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The Short Novels

4.27  ·  Rating details ·  8,208 Ratings  ·  83 Reviews
The short novels of John Steinbeck - Tortilla Flat, The Red Pony, Of Mice and Men, The Moon is Down, Cannery Row, The Pearl
Paperback, 568 pages
Published 1997 by Minerva (first published 1953)
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Jennifer Lynn Harrison
What can I say? It's Steinbeck, and he is amazing.
Jul 19, 2010 rated it it was amazing
I've decided to start a tradition of reading several novels from my favorite author, John Steinbeck, every summer. This summer I chose a collection of Steinbeck's short novels, and although I had read all but "Cannery Row" and "The Moon Is Down" before, I hadn't read "The Pearl" or "The Red Pony" in about 15 years. I've really enjoyed returning to these classics after so many years, and I found like that I liked "The Pearl" a lot more than I remembered it and I liked "The Red Pony" a lot less. " ...more
Of Mice and Men is a quick and easy read. Steinbeck writes with beautiful and physical descriptions that for me, painted a detailed picture of every setting along the journey.
George and Lennie are a mismatched pair of migrant farm workers. George is small and has a knowledge from life not schooling. Lennie is mountainous (for lack of a better word) and childlike in mind. Lennie is so strong, he is unaware of this strength, when he connects with anyone from mice to men, he may unknowingly do them
Theresa Powers
Jun 03, 2012 rated it really liked it  ·  review of another edition
I read The Red Pony today. It is such a sad, coming of age story. Life lessons come up constantly in this book. I particularly enjoy the setting of the book on a ranch in California. It paints a clear picture of farm life. I gain an appreciation for the harshness of the land and hard work. The boy, Jody, learns how to be a man in this rudimentary environment. Although his father models a man with little emotion, the boy goes through a myriad of emotions. I found myself crying at certain points b ...more
Mar 19, 2011 rated it it was amazing  ·  review of another edition
ok, so I haven't read all of the stories yet. Still, I wanted to post my review on the copy that I own.

The first story I read in this collection was the Red Pony. It is easily a four star read. Too start with, some of the imagery in the book is stunning. Steinbeck is an approachable writer but he can craft a powerful image. A birthing scene in the barn stands out in my mind. The character, a farm-hand, in a violent but powerful scene is able to come through. And Steinbeck does a great job of se
May 12, 2016 rated it really liked it  ·  review of another edition
Excellent stuff
Nov 02, 2015 rated it really liked it  ·  review of another edition
Tortilla Flat 2.5/5 stars

Tortilla Flat was written by John Steinbeck and published in 1935. This short novel is about a group of Paisanos ( Native Californians who are a mixture of Spainish, Mexican and Native American) in the area around Monterey, California in the years following World War 1. The story centers on a man named Danny, his group of friends and his house that they all live in. This novel takes inspiration from the legends of King Arthur and his knights of the round table,
What can I say. Steinbeck is "THE MAN"! 👍🏻
The Moon is Down Review (9/02/12)
Gave 4 stars
Interesting novella that follows the story about a "silent" rebellious coastal townspeople who have recently been conquered by an invading army. While the townspeople do not outwardly or actively rebel or resist, they look on to the invading army with cruel, cold, and un-trusting eyes which kills some of the invading army's soldiers. The dialogue was really creative and the characters were well-crafted.

The Red Pony Review (9/01/12)
Gave 2 stars
To tell
Jun 18, 2017 rated it really liked it  ·  review of another edition
I liked "Of Mice and Men" and "Cannery Row". I've read both of them before. I don't think I've read the other ones before. I also liked "The Red Pony". I think "Tortilla Flat" and "Cannery Row" focus too much on drinking, but I guess that's kind of the nature of how many of Steinbeck's characters. I thought "The Pearl" started off good but ended up being very dark. There is a certain depressing style to the way Steinbeck writes. Of course my all time favorite is "Grapes of Wrath". I love the boo ...more
to refresh my knowledge of the human being..the choice of good or bad.. the results of these choices..and the struggle of doing good and avoiding the bad...and learning..
Anny Peplinski
Apr 06, 2018 rated it it was amazing  ·  review of another edition
A splendid collection of stories, however I especially enjoyed the Red Pony.
Apr 26, 2015 rated it really liked it  ·  review of another edition
Steinbeck is known for giving a voice to the underdog and prescribing a human beauty to marginalized member of society. A particular gift of Steinbeck's is his ability to describe characters, victors, villains, or heroes, with an utter lack of judgment. He seems to believe that people are fated to do what they do, partly from lot in life and partly from opportunity.

Tortilla Flat:
Danny and the boys are scamps, tramps, sometimes thieves, always lazy, and eternally happy. A little wine, the affec
Warren John
This review has been hidden because it contains spoilers. To view it, click here.
Patrick Walsh
May 03, 2012 rated it it was amazing  ·  review of another edition
I am actually re-reading this excellent collection of Steinbeck's short novels; I tend to return to old favorites again and again, like visiting old friends. Accounts of my affection for these stories could fill several small volumes on their own; suffice it to say that I heartily recommend John Steinbeck's work to anyone interested in understanding 20th century American literature and culture.

My favorite here is Of Mice and Men; I have read it more frequently than any of Steinbeck's books, and
Bill FromPA
Apr 14, 2017 marked it as partially-read  ·  review of another edition
Shelves: bestsellers, 1930s
The characters in Tortilla Flat impressed me as comic strip figures – each had a few characteristics that distinguished them from the other characters, but none achieved more than a two-dimensional presence for me. Danny was the least well defined – his melancholy and death in the final chapters seemed like the end of a character arc which never had a beginning or middle.

Though the characters are introduced as joining the Army at the US entry into WWI, they seem to stand outside history and t
Tortilla Flat (I would rate it as a 4/5 stars.)

This short novel gripped my heart on a daily basis. It was quite commonplace writing, in the sense that it often felt like journal entries. "This person did this...this person did that...." But it was always enough that the reader wished to keep going. It might not always be the most intriguing stories day to day, but I never felt moments of not wanting to know what was going on with each character.

I was very overwhelmed with how much alcohol affec
The book of the pearl had many symbolism in it. The pearl mostly had about the pearl of coarse, oysters, and Kino&Juana

The Pearl represented the earth's riches, it is beautiful on the outside and everything seems like it is going well, but if you look deeper you can really tell that everything is not okay. It can be filled with, greed,hate,suffering,pollution,and etc. Kino, was a reflection on human society, and there are people in the society who see the big picture (Juana Represents that)
Dec 25, 2010 rated it it was amazing  ·  review of another edition
Prior to reading this collection, I considered myself a fan of John Steinbeck. I had, at one point or another, read The Grapes of Wrath, East of Eden, and of course, Of Mice and Men. I enjoyed all of those well enough to want to read more, more, more by Steinbeck. Hence, I picked up this book and began reading.

The first thing that came to mind upon finishing this is that John Steinbeck has officially made it into my sacred realm of Favorite Authors. There were some novellas here that I enjoyed
Jun 20, 2011 rated it it was amazing
I read these books years ago before I ever read Steinbeck’s more weighty novels of 'East Of Eden' and 'The Grapes of Wrath'. After a recent scan of these works my thoughts on them have not diminished. If only dipping into the novellas and short stories, most readers will go straight to 'Of Mice and Men'. To read only this is a mistake of catastrophic literary proportions. If you like allegorical tales this is indeed a good book, in a similar vein to The Pearl. It does not, however come close to ...more
Jul 05, 2014 rated it it was amazing  ·  review of another edition
This collection of Steinbeck's shorter works was a real breath of fresh air from today's standard fare of angst filled, post-apocalyptic teens or the sad reminiscence of the post-war novel that is all the rage among the literary set of late. The Short Novels is undeniable proof, if it was even necessary, that good writing wins out over trendiness every time.

That Steinbeck's writing has resisted the test of time is no secret. The hidden beauty in his works, however, is the cross-generational appe
Jun 09, 2014 rated it it was amazing  ·  review of another edition
Shelves: favorites
A great collection of short stories by the great John Steinbeck.

One thing I re-realized while reading this collection was that all good things should be taken in moderation. The same goes for good books. As much as I love the work of Steinbeck, it's nice to read something else every once in a while, if only to have the desire for exceptional writing to gnaw at you once again, forcing you to go back to a favorite author. What I mean is that instead of reading this within the time frame that I did
Sep 06, 2010 rated it it was amazing  ·  review of another edition
Tortilla Flat: *** - Since my intro to Steinbeck was The Grapes of Wrath, I was really relieved that this first story in the collection was not emotionally grueling, but was light and amusing. While Steinbeck does laugh at and kind of make fun of his characters here, I also have the impression that he cares for them a great deal. They don't always make the smartest choices, but ultimately, they are sweet people.

The Red Pony: ***

Of Mice and Men: ****

The Moon Is Down: ***** - Superb and understate
Jeffrey Finc
Aug 20, 2015 rated it really liked it  ·  review of another edition
'Cannery Row' (5 out of 5 stars) is the pearl in this collection, brilliant in every way. The balance of comedy and drama reads as a perfect intro to Steinbeck. 'Tortilla Flat' (4 stars) feels like a bizarro early draft of 'Cannery Row' but is quite enjoyable in its own right. 'Of Mice and Men' (4 stars) is simply and powerfully told and contains many iconic Steinbeckian images. I originally read the parable that is 'The Pearl' (3 stars) in high school; it comes off as more devastating now, afte ...more
May 01, 2012 rated it liked it  ·  review of another edition
Steinbeck stands out as a great writer who is not really a very good writer. His greatness is undisputed, because
of his subject, the working class American--to use a post-Steinbeck phrase. But his prose is not intriguing, seductive,
surprising, as we expect great authors to write. In fact, Steinbeck himself doubted his gifts as a writer, and
he was not wrong. But his discovery and documentation--almost in a journalist sense--of American life
as it was developing into the America we are...This is u
Cass -  Words on Paper
14/02/2013, birthday present from parents (I asked for it). The book itself is just lovely... even nicer than I could have imagined. The cover is smooth and of good quality. The pb book is big, but the pages open up easily and such that the spine won't easily crack (unless you intend to do so). The font isn't too small, on par with some other classic novel lines. The edges are deckled. There are french flaps. On the front page is a summary of John Steinbeck's life and works/achievements, and als ...more

Collected here for the first time in a deluxe paperback volume are six of John Steinbeck’s most widely read and beloved novels—Tortilla Flat, The Red Pony, Of Mice and Men, The Moon Is Down, Cannery Row, and The Pearl. From Steinbeck’s tale of commitment, loneliness, and hope in Of Mice and Men, to his tough yet charming portrait of people on the margins of society in Cannery Row, to The Pearl’s examination of the fallacy of the American dream, Steinbeck created stories that were realistic, rugg

Oct 06, 2012 rated it really liked it  ·  review of another edition
loved tortilla flat and cannery row, both days in the lives of the monterrey underclass, where the preferred unit of measure of wine is the gallon, and money is only procured as needed by cutting squids for the chinaman. the moon is down is something petraeus and the rest of the pentagon war-boys should have to read, fiction about the facts and fantasies of military occupation. mice and men grew on me. the pearl was just too damn depressing, i already know people suck, especially rich greedy peo ...more
These novels are, in general, very fascinating and compelling, though I have read only half of them. The Pearl explores the desirability of nearly everyone's wish: sudden wealth to cure all problems, and how it compounds them. The Moon is Down portrays how a community can fight back against unexpected tyranny by conquerors. Tortilla Flat portrays a group of alcoholic friends leeching off one another and their community without contributing.
Anup Sinha
Jun 23, 2015 rated it it was amazing  ·  review of another edition
I can't say enough about this as a Steinbeck fan. I found it for something like $8 at a used book store in Frankenmuth, Michigan, and got so much entertainment out of reading the six stories. They are all surprisingly different, yet commonly binded by Steinbeck's brilliant prose. The great thing is that none of the stories are particularly long and you get the whole spectrum of Steinbeck in a relatively short time.
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John Steinbeck III was an American writer. He wrote the Pulitzer Prize-winning novel The Grapes of Wrath, published in 1939 and the novella Of Mice and Men, published in 1937. In all, he wrote twenty-five books, including sixteen novels, six non-fiction books and several collections of short stories.

In 1962 Steinbeck received the Nobel Prize for Literature.

Steinbeck grew up in the Salinas Valley
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“It was not a safe thing to lead Joe into temptation; he had no resistance to it at all.” 5 likes
“It has always seemed strange to me,” said Doc. “The things we admire in men, kindness and generosity, openness, honesty, understanding and feeling are the concomitants of failure in our system. And those traits we detest, sharpness, greed, acquisitiveness, meanness, egotism and self-interest are the traits of success. And while men admire the quality of the first they love the produce of the second.” 5 likes
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