Of Mice and Men

Of Mice and Men Description:

The compelling story of two outsiders striving to find their place in an unforgiving world Drifters in search of work George and his simple minded friend Lennie have nothing in the world except each other and a dream a dream that one day they will have some land of their own Eventually they find work on a ranch in California s Salinas Valley but their hopes are doomed as Lennie struggling against extreme cruelty misunderstanding and feelings of jealousy becomes a victim of his own strength Tackling universal themes such as the friendship of a shared vision and giving voice to America s lonely and dispossessed i Of Mice and Men i has proved one of Steinbeck s most popular works achieving success as a novel a Broadway play and three acclaimed films

Rating: 3.52 out of 5

East of Eden

East of Eden Description:

Set in the rich farmland of California s Salinas Valley this sprawling and often brutal novel follows the intertwined destinies of two families the Trasks and the Hamiltons whose generations helplessly reenact the fall of Adam and Eve and the poisonous rivalry of Cain and Abel Here Steinbeck created some of his most memorable characters and explored his most enduring themes the mystery of identity the inexplicability of love and the murderous consequences of love s absence

Rating: 3.54 out of 5

The Grapes of Wrath

The Grapes of Wrath Description:

First published in Steinbeck s Pulitzer Prize winning epic of the Great Depression chronicles the Dust Bowl migration of the s and tells the story of one Oklahoma farm family the Joads driven from their homestead and forced to travel west to the promised land of California Out of their trials and their repeated collisions against the hard realities of an America divided into haves and have nots evolves a drama that is intensely human yet majestic in its scale and moral vision elemental yet plainspoken tragic but ultimately stirring in its human dignity br br A portrait of the conflict between the powerful and the powerless of one man s fierce reaction to injustice and of one woman s stoical strength the novel captures the horrors of the Great Depression and probes the very nature of equality and justice in America br br Sensitive to fascist and communist criticism Steinbeck insisted that The Battle Hymn of the Republic be printed in its entirety in the first edition of the book which takes its title from the first verse He is trampling out the vintage where the grapes of wrath are stored As Don DeLillo has claimed Steinbeck shaped a geography of conscience with this novel where there is something at stake in every sentence Beyond that for emotional urgency evocative power sustained impact prophetic reach and continued controversy i The Grapes of Wrath i is perhaps the most American of American classics

Rating: 3.74 out of 5

The Pearl

The Pearl Description:

Like his father and grandfather before him Kino is a poor diver gathering pearls from the gulf beds that once brought great wealth to the kings of Spain and now provide Kino Juana and their infant son with meager subsistence Then on a day like any other Kino emerges from the sea with a pearl as large as a sea gull s egg as perfect as the moon With the pearl comes hope the promise of comfort and of security br br A story of classic simplicity based on a Mexican folk tale i The Pearl i explores the secrets of man s nature greed the darkest depths of evil and the luminous possibilities of love

Rating: 3.39 out of 5

Cannery Row

Cannery Row Description:

i Cannery Row i is a book without much of a plot Rather it is an attempt to capture the feeling and people of a place the cannery district of Monterey California which is populated by a mix of those down on their luck and those who choose for other reasons not to live up the hill in the more respectable area of town The flow of the main plot is frequently interrupted by short vignettes that introduce us to various denizens of the Row most of whom are not directly connected with the central story These vignettes are often characterized by direct or indirect reference to extreme violence suicides corpses and the cruelty of the natural world br br The story of i Cannery Row i follows the adventures of Mack and the boys a group of unemployed yet resourceful men who inhabit a converted fish meal shack on the edge of a vacant lot down on the Row br br Sweet Thursday is the sequel to Cannery Row

Rating: 3.61 out of 5

Travels with Charley: In Search of America

Travels with Charley: In Search of America Description:

b An intimate journey across and in search of America as told by one of its most beloved writers in a deluxe centennial edition b br br In September John Steinbeck embarked on a journey across America He felt that he might have lost touch with the country with its speech the smell of its grass and trees its color and quality of light the pulse of its people To reassure himself he set out on a voyage of rediscovery of the American identity accompanied by a distinguished French poodle named Charley and riding in a three quarter ton pickup truck named Rocinante br br His course took him through almost forty states northward from Long Island to Maine through the Midwest to Chicago onward by way of Minnesota North Dakota Montana with which he fell in love and Idaho to Seattle south to San Francisco and his birthplace Salinas eastward through the Mojave New Mexico Arizona to the vast hospitality of Texas to New Orleans and a shocking drama of desegregation finally on the last leg through Alabama Virginia Pennsylvania and New Jersey to New York br br i Travels with Charley in Search of America i is an intimate look at one of America s most beloved writers in the later years of his life a self portrait of a man who never wrote an explicit autobiography Written during a time of upheaval and racial tension in the South which Steinbeck witnessed firsthand i Travels with Charley i is a stunning evocation of America on the eve of a tumultuous decade

Rating: 3.77 out of 5

The Red Pony

The Red Pony Description:

Raised on a ranch in northern California Jody is well schooled in the hard work and demands of a rancher s life He is used to the way of horses too but nothing has prepared him for the special connection he will forge with Gabilan a hot tempered pony his father gives him With Billy Buck the hired hand Jody tends and trains his horse restlessly anticipating the moment he will sit high upon Gabilan s saddle But when Gabilan falls ill Jody discovers there are still lessons he must learn about the ways of nature and particularly the ways of man

Rating: 3.77 out of 5

Tortilla Flat

Tortilla Flat Description:

Steinbeck is an artist and he tells the stories of these lovable thieves and adulterers with a gentle and poetic purity of heart and of prose New York Herald Tribune br br Adopting the structure and themes of the Arthurian legend Steinbeck created a Camelot on a shabby hillside above the town of Monterey California and peopled it with a colorful band of knights At the center of the tale is Danny whose house like Arthur s castle becomes a gathering place for men looking for adventure camaraderie and a sense of belonging These knights are i paisanos i men of mixed heritage whose ancestors settled California hundreds of years before Free of ties to jobs and other complications of the American way of life they fiercely resist the corrupting tide of honest toil in the surrounding ocean of civil rectitude br br As Steinbeck chronicles their deeds their multiple loves their wonderful brawls their Rabelaisian wine drinking he spins a tale as compelling and ultimately as touched by sorrow as the famous legends of the Round Table which inspired him

Rating: 3.32 out of 5

The Winter of Our Discontent

The Winter of Our Discontent Description:

Ethan Allen Hawley the protagonist of Steinbeck s last novel works as a clerk in a grocery store that his family once owned With Ethan no longer a member of Long Island s aristocratic class his wife is restless and his teenage children are hungry for the tantalizing material comforts he cannot provide Then one day in a moment of moral crisis Ethan decides to take a holiday from his own scrupulous standards br br Set in Steinbeck s contemporary America the novel explores the tenuous line between private and public honesty that today ranks it alongside his most acclaimed works of penetrating insight into the American condition This edition features an introduction and notes by Steinbeck scholar Susan Shillinglaw

Rating: 3.37 out of 5

The Moon Is Down

The Moon Is Down Description:

Taken by surprise a small coastal town is overrun by an invading army with little resistance The town is important because it is a port that serves a large coal mine Colonel Lanser the head of the invading battalion along with his staff establishes his HQ in the house of the democratically elected and popular Mayor Orden br br As the reality of occupation sinks in and the weather turns bleak with the snows beginning earlier than usual the simple peaceful people of the town are angry and confused Colonel Lanser a veteran of many wars tries to operate under a veil of civility and law but in his heart he knows that there are no peaceful people amongst those whose freedom has been taken away by force The veil is soon torn apart when Alexander Morden an erstwhile alderman and a free man is ordered to work in the mine He strikes out at Captain Loft with a pick axe but Captain Bentick steps into its path and dies of it After a summary trial Morden is executed by a firing squad This incident catalyzes the people of the town and they settle into a slow silent waiting revenge Sections of the railroad linking the port with the mine get damaged regularly the machinery breaks down often and the dynamo of the electricity generators gets short circuited Whenever a soldier relaxes his guard drinks or goes out with a woman he is killed Mayor Orden stands by his people and tries to explain to Col Lanser that his goal to break man s spirit permanently is impossible br br The cold weather and the constant fear weighs heavy on the occupying force many of whom wish the war to end so that they can return home They realize the futility of the war and that the flies have conquered the flypaper Some members of the resistance escape to England and ask the English for explosives so that the townspeople can intensify their efforts English planes parachute drop small packages containing dynamite sticks and chocolates all around the town In a state of panic the army takes the Mayor and his friend Dr Winter the town doctor and historian hostage and lets it be known that any action from resistance will lead to their execution Mayor Orden knows that nothing can stop his people and that his death is imminent He tells his wife that while he can be killed the idea of Mayor and freedom and democracy is beyond the reach of any army Before his execution Mayor Orden reminds Dr Winter of the dialogues of Socrates in the Apology a part he played in the high school play and tells him to make sure that the debt is repaid to the army i e that the resistance is continued

Rating: 3.73 out of 5