody seems to have heard of my fave book either.:D

#10 pontalba

pontalba

    Nabokovian

  • Advanced Member
  • PipPipPipPipPipPipPipPip
  • 6,321 posts
  • Reading now?:sooo far behind.....
  • LocationNorth of Lake Pontchartrain, Louisiana, USA

Posted 26 August 2009 - 01:13 AM

....and nobody seems to have heard of my fave book either.:D


Ok, what is your favorite book? :lol: :friends0:

#11 notbryan.ryan

notbryan.ryan

    Settling In

  • Member
  • PipPip
  • 11 posts

Posted 26 August 2009 - 03:30 PM

It's worth re-reading Steinbeck as an adult. I had to read Of Mice and Men at the tender age of 15/16 and hated it.

Revisited it about 10 years later and absolutely loved it. I think my favourite of his was "The Winter of our Discontent", probably the best example of a "morality tale" I've ever come across without ever coming across as preachy.

Really good writer, although from reading the comments section, clearly not everyone's cup of tea! :lol:

#12 honestfi

honestfi

    Avid Reader

  • Member
  • PipPipPip
  • 105 posts

Posted 26 August 2009 - 03:40 PM

Ok, what is your favorite book? :lol: :D


Um, I could say look at my signature, but that would be a lie. I have about 10 of them, so I'm not 100% faithful to TAL. uuuuhhhh....lemmee go away and think about that one.

#13 paragonalley

paragonalley

    Settling In

  • Member
  • PipPip
  • 27 posts

Posted 01 September 2009 - 10:24 PM

I like East of Eden, because I think that the story is timeless and could happen these days as well! The second steinbeck book I read ist Once there was a war, but I found this one rather depressing!

#14 Larry

Larry

    Settling In

  • Member
  • PipPip
  • 40 posts
  • Reading now?:Bruno's Dream by Iris Murdoch
  • LocationNottinghamshire/Derbyshire

Posted 09 September 2009 - 02:59 PM

I am hugely fond of Steinbeck. To date I have read six of his books and have stockpiled almost all of his work.

Last month I tackled his own personal favourite of his novels, and his most political, In Dubious Battle. It focuses on a couple of men, Jim and Mac, who are clearly Communist Party activists though theyíre only ever referred to as radicals, agitating among fruit pickers in California. A strike pretty soon ensues and the two characters seek to radicalise the strikers.

Itís very typical Steinbeck territory and filled with the kind of compassion that infuses all of his best work. He was often accused of being sentimental but I donít believe he was. Indeed, for a novel written in 1936, In Dubious Battle is often very gritty and none of the characters are idealised in any way.

One truly senses that Steinbeck had a genuine concern for the plight of his fellow man. Indeed, his own attitude was probably closest to the character of Doc Burton, a seemingly minor character who doesnít appear until well into the story. Doc is a medical practitioner, sympathetic to the strike and to the aims of the radicals, but lacking their optimism. His chief concern is for the day-to-day welfare of the strikers and in ensuring the continued cleanliness of their makeshift camp. He isnít an idealist yet he remains firmly on the side of the downtrodden, much like Steinbeck himself.

#15 ~Andrea~

~Andrea~

    She-geek

  • Advanced Member
  • PipPipPipPipPipPipPipPip
  • 3,284 posts
  • LocationWales

Posted 09 September 2009 - 05:23 PM

Cathy (or Kate) is probably my favourite character of any book, ever.

Spoiler

I agree. She really is a fantastic character. I wasn't so keen on the book, she was the main reason I kept reading.

#16 paragonalley

paragonalley

    Settling In

  • Member
  • PipPip
  • 27 posts

Posted 09 September 2009 - 09:23 PM

Yes, he has definitely used his own experiences in his books! He did a lot of casual work and he also was a war correspondent. I think this personal experiences made his books so authentic! Once there was a war is based on his diary during his time as a war correspondent!

#17 Anika

Anika

    Avid Reader

  • Member
  • PipPipPip
  • 217 posts

Posted 18 November 2009 - 11:46 PM

I read 'Grapes of Wrath' years ago, and enjoyed it very much! Always meant to read more by this author, and will probably look for 'East of Eden' since it seems so many others give it a positive rating.

#18 Angury

Angury

    Bookworm

  • Member
  • PipPipPipPip
  • 271 posts
  • Reading now?:Writing at the Margin: Discourse between Anthropology and Medicine by Arthur Kleinman
  • LocationNorthern Ireland/Wales - UK

Posted 07 July 2015 - 08:12 PM

I read Of Mice and Men by Steinbeck at school and this experience unfortunately dissuaded me from reading any more of Steinbeck's work for a long time.

I decided to try The Grapes of Wrath a month ago after coming across it again and again in 'Must read lists' all across the internet. And I'm glad I did.

This book really stuck with me from the beginning. Unlike a lot of my favourite novels which take some time to get into, you are completely engrossed in Steinbeck's story from the start. The way the fictional story is interwoven with short chapters drawn on the history of the Great Depression through an objective lens really brings home the fact that for some people, this was the reality. I truly felt like I was one of the Joads, fighting through their struggles alongside them. The feeling of hope that illuminated the first few chapters really had you hooked - you wanted the Joads to reach their destination of wealth and prosperity, as unlikely as you knew it to be.

My heart really went out to all those countless immigrants looking for a better life. My mind often comes back to this novel when I read the news and hear more stories of immigrants trying desperately to enter the UK, often risking life and limb to reach the 'green grass' of Great Britain. It makes me wonder how far we have really come from The Grapes of Wrath. This is definitely a story that has stayed with me - it's not something I can read again, but it touched my heart in a way that very few stories have done.

I'd love to hear other people's thoughts on this fantastic piece of work, and how you think it translates to modern life.

Edited by Angury, 07 July 2015 - 08:14 PM.


#19 Inver

Inver

    Reading Target....30 hopefully !....

  • Advanced Member
  • PipPipPipPipPipPipPipPip
  • 5,978 posts
  • Reading now?:'The Little Paris Bookshop'~Nina George & '6 Rainier Drive' ~ Debbie Macomber
  • LocationAberdeen, Scotland

Posted 07 July 2015 - 08:32 PM

I remember we had to read this at school. Always remember it being a bit doom and gloom at the time, but now appreciate what it was all about. I have seen it done as a play too which was very good.



#20 Athena

Athena

    Readaholic, BookWorm & BookEater

  • Admin
  • 15,437 posts
  • LocationHelmond, the Netherlands

Posted 08 July 2015 - 08:22 AM

I've merged these two topics as they both discuss John Steinbeck and also Grapes of Wrath. I own two books by John Steinbeck, Of Mice and Men and Tortilla Flat, but I haven't read them yet. One day...




0 user(s) are reading this topic

0 members, 0 guests, 0 anonymous users