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Thursday, September 27, 2007

literature

Another friend of mine, located conveniantly in my side bar, (Mimi from bigger than a breadbox) brought up books in her blog earlier this week. (This post is a shameless copy of hers, but I chose a different book altogether to focus my attention on.)
I've always loved to read, I was reading at an early age, before kindergarten, and my parents used to joke that they'd have to win the lottery to keep me in books. I was lucky, they'd frequently get me new things to read. We lived nowhere NEAR a library, so, I got to keep most of the books I read.
I read the "traditional" books people give to children, like Heidi, and Little Women ect, ect.
But I also read everything else. Anything left laying around.
One book, that I got at perhaps, an age too young to understand it, though, was "The Grapes of Wrath", by John Steinbeck. Uncle B got it for me for Christmas one year.
I understood it, though. I was maybe 12 when I read it, but I got it.
To this day, it is one of my favorite books. The imagery that Steinbeck evokes in that book for me. I can imagine the arid dryness of the Oklahoma dust bowl. I can see Tom Joad's prison set of clothing, as he makes his way home to his clan. I can see the old clunker of a car they bought with their last money to get out to the "promised land". I can feel their anxiety, and desperation, and, eventually, defeat and misery as they realize that all that glitters is not gold. The hostility, the pain. That book is truly amazing. I still have the copy Uncle B got me that Christmas. I get it out, and read it again, periodically. I have never seen the movie, and I don't really have a desire to do so. It might ruin my own images.
Surprisingly, though I've liked them, none of the other Steinbeck works have thrilled me like the Grapes of Wrath did.
I've read other great books since that one. But the Grapes of Wrath always stands out in my mind.
So I am going to echo Mimi's question. What book does it for you? Is there one book that should be required reading for everyone? Tell me what it is. Maybe I have not read it, yet.

8 comments:

Jamie said...

I've also always loved books. After reading "Little Women" Louisa May Alcott became one of my favorite authors. I searched out her works to enjoy.

One of my all time favorites was "Johnny Tremaine" I first read it when I was in the sixth grade. My teacher was trying to find a book that had words in it that I didn't know. We had no luck with that one, but I loved the story. I haven't read it since eigth grade, but it still sticks out in my mind as one of the greats.

CamiKaos said...

There are so many, so many... let me think. Do you read much poetry? Mine might just be a book of poems. Or maybe Hardboiled Wonderland....

Hmmm.. yes I must think on it.

sybil law said...

Yeah - one book - I've tried this before, and I just can't do it.
I too, read early, and in 5th grade I started reading my brothers' required reading (he's 6 years older than me) for school, and I read "All Quiet on the Western Front". Blew my mind.
I suggest most books by Mark Helprin. But "The Grapes of Wrath" is also one of my favorites! 'Cept that nursing part... haha.

Mimi said...

Hey, thanks for the shout out. Another early and voracious reader here - I generally don't like Steinbeck, but absolutely adore "Cannery Row" and read it again and again (and the sequel, "Sweet Thursday"). I've never tried "Grapes of Wrath" I will have to try it.

There are so many I love and read again and again (I'm a re-reader). Barbara Kingsolver's "Animal Dreams" also comes to mind, as does "Somewhere Off the Coast of Maine" by Ann Hood. And, of course "The Outsiders" but I already mentioned that one!

mielikki said...

Jamie-
I still actually love Little Women. I have not read Johnny Tremayne, though.

Cami- I love poetry as well, and love discovering new poets I have not read. Suggest away

Syb-thats funny, I took a "what book are you" Quiz once, and came out as "All Quiet on the Western Front." I really should read it, I guess.

Mimi- I knew you were a bookworm like me :). I am also a re-reader. Animal Dreams is a great book, and I do love The Outsiders, too. Try the Grapes of Wrath, some people love it, others don't!

David in DC said...

One of my favorite left-wing boycotts of all time was a Cesar Chavez-inspired boycott of non-union grape growers.

They called the boycott "The Wrath of Grapes".

Troy said...

Too many books, too little time. I could list a whole bunch of titles: a few of my favorite re-reads that jump to mind would be Catch-22 by Joseph Heller, One Flew Over the Cuckoo's Nest by Ken Kesey, and Herman Wouk's historical masterpieces The Winds of War and War and Remembrance.

Two other books have recently seriously moved me, too. They are Love Thy Neighbour: A Story of War by Peter Maas (an account of the genocide in Bosnia in the early nineties) and Touching My Father's Soul by Jamling Tenzing Norgay (the son of the Sherpa who summited Mount Everest with Sir Edmund Hillary in 1953).

I could go on and on here. Thanks for making me think about them again! I'm going to do some re-reading tonight.

mielikki said...

DiDC-HA!

Troy-glad to oblige. Strangely enough, I am actually re-reading One Flew Over the Cuckoo's nest at this very moment. I love the book, and the movie was pretty good, too!