John Steinbeck is one of my all time favorite writers. Many years ago, there was at least one Steinbeck always in my "current" stack of reading books. I had to stop reading him about ten ears ago because I actually started writing like him.
That would be a great thing but that he writes everything - in my opinion - as if writing poetry. His writing is filled with in-depth descriptions - to the point that you feel as if you are in the book and a part of his story.
When going through my bookshelves recently and revisiting some old favorites, I stopped at my section of Steinbeck's and picked up Sweet Thursday. So, I decided to give it a re-read. It feels comfortable and much like visiting an old friend - Steinbeck that is.
Here is passage out of Sweet Thursday as an example of how Steinbeck's writing takes you away with it - "Change may be announced by a small ache, so that you think you're catching a cold. Or you may feel a faint disgust for something you loved yesterday. It may even take the form of a hunger that peanuts will not satisfy. Isn't overeating said to be one of the strongest symptoms of discontent? And isn't discontent the lever of change?"
In the prologue to the book, Steinbeck's character Mack is written to have said to another character, "Sometimes I want a book to break loose with a bunch of hooptedoodle. The guy's writing it, give him a chance to do a little hooptedoodle. Spin up some pretty words maybe, or sing a little song with the words."
Steinbeck put two Hooptedoodle chapters in his book - Hooptedoodle 1 and Hooptedoodle 2. Sweet Thursday is a quick little read that really does sound like Steinbeck broke loose and wrote a novel that reads like a song.
I have tried to read my share of the classics. Of course, I like Hemingway and I like Steinbeck - who got the worst side of the critics in his time. I really do prefer today's writers but as a writer, it is a must have to have an appreciation of why some of the classics have survived so long and what made some of those writers so great - so long living.
Sweet Thursday is great place to start with Steinbeck. It is actually a continuation of his book Cannery Row but the story is self-contained enough that you don't have to read Cannery Row to read and enjoy Sweet Thursday.