Last night I was casting around for a (kindle) book to read. A friend had posted her short list of five books Americans should read. It consisted of My Antonia, The Grapes of Wrath, the Autobiography of Frederick Douglass, and the poems of Emily Dickinson and Gwendolyn Brooks. I don't have a problem with her list, but mine would have to include at least one by Mark Twain and maybe A Tree Grows in Brooklyn.
That musing got me thinking about John Steinbeck (as it happens, it was his birthday yesterday). My favorite book of his is not GoW but Winter of Our Discontent. I own it in paperback, and have read it more than once, but it has been many years since the last time. So I decided to get the kindle version, and I started it last night. I can already tell that I am going to thoroughly enjoy it once again. (And, I see some possibilities for the toleration midterm, which I have to write next week.) I even enjoyed the introduction, which is a surprise. One of the reasons I did not like English classes that focused on novels in high school and avoided them entirely in college is that I don't care to suffer through someone's interpretation of a work of art. I want to develop my own understanding. But I did glean a tidbit from the introduction that was news to me -- the setting was Long Island. I thought it was coastal New England, likely Massachusetts when I first read the book 30+ years ago.
This has nothing to do with any of the above, but I couldn't stop myself: