This Sunday, a book review instead of an excerpt...
I’ve read “Cannery Row” several times. My books, most of them, are being held hostage in Fla by my narcissistic sister. But that doesn’t stop me from reading new books. And returning to my favorites. When I read “Grapes of Wrath” I was weeping and really felt what those people leaving our ruined heartland were feeling. Steinbeck is more than a novelist. He’s also captured the American heart and spirit. Cannery Row is full of that love Steinbeck captured in Monterey. Our country is now a bland conglomeration of stores and places I refuse to go to. The list keeps growing too. I remember the Reagan times all too well. To me, he was just a cleaned up (externally) version of the criminals we suffered under with both Bush’s and then Trump. We’ve list so much. My reading now includes “Strongmen” by Ruth Ben-Ghiat and “Surviving Autocracy” by Masha Gessen. I read and write romance novels and about my favorite animals. I’m hanging on by a thread.
Thank you so much for sharing this. Steinbeck’s novels are so engrossing they cannot be put down! I will put this one on my reading list now too. I read Grapes of Wrath faster and more intensely than any book I’ve read and in about a day! I was really struck by your fathers’ acknowledgment and appreciation of your mother’s sacrifices for him and your family. Women are mostly unacknowledged for this and we live sometimes not being able to express and enact our full fledged identities - which leads to depression. It’s nice to also read about your family’s love of books. It was validating to learn this. I’ve saved all my books and my favorite place is a library - as it was my mothers too.
Thom, you are a national treasure!
Thanks for your clarity and probity.
Your words are so beautiful, so inspiring, Thom, and I am so grateful to your parents for their lives, heard from you, and that you follow in their passionate, intelligent foot steps. They were a powerful team, as also you and your wife are, bringing these words to us daily. Thank you.
This, is really a heartwarming look at your dad’s love of reading and explains how you caught the bug as well. I have never read this book by Steinbeck but I will be looking into it with great interest. The other thing was all the amazing things your mom did that your dad really admired. I really do understand you more now as the man you became to be Thom because of your parents. Sometimes it’s good to reflect back on life to see how things have changed. We are so far away from a Steinbeck novel now because of all the corporate control and corruption. I am sure with a Democratic country perhaps we can build back the mom and pop stores of yesterday and bring some resemblance of the small town business that use to thrive and make the community as a whole better. Thanks Thom for looking back on a time I’m sure your dad would be proud that you have told us about now let’s see what we can do to bring the times of Steinbeck’s great ideas back to reality. Thom your mom and dad were gifts to us because we have you and all your great love of reading and writing great books yourself. Thank you again Oh Captain my Captain for always steering us in the right direction so we continue to use our minds. Mr. Steinbecks novel will help us do just that. Thank your dad too Thom for being the great reader he was too, so we have you.
I am new subscriber. I am going to Monterey for the first time four weeks from today. I will read "Cannery Row" before I leave. Thank You
I feel, in reading your words, as if Spirit has put me in contact with a true and genuine American and a deep and worthy human being. Not to put too fine a point on it, but finding your work is exactly what I needed at this stage of my life. Please be aware and accept that what you are doing is having a powerful and positive impact on so many people. This piece, especially the excerpt from your Dad's last email to you, brought tears to my eyes. Having been born in 1952, I can remember America as you described it, before every town and city in America looked exactly like every other when you fly through on the freeway. And I also love Steinbeck, whom I see as probably America's greatest writer. If I may say it, Thom, God bless you.
I still buy and read hardcover books. You explained better than I why I do it.
Thanks, Thom, for sharing personal moments and influences that helped to shape your views. And, so sorry to hear about your brother.
When asked about favorite authors, I used to say John Steinbeck. After reading Of Mice and Men I was hooked. The social justice and fairness themes pinged my senses. Time for re-reads.
Bless you Thom. You gave a wonderful tribute. We both had depression era parents. My Dad's refrain was: we were poor but didn't know it because everyone else was poor. His mother died when he was 11.Then off to World War 2. He read poetry and Tom Sawyer and Huckleberry Finn to us. He became a Lt. Colonel, built roads and bridges, became a father to one of my fatherless friends, stood up to the mafia in Rochester ny, was a guitar - piano playing kind no nonsense Dad. My Mom lost her mom when she was 13 and dropped out of school to take care of her Dad and 2 brothers. She was perhaps smarter than all of us but never got the chance.I wish you well.I had back surgery 10 years ago. I couldn't stand or walk without being in severe pain. Now at the age of 71 I have no pain anywhere. There is a recovery period but it's do able. You will do great. Thanks, Paul
Love Monterey and its connection with John Steinbeck! Expecting the best with your upcoming back surgery.
Well said Thom, I've read "Grapes of Wrath" years ago and still remember it well, some books never leave you. The last time I read something that gave me that same feeling was "Angle of Repose" by Wallace Stegner, another classic. I must read "Cannery Row".
Thom, I really appreciate all of the things I learn from you. You always keep me on my toes that’s for sure.
Thom, have a successful surgery and look forward to when you return with all truth and facts we need to know about. I love your mind Thom.
Best wishes for a speedy recovery. Yours is a sane voice at a time when one is most needed
If, we haven’t figured out by now how all Reagan’s breaks for the rich hurt any idea of what Steinbeck vision really was. Let’s have them pay their fair share. Corporate greed must be stopped. This is really making me angry. Something has to charge.