5 – Grapes of Wrath – John Steinbeck


In honour of World Book Day on Thursday, I have decided to compile a list of 5 books/novels that I would save instead of myself, if this world depended upon it.

It would ensure that these books were safe and continued to be read, whilst I exploded into tiny bits, happy in the knowledge that I did my bit for the future of mankind.

The first book I would save has to be a Steinbeck novel. I love him. I love his stories. He grew up in the Salinas valley, surrounded by the Gabilan Mountains, a few miles south of Soledad, etc… I grew up in Sutton. His characters went on epic journeys, on the brink of starvation with all of their belongings and family members stacked on the back of a rickety waggon. I used to get the 154 from Carshalton Beeches to Croydon with my free bus pass.

On a different day I might have saved `Of Mice and Men` or `East of Eden` or perhaps stuck them together with Pritt Stick to make one super book about `The Great Depression` and itinerant life in 1930s America.

What I love about Steinbeck is that he loved words and he clearly loved description. He loved dialogue and he loved characters. Yes, he could have edited his work a bit more and perhaps slimmed it down a bit, but I love his bloated and gluttonous description.

The Grapes of Wrath is both indulgent and essential. It’s like having a golden toilet in your bathroom.

If you want to know about the plot – then read the book. It won’t disappoint. The end is still the most beautiful and haunting piece of literature that I’ve ever read.


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