Thursday, March 25, 2010

My Favorite Novel of All Time

We are finally moved in. Kind of. There are still a few boxes lying around, full of pictures that need to be put up, little knick-knacks with which we need to clutter the house. But the bulk is done. And I feel that I'm ready to get back into blogging on a daily basis.

For those of you who checked in last week to see what my favorite novel of all time is, I apologize: at that point the boxes were still winning, and we had no internet (my efforts to get internet to our house were nearly as interesting as my attempt to get the $69.95 charge from McAfee for my double-subscription taken off my credit card).

Anyway, without further ado, my favorite novel of all time is . . .

Wait. First let me give you the first few sentences . . .

"The Salinas Valley is in Northern California. It is a long narrow swale between two ranges of mountains, and the Salinas River winds and twists up the center until it falls at last into Monterey Bay.

"I remember my childhood names for grasses and secret flowers. I remember where a toad may live and what time the birds awaken in the summer - and what trees and seasons smelled like - how people looked and walked and smelled even. The memory of odors is very rich."

So begins John Steinbeck's epic novel, East of Eden. The back of the book describes it as a "the Trasks and Hamiltons helpless reenactment of the fall of Adam and Eve and the poisonous rivalry of Cain and Abel." In this book I encountered the most evil character I have ever encountered in literature (Catherine Trask) and one of the most wise and likeable (Samuel Hamilton). While the book is not as widely read as Steinbeck's Grapes of Wrath (the political and social aspects of "Grapes" make it mandatory reading in nearly every high school and college across the country), Steinbeck felt that East of Eden was his best work. And I agree with him.

Two of our children's names come from this book (youngest daughter Abra, and youngest son Samuel). I hope you'll take the time to read it.

Tune in tomorrow for an introduction to an organization that harnesses the most powerful element in the universe (and I'm not talking about He-Man).


  1. For some reason, I didn't expect this. Wouldn't have picked you as a Steinbeck fan. I have a slight aversion to Steinbeck. Could be the set of 300 Grapes of Wrath comprehension questions I answered during the summer before my junior year of high school.... BUT, this makes me want to take a second look at East of Eden. Thanks :)

  2. ME TOO!!!! My belly actually fluttered when I read the first lines included on your blog. :)