Today I added a typelist to my weblog so anyone reading it can click and instantly be directed to Amazon.com for a look at the books I like. This is very complicated for me, and I wanted the darn thing to show up on each and every post. I don't think it's going to work, at least not at first. But the bottom line is: I read most of the time, and I usually read papers and journals. Books are a luxury, something you do if time is available; I hate to just read a book, I want to know something about the person who wrote the words. All of my life people have seen me read and they always ask me who my favorite author is. I never could give them an intelligent answer until lately, because I used to read a lot of fluff and entertainment. Now that I am older I can't stand the fluff anymore and I can only become interested if its an important piece of literature written by an interesting character.
When I read the New York Times, I am sorry, I have to skip Maureen Dowd. She is the definition of fluff and I really can't be bothered; I go to the science pages instead. And when I was very young Stephen King could scare me to death; now that I am older he hasn't got a thought that could pump my adrenaline. But for some reason, John Steinbeck has really taken my heart. I think in part because I am so familiar with his central coast California home, Salinas. Several years ago on a beautiful spring day, I rented a little motel room, opened the back window of my truck, and went downtown in the ocean breeze to visit the Steinbeck center; it changed me quite a lot. In that place you can find something that defines the spirit of what America really is. Some of what I saw there brought me to tears; I understood, finally, the struggle of real poverty, destitution, and how success is finally measured. In Steinbeck's words you can find the essence of America, and witness greed's cruel consequences, you can achieve understanding. We are facing a time now similar to Steinbeck's own experience; so now he should be read again.
Whatever you do in your spare time, try to pick up a Steinbeck book. They are all worth reading and each one will leave you with much to think about. So if you can find my little typelist, it will direct you straight over to my favorite author....his wisdom is priceless.