#7: East of Eden by John Steinbeck

This blew my expectations out of the water. I read Grapes of Wrath in high school and was not a huge fan of Steinbeck’s overly descriptive writing style. Seeing as this was almost twice as long as any of the other books I’ve read thus far, I thought it would be a tough week to get through. It did take a while, but I thoroughly enjoyed the story and the writing style. Also, since it was so much longer and I didn’t have much time to read this week (wine tasting and rewatching New Girl can really take up a bit of time…), I decided to take advantage of Amazon’s 30 day Audible (audiobook) trial. I was able to listen to the book on my way to/from work and read on my kindle at night – and they both would sync to my furthest read page. So simple and made this past week much easier. I also have to admit that I think I got more out of listening to the audio book than when I read on my kindle. As I said before, Steinbeck is very descriptive in his writing, and when reading on my Kindle or a book, I inadvertently will skip past parts when I see dialogue coming up. I still get the jist of the story with the dialogue, but by listening to the audio book, I was able to visualize everything so much better. Turns out he is descriptive for a reason.

Anyways, it would take me a long while to sum up East of Eden as it has many characters and many different plot points. Since I am already behind my a day on my reading, I am going to forego the summary and skip to the quotes (I have fewer than usual since I was unable to make highlights when I was listening to the audiobook). But I do recommend this book, it was engaging, and just when I thought it would be predictable, Steinbeck surprised me.

“And it never failed that during the dry years the people forgot about the rich years, and during the wet years they lost all memory of the dry years. It was always that way.

“It was not laziness if he was a rich man. Only the poor were lazy. Just as only the poor were ignorant.”

“In uncertainty I am certain that underneath their topmost layers of frailty men want to be good and want to be loved. Indeed, most of their vices are attempted short cuts to love. When a man comes to die, no matter what his talents and influence and genius, if he dies unloved his life must be a failure to him and his dying a cold horror. It seems to me that if you or I must choose between two courses of thought or action, we should remember our dying and try so to live that our death brings no pleasure to the world.”

 

Next up, The Handmaid’s Tale by Margaret Atwood…

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