Made Glorious Slumming
Title: “The Winter of Our Discontent”
Author: John Steinbeck
Blurb: “In awarding John Steinbeck the 1962 Nobel Prize in Literature, the Nobel committee stated that with The Winter of Our Discontent, he had ‘resumed his position as an independent expounder of the truth, with an unbiased instinct for what is genuinely American.'”
Review: “Winter is another of those books more easily appreciated at the age of 20 than at 50.”
Customers Also Bought: All the usual Freshman Lit suspects.
Footnote: Contrary to rumor, Disney is not expanding California Adventure to accommodate. But the other rumor is true: It’s time for Stinque Book Chat!
The Winter of Our Discontent [Amazon]
Buy or Die [Stinque@Amazon kickback link]
k, i’ll start the chat, anyone else up?
i wince at that title at 50, that i thought so profound at 20. and immediately am t/j acking over to f. scott fitzgerald, who is enormously more appreciable at 50 than at 20. i recently re-read gatsby for some mysterious reason, and developed serious writer’s block. i was so enamoured by it, i felt i had no right to type a thank you note.
but then i read carrie fisher’s “postcards from the edge” again, and got right back in the saddle. PFTE, one of the best book titles evah.
@baked: I was always much more a Fitzgerald fan than Steinbeck. I was hoping this book would make me appreciate Steinbeck more, as I’ve never been a big fan of his other work. Didn’t work. I don’t know if it’s because he’s such a guy writer, but I find all of his female characters (if they exist at all) do be one dimensional. The indictment of the materialism of the culture and many of the characters still seems familiar. I loved the town drunk who felt he was superior because he still had the family home.
Was it OA or IanJ (one of the Seattle stinquers) who suggested this? Somebody who likes the book more than I do (I’m more meh than anything) should defend it.
“Winter is another of those books more easily appreciated at the age of 20 than at 50.” Huh? I can see someone saying that about Catcher in the Rye (which sucked by the way, I don’t care what anyone says), but this book doesn’t entirely fit that description. I can see where one might think that because of Ethan’s supposed moral superiority living in near poverty and the introduction to the book seems to think it’s about morality as well. But I read it as a book about fear. Fear drives each of the characters more than any supposed moral code. It seems to me to be the single biggest motivator for doing (or not doing) anything. Ethan’s afraid of losing his remaining money or failing at business again. The single woman is afraid of her alimony giving ex-hubby dying. The store owner is afraid of the INS. The drunk is afraid of failing at sobriety. Fear holds back so many characters and motivates others that it that seems to me to be a book a middle aged man would appreciate more than a college student.
This book actually made me reconsider my quasi-disdain for Steinbeck … despite the ending.
Shee-it, I barely took “The Prince” back to the liberry this week. No time to pick up Steinbeck, although I did enjoy “Tortilla Flats” and “Cannery Row” a lot several years ago when I read them just for fun. I’m currently reading “Fighting to Leave: The Final Years of America’s War in Vietnam, 1972-1973” by Robert E. Stoffey, “The Link” about a possible 47 million year old human ancestor, and another one on elk hunting.
I didn’t have time to read anything this month but Stinque, FB updates, and book auction catalogues. That said, I’ve never cared for Steinbeck, but then there are few American novelists of his generation–Fitzgerald excepted–that I do really enjoy. There were some good American poets, but for 20th century prose I generally prefer the Europeans and Brits, or whatever we’re calling them now.
@Jamie bar the door: I remember reading that in 7th or 8th grade and wondering what all the fuss was about.
good observation, the lone female character in “mice” was a dim witted tart.
i’m only reading the screen these days myself, unpacking, and morning snorkels to visit what i now believe to be, my very own octopus.
we’ve named her pussy, natch, and i’m reading up on her too.
@Jamie bar the door: Good take on it. I’m with you on Catcher, never quite got the hype. I thought Franny and Zoey was better.
@baked: I bought a used regulator, with octopus and dive computer, and a nice Dacor state of the art BC, the kind that also holds the tank, thats new since I used to dive in the eighties, nice, everything is much more comfortable. All in perfect shape, and I got it on craigslist for $100. I was so amped, but, well, deli, now the season is over, I never got to try it out, spearfishing is big here, you can spear the striped bass, but, deli, no buddy. I did get a chance to go under the boat to check the through-hulls, scrape barnacles off the rudder and running gear, thats my scuba excitement for the year. I’m wondering if I can get a tank of Nitrous-ox (not nitrox), Nitrous oxide and oxygen, then I could go diving in my living room and have the greatest time.
@SanFranLefty: I never got Catcher, either. I am as fragile and sensitive as the rest, deeply hurt by lies and unfairness, cry regularly over injustice and poverty and discrimination and all the shit in the world. But Holden, he was just, well, come on Holden, duh, I managed to come to some arrangement with the shit in the world. The failure in the novel to me is that, well, Holden never suffered enough, there just wasn’t enough shit in his life to justify the reaction. Prep school boy gets dissilusioned, oh my.
wow…you got all that for a hundred bucks? good deal! i don’t go in for the nitrox, old school i guess. i got certified in the late eighties and i’m sticking with what i know. i don’t even have a dive computer, i read the charts! hey, that’s how i was trained. i scan the scuba mags for earth shattering innovation, but the only real new thing is, go up slower than your bubbles. meanwhile, it’s just as fun to snorkel in the sound behind the house. this octopuss lives right under my dock!
oh, the other new thing is no gloves. they don’t want you touching ANYthing on the reef. people are fucking up the environment under water as well.
SFL, I didn’t suggest this, I think I’ve only ever read Of Mice and Men, and that was in 8th grade or something. My current reading list includes Island of the Sequined Love Nun by Christopher Moore (after having read and quite enjoyed Lamb: The Gospel According to Biff, Christ’s Childhood Pal); Pride and Prejudice and Zombies primarily by Jane Austen with occasional mediocre embellishments by Seth Graeme-Smith; and The Complete Sherlock Holmes, Vol 2. Next up on my personal list is some more Hornblower by CS Forester.
Actually, it was I who suggested it.
I didn’t mind it. I had to reread it as it’s been 15 + years.
I like Steinbeck, but I never really warmed up to this book. The reason I suggested it was that it was a dark novel about how people compromise themselves on false hope/denial and, yes, fear and trying to live in the past on faded glories much like a lot of folks are doing to themselves today.
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