This is by far my favorite book of all time for several reasons. Steinbeck always creates some of the deepest characters I've ever read. Tom Joad is mThis is by far my favorite book of all time for several reasons. Steinbeck always creates some of the deepest characters I've ever read. Tom Joad is my favorite character in any piece of literature. His growth from a self-serving ex-con to a Christ-like hero is an embodiment of the entire Joad family. Every time I read his lines to Ma when he says "Every time there is a cop beatin' a guy...look in their eyes Ma, You'll see me" or something like that, I think of that Rage Against the Machine song and I get chills.
Also, the way Steinbeck deals with immigration issues and poverty are great. Chapter 5 when the poor farmer confronts the tractor that is going to kick him off his land blows my mind every time. It deals with a time when the US economy was shifting from rural to urban in increasing numbers. It also is a clash between a farming economy and a capitalist economy with the captialists winning out. The description of the bank as a monster that must be fed for reasons we don't understand is very appropriate.
Steinbeck wrote an amazing book that I would encourage anyone to read....more
Five Stars reaffirmed. If I could give it six I would. I first read this book in 2006. I remember sitting on the porch at my parents house in northernFive Stars reaffirmed. If I could give it six I would. I first read this book in 2006. I remember sitting on the porch at my parents house in northern Idaho, just before I was to leave for Ecuador. The air was cool in late spring, the creek across the road was babbling away and the far side of the valley was jutting up to provide the view. I remembered sitting on the porch more than the specifics of the book. The first time through I just tried to stay caught up. Steinbeck creates parallel story lines, and at the time I was a little unaccustomed to the technique.
There are dozens of quotes from characters that a person could jot in a notebook to remember for later. Steinbeck's characters are so deep, heartfelt, representing the many sides humanity possesses. The story feels like a Biblical epic. It is definitely worth reading if you haven't already. And I look forward to reading it a third, fourth...time....more
I saw a small bullfight while in Ecuador last year. It was an interesting spectacle; one that I knew I could not fully appreciate. Then I read The SunI saw a small bullfight while in Ecuador last year. It was an interesting spectacle; one that I knew I could not fully appreciate. Then I read The Sun Also Rises and I that all changed. I wanted to get back to Quito for the major bull fight with 20,000 spectators. No doubt the cruelty of the event would still be the same, but the experience changes with that many people in one place cheering for the same thing. And as one friend I met from New Zealand said (who was in Pamplona once for the running of the bulls), its so much different when you're in a place with 20,000 other people screaming for the bull to succeed. Its a dignifying way to go, I guess. ...more
The second time around reading Beloved was a much different experience than the first. Primarily it is because I understood what was going on. That siThe second time around reading Beloved was a much different experience than the first. Primarily it is because I understood what was going on. That simple fact shed light on so many details I missed the first time around. My re-read also allowed me a deeper insight into the characters' souls. I've only read this and Song of Solomon by Morrison, but I believe now that she has an amazing ablity to paint characters with so much depth its stunning. She can get you to empathize with a person who commits a most horrifying crime. I enjoyed the book enough to bump it up to the sacred "5 stars".
Below is my review from the first time I read Beloved:
I gave it four stars meaning "I loved it" and heres a few reasons why (warning, there is a bit of a plot spoiler in the last point):
-Much of the time I didn't know what was going on and, surprisingly, I appreciated it. She somehow managed to have most of the story take place within the readers imagination, including the climax scene. It does make it hard to follow, at time, and depends upon the reader being rather attentive. Another read would clear up some of these confusions, and it didn't help that it took me almost a month to finish. -The vast majority of the book is written from a limited third person (that may not be the technical phrase, and if not I apologize). There are a few chapters written from a few of the characters' direct perspective, but again, most of it is a third person narrator. That said, the perspective of that narrator would change quickly and subliminally. There would not be a new chapter or section, but just a new paragraph and all of a sudden it felt as though the narrator was speaking through a different lense. These changes made it a pleasure for me to read. -White people were referred to a few times as people without skin. -And finally, while at times a bit graphic and uncomfortably depressing, the book seems to leave an ambiguous conclusion for the reader. We aren't told how to think of Sethe's act of murdering our own child. Obviously the majority of the characters see her as a heartless murderer, but when we see into her own mind she is protecting the infant daughter from a hopeless world that Sethe has had to struggle to survive in. I didn't catch everything that Morrison presented, but overall, I loved what I read....more
I was surprised, after having finished As I Lay Dying in about a week, that Faulkner's writing is characterized as stream of consciousness. At separatI was surprised, after having finished As I Lay Dying in about a week, that Faulkner's writing is characterized as stream of consciousness. At separate times in the past I've tried to read both James Joyce and Virginia Woolf but couldn't make my way through it.
Overall, I found it to be a very dark story. The final scene in the book almost rivals the ending of Grapes of Wrath for its bizarre-ness, but has a darker more comical tone. And each of the characters has a level of insanity that drives the plot to depths I hadn't anticipated.
I enjoyed Faulkner's writing style and the multiple perspectives through which the plot unfolds. And unlike some attempts at utilizing multiple perspectives, it wasn't difficult to follow who was narrating.