Grapes of Wrath by John SteinbeckRead about the other entries on the list.
I first read Steinbeck in Mr. Bellon’s 11th grade AP English class. It was a joy unlike anything else I’d experienced (though that’s not saying much circa 11th grade). It awoke in me a new understanding of literature, history, nature, the scope of human experience. I felt, for the first time, plugged into something bigger than my sad-ass adolescent problems. When I think of Steinbeck I imagine sunlight, and see my seventeen-year-old self as a waterlogged plant. Rose of Sharon is pregnant with the only real hope in the novel, and when she gives birth at the end, it’s to a dead baby. I choke on the sorrow of it even still. And when they come upon the starving man, she offers him her full breasts, and he drinks, and is saved. I am now crying in a coffee shop.
The Grapes of Wrath also appears on Susan Shillinglaw's list of the thirteen best John Steinbeck books, Jill Boyd's list of five of the worst fictional characters to invite to Thanksgiving, a list of three of Ali Khamenei's favorite novels, Segun Afolabi's top 10 list of "on the move" books, Mark O'Connell's list of the ten best songs based on books, John Kerry's list of five books on progressivism, Stephen King's five best list of books on globalization, John Mullan's list of ten of the best pieces of fruit in literature, and Honor Blackman's six best books list. It is one of Frederic Raphael's top ten talkative novels.