East of Eden | John Steinbeck

Editor’s Comment: A friend tells me that at least once a year good readers should read a classic.

I took her advice and reached back for this one. Though less famous than “Grapes of Wrath” and “Of Mice and Men” Steinbeck considered this one to be his “epic” and is loosely based on his own upbringing.  Two generations of Cain and Abel type brothers and their wife/mother are used to poignantly follow the human struggle between good and evil. It is an amazing read.  Whether this or another, my friend’s advice is good:  reach back and read a classic today.

Favorite Excerpt: My favorite won’t fit as it is a long reflection on the very idea of war citing the entire tableau of 19th century American conflict for his artful words. There are many more brief and brilliant clips you will find even just by googling. Here are three favorites:

“There’s more beauty in truth, even if it is dreadful beauty.”

“And now that you don’t have to be perfect, you can be good.”

“I believe a strong woman may be stronger than a man, particularly if she happens to have love in her heart. I guess a loving woman is indestructible.”

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