Sunday Salon: Steinbeck

Another week of soaring temperatures and heavy summer storms. Book purchase of the week? The Consolations of Philosophy, by Alain de Botton. Another of those retro ‘Popular Penguins’; the orange paperbacks that cost $9.95 each. I know nothing of philosophy, and the reviews I’ve read of the book are rather disconcerting:

De Botton’s new book consists of obvious, hopeless or contradictory advice culled from great thinkers on how to overcome certain problems of existence

but it seems like a fun romp of a book, and it’s the best kind because it has lots of pictures.

This afternoon, I’ve decided to put Anna Karenina aside for The Pearl, by John Steinbeck. It’s a thin little novella, so I’ve been saving it for a quiet day like today – I want to get through it in one sitting.

Now that I think about it, I’m not all that familiar with American classics. Let’s see – love Fitzgerald, slightly acquainted with Poe and Twain, half-heartedly attempted a Hemingway and failed, never tried Faulkner, been wanting to read Wharton for a while but haven’t had time, sort of remember Uncle Tom’s Cabin and To Kill a Mockingbird from when I was younger, just about to begin my first Steinbeck.

Hopefully I’ll be seeing more of Hemingway this year. And Edith Wharton; The Age of Innocence is sitting on my shelf right now.



8 thoughts on “Sunday Salon: Steinbeck

  1. That is the THIRD mention of Consolations of Philosophy this week in the blogging world. And then I saw it at the library yesterday. I mean, I think I’m supposed to read it.

    I loved Steinbeck’s East of Eden, but have yet to read more. Loved Age of Innocence!

    Happy reading!

    1. Rebecca – hahah, yes I think it’s a sign. Hmm, I’ve been curious about East of Eden in the past, but right now I have so much on my to-read list that other books just fail to capture my interest. I think I’ve finally reached my limit

  2. I’ve never heard of the philosophy book, but i read The Pearl when I was younger. although it was abridged, the novel is very thin (as you mentioned). I enjoyed it very much.

    nice template, by the way (=

    1. Zawan – perhaps you meant it was thin even though it was unabridged. Abridged means a shortened version, in which case it would certainly be thin. Even unabridged, it’s only 96 pages! I also enjoyed it very much. I’lll probably get around to posting my thoughts sometime today or tomorrow.

      Happy reading to you both :)

  3. You have so many great possibilities there! I might skip the Faulkner. I can appreciate the writing but subject matter is so bleak sometimes as to make for a really uncomfortable read for me. Watching out your bedroom window as your family builds your coffin? Not for everyone. But Henry James? Love everything. American literary realists are always at the top of my list.

  4. Oh, Henry James! Momentarily forgot he was American. I once tried Portrait of a Lady but I only got halfway. Ditto w/ What Maisie Knew.

    I’ll be sure to give him another try though. Last year was not a good year for me, and most of the books I read fell flat b/c I was too tired to appreciate what I was reading.

    Faulkner doesn’t sound very pleasant. The coffin thing is definitely not for me :)

  5. I’ve bought a few too many of the popular penguins already.

    I’d probably out Faulkner on hold as well but re-read To Kill a mockingbird. I’d also recommend The Sun Also Rises by Hemingway and anything by Edith Wharton.

    If James’s novels haven’t connected with you, I’d try his short stories/novellas eg Daisy Miller, The Aspern Papers, The Turn of The Screw or a shorter novel like Washington Square or The Europeans.

    1. I’ll be reading “The Sun Also Rises” (I think I put it down for one of my challenges) and I’m going to read ‘The Age of Innocence’ next month :)
      Shorter James definitely sounds like the smart thing to do; I’ll be sure to give them a try.

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