Sunday, May 16, 2010

May Reading Update: John Steinbeck.

My goal for this year is to read fifteen fiction novels. It's mid-May, a third into the year, and I can't say that I've read five books, but I'm pretty darn close. The number is four! They are:
  1. Barefoot by Elin Hilderbrand,
  2. The Hobbit by J.J.R Tolkien (Got bored, and finished half!),
  3. White Fang by Jack London (So far, this year's favorite!),
  4. What I Talk about When I Talk about Running by Haruki Murakami (This year's big disappointment!)
And now, I'm working on Tortilla Flat by John Steinbeck. It's a thin paper-back novel, only 207 pages. I chose it because I wanted a quick read, but I discovered a real pearl! This is my first experience reading John Steinbeck. He and Jack London have a lot in common. They were both experts at human behavior and skillful masters at creating vivid metaphors.

Here is a little taste from Tortilla Flat:

"Pilon and Pablo entered the little house joyfully. Pilon lighted a candle and produced two fruit jars for glasses.
-Health! said Pablo.
-Salud! said Pilon.
And in a few moments,
-Salud! said Pablo.
-Mud in your eye! said Pilon.
They rested a while.
-Su servidor, said Pilon.
-Down the rat-hole, said Pablo.
Two gallons is a great deal of wine, even for two paisanos. Spiritually the jugs may be graduated thus: Just below the shoulder of the first bottle, serious and concentrated conversation. Two inches farther down, sweetly sad memory. Three inches more, thoughts of old and satisfactory loves. An inch, thoughts of bitter loves. Bottom of the firts jug, general and undirected sadness. Shoulder of the second jug, black, unholy despondency. Two fingers down, a song of death or longing. A thumb, every other song each one knows. The graduation stops here, for the trail splits and there is no certainty. From this point on anything can happen. (p.23-24)"


  1. Interesting, maybe I'll pick these books up too. Heard of the authors and their books before but never read the books. Thanks for the preview.

  2. Kah Woei, thank you! Steinbeck and London are must read.

  3. Steinbeck rocks, that's all I can say.