Sunday, September 6, 2015

East of Eden

I must have led a literarily deprived childhood.  Both of my parents were readers, though for Dad it was mostly newspapers and magazines, and for Mom the same and the popular book of the week.  I did read a lot, though I found myself thinking reading was a luxury I could not afford because there was always something I "had" to do.  So the older I got, the less I read.

In high school, I read the usual books - To Kill a Mockingbird, A Separate Peace, A Tale of Two Cities, Great Expectations . .  you know the books.  And then I tried to read a lot of those I "should" read - Wuthering Heights, Ivanhoe, Emma - but I didn't really understand them.  

Once I retired, I joined a book club, and as a result, began to read more.  And as I read more, I decided to begin to try to pick up a few classics along the way.  And it has been wonderful. 

Sometimes I think one needs to be older to enjoy many of the classics, though I know Diana would disagree.  The second time through on To Kill A Mockingbird was far more enriching.  And Jane Eyre?  I loved it, though when I began it as a teen, I was so scared at the ghost scene I did not go on.  Our book club reads one classic per year (this year we will do Anna Karenina, which is rather scary to me!), and I have tried to add one or two more per year.  East of Eden was a last-minute addition.

I think I know what turned me off to Steinbeck.  Travels with Charley.  I was so offended by his realism when I was a very naive eighth-grader that I put it up and never read anything else of his.  So when Kathy Dunlavy suggested I read East of Eden, I balked; but her recommendations have always been so spot-on, I decided to read it.  And I have to admit, I loved it.  I am glad I took the time to read it.  If you haven't, I highly recommend it!

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