kode adsense disini
Hot Best Seller

The Short Novels: Tortilla Flat / The Moon is Down / The Red Pony / Of Mice and Men / Cannery Row / The Pearl

Availability: Ready to download

Collected here for the first time in a deluxe paperback volume are six of John Steinbeck's most widely read and beloved novels. From the tale of commitment, loneliness and hope in Of Mice and Men, to the tough yet charming portrait of people on the margins of society in Cannery Row, to The Pearl's examination of the fallacy of the American dream, Steinbeck stories of reali Collected here for the first time in a deluxe paperback volume are six of John Steinbeck's most widely read and beloved novels. From the tale of commitment, loneliness and hope in Of Mice and Men, to the tough yet charming portrait of people on the margins of society in Cannery Row, to The Pearl's examination of the fallacy of the American dream, Steinbeck stories of realism, that were imbued with energy and resilience.


Compare
kode adsense disini

Collected here for the first time in a deluxe paperback volume are six of John Steinbeck's most widely read and beloved novels. From the tale of commitment, loneliness and hope in Of Mice and Men, to the tough yet charming portrait of people on the margins of society in Cannery Row, to The Pearl's examination of the fallacy of the American dream, Steinbeck stories of reali Collected here for the first time in a deluxe paperback volume are six of John Steinbeck's most widely read and beloved novels. From the tale of commitment, loneliness and hope in Of Mice and Men, to the tough yet charming portrait of people on the margins of society in Cannery Row, to The Pearl's examination of the fallacy of the American dream, Steinbeck stories of realism, that were imbued with energy and resilience.

30 review for The Short Novels: Tortilla Flat / The Moon is Down / The Red Pony / Of Mice and Men / Cannery Row / The Pearl

  1. 4 out of 5

    Lesle

    Of Mice and Men 2017 is a quick and easy read. Steinbeck writes with beautiful and physical descriptions that for me, painted a detailed picture of every setting along the journey. George and Lennie are a mismatched pair of migrant farm workers. George is small and has a knowledge from life not schooling. Lennie is mountainous (for lack of a better word) and childlike in mind. Lennie is so strong, he is unaware of this strength, when he connects with anyone from mice to men, he may unknowingly do Of Mice and Men 2017 is a quick and easy read. Steinbeck writes with beautiful and physical descriptions that for me, painted a detailed picture of every setting along the journey. George and Lennie are a mismatched pair of migrant farm workers. George is small and has a knowledge from life not schooling. Lennie is mountainous (for lack of a better word) and childlike in mind. Lennie is so strong, he is unaware of this strength, when he connects with anyone from mice to men, he may unknowingly do them fatal harm, until it is too late. To try and help Lennie stay in line George retells a dream of having their own land, working the little farm and raising animals. Lennie, in this dream farm, takes care of the rabbits, but from experience I know Lennie would only kill them in the end. Lennie does not want to make George mad so, George retells the story to Lennie of the farm and the rabbits as a way of getting good behavior out of Lennie. Lennie as George's partner, makes employment hard to keep. Not allowing stakes to be set for any length of time. George continues to care for, travel with, and does his best to protect Lennie. The love and kindness George shows for Lennie even happens in the end. Lennie would not understand the 'why' of what was happening to him. George does what he thinks is the most honorable thing to do for Lennie and again protect him. Absolutely one of the saddest stories I have read. Without a doubt will pull at your heart...tragic The second read from this book was The Red Pony. 2017 “The Red Pony” left me feeling as if the story was incomplete. All of the 4 stories have no happy ending. Jody does not learn anything but heartache and pain from his experiences. Steinbeck shows that responsibility, not always, has lessons of value and in the end Jody is angry with his Dad and spiteful. My third read is Cannery Row. 2017 About a small fishing town in California, where not a lot takes place but what does is striking. The story has some unique individuals who are all poor but are great pals. Chong the grocery store owner who does the same thing everyday, Henri the painter, Doc the marine biologists/doctor and a group of guys known as Mack and the boys (bums). There are many others you meet along the way where not one is the same as the other. The tale follows Doc and Mack and the boys on their adventures (troubles) of everyday life. They rent (rent they do not pay) from Lee Chong a fish meal house. Doc is so admired by Mack and the boys they decide to throw him a party, without him and it turns out horrible. Nothing goes the way they want it to 'stuff happens' and Doc finds love. No real plot to speak of but there is plenty of kindness between them. I found the read to be full of charm and many different comical personalities among all of the individuals. In the beginning the descriptions are very detailed of the characters and the prescription of 'Beer Milkshakes' makes this a must read and fun book. I am beginning to be very enchanted with John Steinbeck's way with words and the way he weaves a story of life for his characters, who tend to have layers of realism about them.

  2. 5 out of 5

    Kerry

    I've decided to start a tradition of reading several novels from my favorite author, John Steinbeck, every summer. This summer I chose a collection of Steinbeck's short novels, and although I had read all but "Cannery Row" and "The Moon Is Down" before, I hadn't read "The Pearl" or "The Red Pony" in about 15 years. I've really enjoyed returning to these classics after so many years, and I found like that I liked "The Pearl" a lot more than I remembered it and I liked "The Red Pony" a lot less. " I've decided to start a tradition of reading several novels from my favorite author, John Steinbeck, every summer. This summer I chose a collection of Steinbeck's short novels, and although I had read all but "Cannery Row" and "The Moon Is Down" before, I hadn't read "The Pearl" or "The Red Pony" in about 15 years. I've really enjoyed returning to these classics after so many years, and I found like that I liked "The Pearl" a lot more than I remembered it and I liked "The Red Pony" a lot less. "The Moon Is Down" was more like Ibsen than Steinbeck, and I found it refreshing. At first glance, "Cannery Row" seemed like a latter-day version of "Tortilla Flat," but it idealized poverty less and provided a more balanced perspective of the Monterey, CA classes. I am about to start re-reading "Of Mice And Men," which I remember loving when I read it in college. I'll re-read "Tortilla Flat" if I have time before my library due date arrives, but I just read it two summers ago, so I feel like I've given it a fair recent re-read.

  3. 4 out of 5

    Jen from Quebec :0)

    What can I say? It's Steinbeck, and he is amazing.

  4. 5 out of 5

    Amanda

    My favorite novels were The Red Pony and The Moon Is Down. These didn't blow me away like East of Eden. I listened to all on audiobook, which was quite enjoyable. Perhaps I'll get more out of these stories when I reread them.

  5. 4 out of 5

    Theresa Powers

    I read The Red Pony today. It is such a sad, coming of age story. Life lessons come up constantly in this book. I particularly enjoy the setting of the book on a ranch in California. It paints a clear picture of farm life. I gain an appreciation for the harshness of the land and hard work. The boy, Jody, learns how to be a man in this rudimentary environment. Although his father models a man with little emotion, the boy goes through a myriad of emotions. I found myself crying at certain points b I read The Red Pony today. It is such a sad, coming of age story. Life lessons come up constantly in this book. I particularly enjoy the setting of the book on a ranch in California. It paints a clear picture of farm life. I gain an appreciation for the harshness of the land and hard work. The boy, Jody, learns how to be a man in this rudimentary environment. Although his father models a man with little emotion, the boy goes through a myriad of emotions. I found myself crying at certain points because of the intensity in which Steinbeck wrote his books.

  6. 4 out of 5

    Andrew

    ok, so I haven't read all of the stories yet. Still, I wanted to post my review on the copy that I own. The first story I read in this collection was the Red Pony. It is easily a four star read. Too start with, some of the imagery in the book is stunning. Steinbeck is an approachable writer but he can craft a powerful image. A birthing scene in the barn stands out in my mind. The character, a farm-hand, in a violent but powerful scene is able to come through. And Steinbeck does a great job of se ok, so I haven't read all of the stories yet. Still, I wanted to post my review on the copy that I own. The first story I read in this collection was the Red Pony. It is easily a four star read. Too start with, some of the imagery in the book is stunning. Steinbeck is an approachable writer but he can craft a powerful image. A birthing scene in the barn stands out in my mind. The character, a farm-hand, in a violent but powerful scene is able to come through. And Steinbeck does a great job of setting the importance of the scene to all the characters involved. I really enjoy the era that Steinbeck rights in. It is foreign to my own childhood but reminds me a lot of the stories my father told me of his childhood. It was a less complex but certainly more demanding time. And Steinbeck, for me, does a great job of capturing (what I presume is) the feeling of that era. I also enjoy the characters that he creates. The main character, a child, is a moving character. He can be sweet natured without being too cloying. The book is full of well developed characters like this. Although a quick read he does a good job of capturing the essence of a character in only few passages. Steinbeck also does a great job, I think, of capturing the duality of human nature. A good example of this is the father of the main character. He can be tough and awkward but also capable of love and generosity in his own confused way. And characters like this are interesting to me. As no person is every any one thing or of any one mindset. People are complicated. But what I most appreciate, as said above, is Steinbeck’s efficient ability to paint these characters.

  7. 5 out of 5

    Julie Richert-Taylor

    I began this collection because of a Wallace Stegner essay regarding Steinbeck’s mastery of the short story form, of which I had been completely ignorant. The introduction includes a quotation, attributed to Steinbeck: “My whole work drive has been aimed at making people understand each other. “ Reading these stories together is a beautifully tender, compassionate illumination of that objective. And I probably now consider “Doc” of the Western Biological Laboratory one of the greatest friends I w I began this collection because of a Wallace Stegner essay regarding Steinbeck’s mastery of the short story form, of which I had been completely ignorant. The introduction includes a quotation, attributed to Steinbeck: “My whole work drive has been aimed at making people understand each other. “ Reading these stories together is a beautifully tender, compassionate illumination of that objective. And I probably now consider “Doc” of the Western Biological Laboratory one of the greatest friends I wish I’d had.

  8. 5 out of 5

    Vanessa Jones

    I can see why John Steinbeck is a celebrated author. He catches human emotion and pain, in a raw, honest light.

  9. 4 out of 5

    Katie

    Tortilla Flat 2.5/5 stars Synopsis: Tortilla Flat was written by John Steinbeck and published in 1935. This short novel is about a group of Paisanos ( Native Californians who are a mixture of Spainish, Mexican and Native American) in the area around Monterey, California in the years following World War 1. The story centers on a man named Danny, his group of friends and his house that they all live in. This novel takes inspiration from the legends of King Arthur and his knights of the round table, Tortilla Flat 2.5/5 stars Synopsis: Tortilla Flat was written by John Steinbeck and published in 1935. This short novel is about a group of Paisanos ( Native Californians who are a mixture of Spainish, Mexican and Native American) in the area around Monterey, California in the years following World War 1. The story centers on a man named Danny, his group of friends and his house that they all live in. This novel takes inspiration from the legends of King Arthur and his knights of the round table, but with a group of rapscallion men. These men spend their days jobless, drinking wine and having adventures. Yet, these men have good intentions at heart and have a strong sense of brotherhood. Storyline: There wasn’t really a plot to this novel, it was more a bunch of anecdotes about this group of friends. The story was amusing at times, but also held a little bit of darkness under the surface as well. The inspiration from the legends of King Arthur was clever and I appreciated that. I just didn’t really love this story. At first I didn’t get the point at all. I just saw a bunch of purposeless guys who drank way too much wine. After awhile I appreciated the story more, but it still just didn’t appeal to me. Once I saw this crazy group’s good intentions and friendship I felt for them more. It was also an interesting portrait of a group of outsiders in this period of American history when jobs and money were hard to come by. Yet, this still was not one of Steinbeck’s greatest pieces of fiction in my opinion. Setting: This novel is set in a place called Tortilla Flat in Monterey, California. I liked this setting and liked the way Steinbeck described this place. I’ve always admired Steinbeck’s descriptions of place. He doesn’t always spend tons of time on it, but what he does share is always done well. I was born in California and have lived here all my life, so I always enjoy Steinbeck’s novels set in California. Characters: I liked and disliked the characters all at the same time. On one hand they were a lovable band of outsiders and I could see their good intentions and friendship. On another hand I didn’t like their drunkenness and their views towards women. All the portrayals of women were not really that great and there were quite a few racial slurs as well to be honest. Yes, a product of it’s time, but kind of hard to not be bothered by in this book. I liked how the characters were based on the myths and legends of King Arthur though. Danny was obviously meant to be King Arthur and he was always at the center of everyone’s deeds, yet remained elusive. Just like King Arthur does in Le Morte D’Arthur by Sir Thomas Mallory. My favorite character was The Pirate. He was so lovable and sweet. He had a pack of dogs that he loved and they seemed to be his entire world. He also had a very pure idea of friendship as well. He was the only character who truly tugged on my heartstrings. Did I Like it?: This was the fifth book of John Steinbeck’s that I have read and to be honest it was my least favorite. While I came away with more of an appreciation then I had at the beginning, this just wasn’t my kind of book. I will be continuing with my Steinbeck journey though and I hope some of his other books will be more my cup of tea. Do I Recommend This?: If you have not read any Steinbeck I highly urge you to pick up East of Eden as a starting point. Of Mice and Men or The Grapes of Wrath would be good starting places as well. If you are already a John Steinbeck fan and this appeals to you, go ahead and pick it up. Perhaps it may be someone else’s cup of tea. I just don’t recommend it as a starting point. The Red Pony 4/5 stars Synopsis: The Red Pony was written by John Steinbeck and published in 1937. This novella is about a boy named Jody growing up on a ranch in California. His experience with a red pony awakens him to the facts of life. Storyline: Going into The Red Pony I didn’t really know what to expect. I knew it would be about a boy and his beloved pet and that it probably was going to have a sad twist. What I didn’t expect was how much depth there was to this novella. I felt this was similar to the structure of Of Mice and Men in the way that every event and moment seems deliberate and important. Nothing extraneous. In this novella Jody begins to grow up. Through his experiences at the ranch he realizes death, birth, sex, and old age are all part of life. He gets this magnificent view of the cycles of life, which was a theme that I loved. It’s mostly through the horses that Jody witnesses these things, which was quite interesting. Setting: The Red Pony is set on a ranch near Salinas, California probably sometime in the early 20th century. Being a native Californian I like all Steinbeck’s California settings. Steinbeck’s descriptions of his settings and of nature are always so on point even if he doesn’t always spend a lot of time dwelling on them. Characters: Now I know a lot of the significant meaning in this book centers around the horses. The characters are interesting too though. There are only a few and they seem significant. Through our characters we have innocence and youth juxtaposed with old age and harshness. Jody, our main character, is just ten years old and we witness his coming of age as he witnesses the cycles of life. As he becomes a man he has various male figures to take example from. In fact, as an exploration of different types of males this book was quite interesting. In Jody we have a sweet innocent boy. In his father we have the classic example of the tough, hardened male. At times he is even a bit cruel. In Billy Buck the hired man, we see a man toughened by working on ranches all his life, but he tries to do his best for Jody to make up for his father’s harshness. Through Jody’s grandfather we see a man who is stuck in the past, his glory days of settling the west are over. Jody gets to look at these men as examples for how he’s going to be when he reaches full maturity. Some of these types of masculinity are sadly lacking and we see how Jody will have to navigate that in his adult life. Something else we are shown through the characters are various outsiders and how society treats them. The grandfather is one of them and this old Paisano man is another. Now that their glory days are over and their families are gone there is nothing really left for them to do and Jody’s father rejects them. I feel like one thing Steinbeck always explores really well are the people who are outsiders and rejected by other parts of society. Did I Like It?: I really liked this novella! It was pretty brutal at times, but I found a lot of depth in this story. While this may not be my favorite Steinbeck, ( my favorite will probably always be East of Eden) I recognized the Steinbeck that I love in this book. Do I Recommend This?: Yes! Beware if are an animal lover though. You will be able to understand certain feelings, but then you may also get your heart broken. I am a huge animal lover and I was able to handle it, although it was definitely intense at times. If you are new to Steinbeck I recommend East of Eden, The Grapes of Wrath or Of Mice and Men as starting places. If you have already ventured into the world of Steinbeck, I think you should check out this powerful little novella. The Moon is Down 4/5 stars Synopsis: The Moon is Down was written by John Steinbeck and published in 1942. This book is about a small town during World War II that gets conquered and occupied by it’s enemy. This piece of propaganda shows how unprepared people are for war and how you cannot suppress free people. Storyline: I’m not usually one for war fiction, so I was surprised at how much I actually liked this story. It’s simple and not filled with action packed scenes, but it packs a punch. In this simple story we are not shown the grandiose parts of war and it’s larger purpose, we are shown the little details. Details that give us clues to the whole of what is going on though. We see how unprepared soldiers are for war. We are shown that no matter whose side people are on, the devastation of war is never easy. For those that are not hardhearted, they really don’t want to do what must be done in terms of killing and whatnot. We see the hopelessness of some government leaders, but the power of people who band together. I think Steinbeck’s biggest purpose in writing this book was to give strength to suppressed people. To tell them that people who were once free and are now suppressed can be more powerful than people who are just under orders from a leader. Setting: The Moon is Down is obviously set during World War II, but we are not told where exactly. There are many hints that the occupied town is in Scandinavia and that the soldiers who are occupying the town are from Germany. I did like though that Steinbeck didn’t tell us exactly where this was set because it made it more about the ideas, than it was about taking sides. His descriptions of the snowy setting were lovely and atmospheric. I’ve always loved the way Steinbeck describes his settings. Characters: This wasn’t a book about in depth character study, but I did like how the characters were used to show us certain ideas and concepts. The soldiers who occupy this town we see as unfit and unprepared for war. There was one chapter in the book where some of the soldiers are described and you see that they really don’t understand what war is about and they want to go home as badly as the people in the town want to be free. You see the soldiers miss their homes, their families and women. I like how even though the main message is for free people to fight against suppression, this book doesn’t really take sides very easily. It shows human beings who happen to be enemies, fighting in a war that is more destructive then they originally imagined and who don’t really like this place in history they find themselves in. Did I Like It?: Yes! I really liked it. I found this short book to be quite powerful in it’s message. While I don’t think it’s the best of Steinbeck’s work, I am very glad I read this one. Do I Recommend This?: Yes! Now as usual, if you are new to Steinbeck I recommend East of Eden as a place to start. Grapes of Wrath and Of Mice and Men are also good places to start. If you have already ventured into Steinbeck and this one sounds interesting to you, then I definitely recommend it! If you have particular interest in World War II fiction, then of course this is something you should check out as well. Cannery Row 5/5 stars * I reviewed this for Taylor Magazine Check it out here: http://www.taylormagazine.com/review-... The Pearl 4/5 stars Synopsis: The Pearl was written by John Steinbeck and published in 1947. This novella is about a native man named Kino and his family living in the Gulf of California. They live in a community of brush houses and Kino is a pearl diver. After their baby is stung by a scorpion, Kino finds an extremely large pearl that he think will solve all of their problems. Storyline: This novella is told in a parable type format, which Steinbeck even explains to us in the beginning. As a parable, this story was profound and important. It was mostly a parable about greed and what money does to people. This is a theme I have seen woven a little bit into Steinbeck’s other fiction, but he fills this entire novella with that concept. I found his storytelling to be concise. In this short novella he gives us the story he needs to in order to get his point across. Setting: The Pearl is set in the Gulf of California specifically in La Paz. As usual, Steinbeck did a wonderful job with the setting and descriptions of the surrounding nature. Characters: This novella was really about the messages it contained. The characters in here are means to that end, but not Steinbeck’s most fleshed out lovable characters. Steinbeck says in the beginning that because this is a parable, things are very black and white. It’s more the concepts that remain. Through Kino, Juana and their protection of their baby Coyotito, we see the importance of family. We see what lengths people will go to in order to protect their ‘perfect’ family life. We also see the effects wealth has both on the people who have obtained the wealth and the people around them. Again Steinbeck explores with his characters those that are outsiders or marginalized in society. This is a character exploration that I have seen in every book of his that I have read so far. Did I Like It?: Yes I did. This was actually my second time reading The Pearl. I first read it as required reading when I was 13. I didn’t understand or appreciate it much at the time, but I’m happy to say that I did appreciate it this time around. It’s a short little book that doesn’t contain too much, but it has an important message that it really drives home. Do I Recommend It?: Not as a starting place for Steinbeck. I usually recommend East of Eden, The Grapes of Wrath or Of Mice and Men as starting places. If you already have delved into Steinbeck though, I do recommend checking this out if it appeals to you.

  10. 5 out of 5

    Suellen

    What can I say. Steinbeck is "THE MAN"! 👍🏻

  11. 4 out of 5

    Susan

    The Moon is Down Review (9/02/12) Gave 4 stars Interesting novella that follows the story about a "silent" rebellious coastal townspeople who have recently been conquered by an invading army. While the townspeople do not outwardly or actively rebel or resist, they look on to the invading army with cruel, cold, and un-trusting eyes which kills some of the invading army's soldiers. The dialogue was really creative and the characters were well-crafted. The Red Pony Review (9/01/12) Gave 2 stars To tell The Moon is Down Review (9/02/12) Gave 4 stars Interesting novella that follows the story about a "silent" rebellious coastal townspeople who have recently been conquered by an invading army. While the townspeople do not outwardly or actively rebel or resist, they look on to the invading army with cruel, cold, and un-trusting eyes which kills some of the invading army's soldiers. The dialogue was really creative and the characters were well-crafted. The Red Pony Review (9/01/12) Gave 2 stars To tell you the truth, I just felt like the story was a bit too depressing. To me, The Red Pony has an aimless plot with static characters. The read was interesting enough to get me to finish the book, but this isn't one of Steinbeck's best works. If you started out with this book thinking that Steinbeck is a mediocre writer, you really have to read his master pieces - like The Grapes of Wrath, East of Eden, and/or Of Mice and Men! Those are the works that truly exemplify Steinbeck's genius in literature. Of Mice and Men Review (2/02/11) Gave 4 stars I recommend to all Steinbeck reader fans. The ending is extremely sad, but Of Mice and Men is a worthwhile read that cannot be ignored. The friendship between George and Lennie is extremely complex, and they have a genuine companionship that is not parasitic-but rather mutual-istic. Lennie needs George for intellectual and emotional support, but George leans on Lennie for enthusiasm and hope. Once their dreams of someday owning a rabbit farm are shattered, George has to man up in order to save Lennie from a painful torture and death. Cannery Row Review (8/29/12) Gave 3 stars This novel is not plot-driven, but the story focuses more on delineating the town and characters of Cannery Row. Cannery Row is a good book for a quick read. As he always does, Steinbeck implies important short lessons about life in his story about the struggling between the rich and the poor. The Pearl Review (8/30/12) Gave 4 stars The novella is widely entertaining with great plot and characters, still, I was just really hoping that the infant, Coyotito, could have gained something. I was anticipating a happy ending. I was not hoping for Kino and Juana to become rich after they found the pearl (that would go against Steinbeck's message), but I was disappointed when Coyotito was killed off like that! Once Kino and Juana found the pearl, I was rooting for them the whole time and sharing that same enthusiasm with Kino-hoping that Coyotito would get an education. My wishes for a different ending is probably silly though. Killing off Coyotito, unfortunately, is probably the only way for Kino to understand how corruptible the pearl became. Unlike Juana, Kino did not recognize the pearl's evil until very late (actually, too late) in the novel. Either way, the techniques used to craft the novella were really clever. I liked Steinbeck's use of different characters and the balance between Kino's idealistic dreams and Juana's practicality. The story was focused primarily on the plot and characters, so it was not a dull read (not too much description on setting involved this time). The read is not too difficult or long, so I recommend to everyone! I read this in one sitting.

  12. 4 out of 5

    Jenni DaVinCat

    I'm not going to get into each individual short novel in this review, but they are available as individual reviews if someone were to be interested in reading what I think about it. I thought this was a very good collection of short novels. The Pearl and Tortilla Flat didn't really tickle my fancy but the remaining stories are all very well done and very interesting to read. Just bear in mind that Steinbeck is from an older generation. I could see someone easily getting offended by the way he ta I'm not going to get into each individual short novel in this review, but they are available as individual reviews if someone were to be interested in reading what I think about it. I thought this was a very good collection of short novels. The Pearl and Tortilla Flat didn't really tickle my fancy but the remaining stories are all very well done and very interesting to read. Just bear in mind that Steinbeck is from an older generation. I could see someone easily getting offended by the way he talks about/to women, or people of other ethnicity. He also tends to use animal cruelty/death far more often than I would care to read about, but that's unfortunately one of the things that has to be overlooked to enjoy Steinbeck in this day and age. I still maintain the opinion that Steinbeck is one of the best American writers that we have ever seen. He was just writing in a time period that happened a loooong time before now. I suspect The Moon is Down is a short novel that many people hadn't heard of, but I found it to be one of the most interesting and unique works of war fiction that I have ever read. Each book comes in at around 100 pages, which makes for an easy 1-day read on a story. It's an excellent collection and well worth the time to read!

  13. 4 out of 5

    Jimmy

    A great collection of short stories by the great John Steinbeck. One thing I re-realized while reading this collection was that all good things should be taken in moderation. The same goes for good books. As much as I love the work of Steinbeck, it's nice to read something else every once in a while, if only to have the desire for exceptional writing to gnaw at you once again, forcing you to go back to a favorite author. What I mean is that instead of reading this within the time frame that I did A great collection of short stories by the great John Steinbeck. One thing I re-realized while reading this collection was that all good things should be taken in moderation. The same goes for good books. As much as I love the work of Steinbeck, it's nice to read something else every once in a while, if only to have the desire for exceptional writing to gnaw at you once again, forcing you to go back to a favorite author. What I mean is that instead of reading this within the time frame that I did, I should have read a different book in between each of the shorter stories. I think it would have given me time to digest each individual novel on its own before delving into another classic tale. Regardless, this is a great collection of stories that I absolutely loved. Other than Of Mice and Men, I had never read any of these other stories. I'm happy to have read each and every one of them. I think I'll read a couple other books for now…and then go back to reading another Steinbeck novel in the near future.

  14. 5 out of 5

    Carla

    John Steinbeck is a literary genius. This collection of books has cemented him as my favourite author of all time. Of Mice and Men: This has always been one of my favourite books and I enjoyed re-reading it. it was like visiting with old friends. The Pearl: Beautiful but tragic. It is a quick read, a story that you won't be able to put down. I could read this tale again and again. Tortilla Flat: This was my least favourite of the stories. It is very early Steinbeck when he doesn't seem to have quit John Steinbeck is a literary genius. This collection of books has cemented him as my favourite author of all time. Of Mice and Men: This has always been one of my favourite books and I enjoyed re-reading it. it was like visiting with old friends. The Pearl: Beautiful but tragic. It is a quick read, a story that you won't be able to put down. I could read this tale again and again. Tortilla Flat: This was my least favourite of the stories. It is very early Steinbeck when he doesn't seem to have quite got into his writing groove yet. I wasn't particularly enamoured by any of the characters. The Red Pony: Great writing but it just ends suddenly. The 4 chapters are almost like 4 different tales of Jody and his family, with the pony only featuring in the 1st chapter. I liked Jody and would happily have read an entire book about him and his life. The moon is Down: For a war tale, I was surprised by how much i enjoyed this! The writing is quite interesting as it reads like a play. Cannery Row: I loved it! It is almost like a much better version of Tortilla Flat with a similar setting and similar characters, although these ones were much more likeable.

  15. 4 out of 5

    Alan

    Steinbeck stands out as a great writer who is not really a very good writer. His greatness is undisputed, because of his subject, the working class American--to use a post-Steinbeck phrase. But his prose is not intriguing, seductive, surprising, as we expect great authors to write. In fact, Steinbeck himself doubted his gifts as a writer, and he was not wrong. But his discovery and documentation--almost in a journalist sense--of American life as it was developing into the America we are...This is u Steinbeck stands out as a great writer who is not really a very good writer. His greatness is undisputed, because of his subject, the working class American--to use a post-Steinbeck phrase. But his prose is not intriguing, seductive, surprising, as we expect great authors to write. In fact, Steinbeck himself doubted his gifts as a writer, and he was not wrong. But his discovery and documentation--almost in a journalist sense--of American life as it was developing into the America we are...This is unprecedented. And very great. Cannery Row, for instance, may be the best account of working life written up till that time, after Dickens' Hard Times--or rather, equal to it. Yet Steinbeck does not dazzle, he does not even intrigue. He simply attests, recounts. And one leaves the book improved.

  16. 4 out of 5

    Debra

    I am in love with Steinbeck and decided to fall into his stories once again. Discovering some, rereading others. THE RED PONY Story 1: The Gift At one point I looked forward to reading short stories, but it seems to be harder to find any that are worthy. I think I was spoiled by reading excellence first, such as Steinbeck. The amount of description of people, their tasks and their emotions is so amazing. The story is about a young boy unexpectedly receiving an untrained red pony. He must spend tim I am in love with Steinbeck and decided to fall into his stories once again. Discovering some, rereading others. THE RED PONY Story 1: The Gift At one point I looked forward to reading short stories, but it seems to be harder to find any that are worthy. I think I was spoiled by reading excellence first, such as Steinbeck. The amount of description of people, their tasks and their emotions is so amazing. The story is about a young boy unexpectedly receiving an untrained red pony. He must spend time feeding, grooming and making himself known to this animal so he can obtain its trust and eventually ride the animal. Life was much stricter in those times and when the boy realizes that his pony is left outside in a heavy, chilling autumn rain, he knows he cannot leave school to tend to the animal because the punishment would be severe. By the time he arrives home the animals is thoroughly chilled and downcast. He does everything he knows how to do to dry and warm the pony, but it develops a cold which continues to progress into pneumonia. The ending is amazing, albeit a tad gruesome. Life is harsh and death is inevitable, but will the boy close himself off to emotion as did his father. Story 2 – The Great Mountains Jody, our young man from the previous story is bored. He had done all the things he normally does to past the time and it seemed as if no time had passed. He begins to notice the mountains as he stretches his hand to pretend to catch the clouds and put them behind the mountains. He remembers asking his father about the mountains but his father dismissed the interest as the mountains go on and on until the ocean and there’s “just cliffs and brush and rocks and dryness”. And even though his father had never been there he pronounced them dangerous and put into Jody a fear of them. Then Jody spots a man coming slowly over the hill. (You must read this man’s description to appreciate the detail and incongruity as he seems very old. He announced, “I am Gitano, and I have come back.” His reception at the homestead is not warm, but rather icy and angry. I will feed you supper and breakfast, but you cannot stay here. All the father sees is a burden and expenses. Jody is tasked with delivering him to his overnight room in the bunkhouse. But he also is able to talk to the man and gather information about the wider world and the mountains were the man had been once when he was a boy. As it becomes evening the horses come in from the hillsides for their evening drink. With them is a very old horse with long yellow teeth, flat hooves and” hip-bones that jutted out under its skin. Gitano states the obvious. “This horse is no good anymore”, “just eats and pretty soon dies”. The father sees the parallel that he is making and nastily takes it up a notch to it would be better to shoot the old thing and put it out of its misery. The ranch hand argues that the old horse has a right to rest. Would the father have changed his mind if he had seen the rapier that old man had inherited? He probably would have sought a way to obtain the item. I did love the ending. The old man leaves the ranch on the back of the old horse. The two old “not good for anything” leaving on their own terms. When the neighbor reports them riding out together toward the mountains the father labels the old man a thief, yet in the next breath voices good riddance. It saves him from having to dig a hole to bury the horse. Jody just keeps staring into the mountains with a great longing and a nameless sorrow. Story 3 – The Promise Jody has been promised a colt by his father if he works hard to pay back the $5 for the stud fee. He leads Nellie to the neighboring farm to the Stallion. The Stallion catches a whiff of Nellie and breaks out of the barn, careening down the slope to mate with Nellie. (Since the death of the previous colt, I shudder when I think that this unexpected mating ritual seems to portend trouble. But Nellie grows docile and content as she carries a new life. It is a long to wait for Jody and he cares for Nellie carefully and faithfully. As the new year begins, Jody grows nervous as the due date approaches and then passes. One night he is awakened by a bad dream and goes out to the barn to check on Nellie. Billy Buck advises him that he will call him when Nellie’s time comes and that everything will be alright. Jody no longer has the same blind trust in Billy that he had before his previous colt died. Later that night, Billy comes for him to assist in the delivery of his colt. But things go awry. The colt is breach and must be delivered quickly. Billy clobbers Nellie with a hammer, cuts open the horse and delivers the colt. So once again Billy is correct in that things will not go as planned. How will this affect Jody as he goes forward? He must now be a mother to this colt, constantly feeding and caring for this colt. How will this affect his relationship to his father who promised him ownership of the colt. I loved the juxtaposition with Jody being such a young, carefree child daydreaming on his way home from one story to another, stopping to catch toads and other crawlies and placing them in his lunchbox. And now almost a year later he is entering into a more mature state as he cares for Nellie and witnesses her horrible death at the hand of Billy. Now he will be forced to grow up quickly as he becomes mother and father to his little colt. Story 4 – The Leader of the People Jody is deciding what kind of man he wants to become, one with depth of feeling, kind and respectful, or one resembling his father. He notes how his father acts and consciously seeks another way, but never disrespects his father outwardly. The Grandfather has come a long way for a visit, a man who has done a great adventure of leading a wagon train westward almost to the Pacific Ocean’s edge. His tales and numerous and amazing, but the family has heard them spoken verbatim time and time again. At one point in the story, Mother glances away and Billy Buck, who respects Grandfather, makes an excuse and goes off to bed. The meanest person is Carl, the father of Jody. He is such a negative jerk, disrespectful of the old man to everyone, but finally caught when Grandfather hears his disparaging remarks through a closed door as he enters the kitchen for breakfast. Although Carl apologizes to the older man, the damage has been done. Grandfather is deflated, his great deed and his keeping of the spirit of westering diminished. He is without value. But Jody’s kindness shows as he tries to encourage Grandfather by suggesting that maybe he could lead the people someday. But that gains no traction. Finally, Jody offers to make him a lemonade and Grandfather sees the sincerity of Jody’s love for him that he would do this and take the time to sit with him. I feel that this will be Grandfather’s last trip to visit and his time is short on this earth without any hope to encourage him. And the Red Pony stories end. We have watched Jody grow and experience many different people and emotions. I sincerely believe that Jody will become a wonderful rancher and father. His depth of emotion and his kindness will carry him through his many trials. I hope he can grow a relationship to his father and his father will not betray the love he guardingly carries toward him. THE MOON IS DOWN So glad I didn’t miss this one. I also discovered why I like short stories/novels so much. You can take the time to reread them. I love the compactness of the writing, the deft strokes that plants a tidbit that you figure out later and look forward to discovering on the second read. This war was set up to be a walk in the park. Precise planning, a turncoat who had the army out of town enjoying a shooting match. The townspeople are docile. The mayor will continue to run the town. They just want the coal. But somethings can’t be planned. A young, short-tempered man tussles with an officer and kills him, although he doesn’t remember actually hitting him. Did he hit him? And the resistance begins, and the killings on both sides escalate. “You and your government do not understand. In all the world yours is the only government and people with a record of defeat after defeat for centuries and every time because you did not understand people… This principle does not work. First, I am the Mayor. I have no right to pass sentence of death, There is no one in this community with that right. If I should do it, I would be breaking the law as much as you. “Breaking the law?”, said Lanser. (Orden)”You killed six men when you came in. Under our law you are guilty of murder, all of you. Why do you go into this nonsense of the law between you and us, Colonel? There is no law between you and us. This is war. Don’t you know you will have to kill all of us or we in time will kill all of you? You destroyed the law when you can in and a new law took its place.” P. 236 The Socrates dialogue exchange was masterful. Dr. Winter and Mayor Orden are remembering a youthful lesson memorizes for a presentation 50 years ago. Lanser wanders in. All three are familiar with the piece. Lanser marvels that these small town minds have been so well educated. I hope that Lanser understands that this dialogue has become a part of their mindset and their lives. Giving up is not an option. THE PEARL Great pacing. You are just drawn into the story and cannot stop even though you suspect that all will not end well, and yet you hope. I read some commentary on it and I will take a different path. I lay the destruction of this family solely at the foot of the rich upper class Doctor who scared the parents into an unneeded cure. He actually made the child sick, after God and the simple native remedies cured him, just so that he could initiate a fake cure and burden this poor family with a fee they now needed to pay. This is the only reason that Kino so desperately set out to find a pearl. The doctor’s lie was also against the God that cured Coyotito. He bears a heavy burden for his misdeed and reveals a heart of evil. Yes, I know that without this initial act there would be no story, but I cannot burden Kino with idea of chasing the American Dream. Really? So, is it God’s fault that he found a Giant Pearl instead of normal one that would have just paid the Doctor? CANNERY ROW A series of vignettes shows a town and its people living their lives. Delightful, funny, and sad. The characters are so darn good. You feel that you could just walk in and identify each person. When I discovered that Doc was based on a real person, that just made the story come alive. I don’t think I have every read anyone who makes characters so real. Even with their foibles and downfalls they are worthy.

  17. 5 out of 5

    Vince

    A great collection that includes many of the best stories that Steinbeck ever wrote. Unforgettable characters, prose of infinite beauty, and some of the best storytelling of the 20th century. His love for the least among us is heartfelt and genuine. You can feel it in every phrase and can't help but be inspired. A literary legacy that transcends time. I have so much more appreciation of his work reading it again later in life and what he has to say fits so perfectly well in today's world.

  18. 5 out of 5

    Cor T

    Cannery Row reminded me of the show Friends, the episodes of which are titled “The One Where…” or “The One With…” Like Friends, each chapter contains a myth, fable, or origin story about each character or element of pre-war Ocean Avenue in Monterey, which, layered together, create a 3-D portrait of a self-contained community. I enjoyed this more than Sweet Thursday, I think because of the exhaustive descriptions that brought the place to life, more so than the more plot-driven sequel. It also re Cannery Row reminded me of the show Friends, the episodes of which are titled “The One Where…” or “The One With…” Like Friends, each chapter contains a myth, fable, or origin story about each character or element of pre-war Ocean Avenue in Monterey, which, layered together, create a 3-D portrait of a self-contained community. I enjoyed this more than Sweet Thursday, I think because of the exhaustive descriptions that brought the place to life, more so than the more plot-driven sequel. It also really helped to get the characters’ back stories from the beginning. A few of the myths (true) or fables (false): How Hazel and Mack and the homeless crew went from living in large rusty pipes to making their home in a fish meal shed; The time a 10-year-old boy crossed the old Chinaman; Doc’s lab: “You can order anything living from Western Biological and sooner or later you will get it;” How Hazel got his name; Henri the boat builder who’s afraid of the Ocean; How the boiler became a house; How Mack Always Brought Trouble (or Something) With Him; How Lee Chong Got His Truck; The Moral, Physical, and Esthetic Effect of the Model T Ford on the American Nation, The time Gay went for a needle valve and didn’t come back for 100 days; How Hazel combatted his inattention by making the answer to one question the basis of another; How the girls of the Big Flag had their busiest time during the big sardine catch; How everyone is indebted to Doc so they want to give him a party, and it’s a disaster. Some of the stories had real pathos and some were like a sit com plots, but they hung together with the help of deeply descriptive episodes - which were more like paintings, such as: Lee Chong’s station in the grocery was behind the cigar counter. The cash register was then on his left and the abacus on his right. Inside the glass case were the brown cigars, the cigarettes, the Bull Durham, the Duke’s mixture, the Five Brothers, while behind him in racks on the wall were the pints, half pints and quarters of Old Green River, Old Town House, Old Colonel, and the favorite—Old Tennessee, a blended whiskey guaranteed four months old, very cheap and known in the neighborhood as Old Tennis Shoes. Lee Chong did not stand between the whiskey and the customer without reason. Some very practical minds had on occasion tried to divert his attention to another part of the store. Cousins, nephews, sons and daughters-in-law waited on the rest of the store, but Lee never left the cigar counter. And this one about Doc: Early in the morning he got his things together. Personal things went in a small satchel. Another satchel held instruments and syringes. Having packed, he combed and trimmed his brown beard, saw that his pencils were in his shirt pocket and his magnifying glass attached to his lapel. He packed the trays, bottles, glass plates, preservatives, rubber boots and a blanket into the back of his car. He worked through the pearly time, washed three days’ dishes, put the garbage into the surf. He closed the doors but did not lock them and by nine o’clock was on his way. It took Doc longer to go places than other people. He didn’t drive fast and he stopped and ate hamburgers very often. Driving up to Lighthouse Avenue he waved at a dog that looked around and smiled at him. In Monterey before he even started, he felt hungry and stopped at Herman’s for a hamburger and beer. Now that I've written this, I'm going to revise my Sweet Thursday review upward because I'm more invested. #donotskipthefirstbook

  19. 4 out of 5

    Valentyn Danylchuk

    "Of Mice and Men" is my favorite; the rest are also praiseworthy. I like how Steinbeck combines grim realism with his generally optimistic view of human nature, and how he tries to find the simple inner impulses guiding both the heroes and the villains. He also has a charming fondness for a simple way of life: "Look at them. There are your true philosophers. I think that Mack and the boys know everything that has ever happened in the world and possibly everything that will happen. I think they su "Of Mice and Men" is my favorite; the rest are also praiseworthy. I like how Steinbeck combines grim realism with his generally optimistic view of human nature, and how he tries to find the simple inner impulses guiding both the heroes and the villains. He also has a charming fondness for a simple way of life: "Look at them. There are your true philosophers. I think that Mack and the boys know everything that has ever happened in the world and possibly everything that will happen. I think they survive in this particular world better than other people. In a time when people tear themselves to pieces with ambition and nervousness and covetousness, they are relaxed. All of our so-called successful men are sick men, with bad stomachs, and bad souls, but Mack and the boys are healthy and curiously clean." "It has always seemed strange to me. The things we admire in men, kindness and generosity, openness, honesty, understanding and feeling are the concomitants of failure in our system. And those traits we detest, sharpness, greed, acquisitiveness, meanness, egotism and self-interest are the traits of success. And while men admire the quality of the first they love the produce of the second."

  20. 4 out of 5

    Herman Morgan III

    Still great after all these years. I haven't read a lot of Steinbeck since college, although I may have reread "Of mice and men" in the 70's. One of the first 'Adult' books I read was "Travels with Charlie", and disgusted my Conservative Dad, by telling him that Steinbeck was right up there with Mark Twain in my book. (Steinbeck being so liberal that he was a Commie in Dad's book). Cannery Row is probably second only to The Grapes of Wrath among my favorites of Steinbeck's work. Having lived many Still great after all these years. I haven't read a lot of Steinbeck since college, although I may have reread "Of mice and men" in the 70's. One of the first 'Adult' books I read was "Travels with Charlie", and disgusted my Conservative Dad, by telling him that Steinbeck was right up there with Mark Twain in my book. (Steinbeck being so liberal that he was a Commie in Dad's book). Cannery Row is probably second only to The Grapes of Wrath among my favorites of Steinbeck's work. Having lived many years in Northern California, and getting married in Pacific Grove, the whole geography of that area, and the flavors Steinbeck gives it, are clear and special to me. I highly recommend any of the Great Author's work.

  21. 5 out of 5

    Ramona Tudosa

    This was a very surprising collection of novels. My first encounter with Steinbeck's writing and I am interested to read more. Tortilla Flat - I wish this was not the first in the collection. It was a very slow read, with characters I did not care about until more or less the last 2-3 chapters. The Red Pony - one of my favourites. Interesting characters and beautiful writing. Of Mice and Men - a classic for a reason. A very sad story, with great dialogue. The Moon is Down - based in Europe during WW This was a very surprising collection of novels. My first encounter with Steinbeck's writing and I am interested to read more. Tortilla Flat - I wish this was not the first in the collection. It was a very slow read, with characters I did not care about until more or less the last 2-3 chapters. The Red Pony - one of my favourites. Interesting characters and beautiful writing. Of Mice and Men - a classic for a reason. A very sad story, with great dialogue. The Moon is Down - based in Europe during WWII, this is very different from the previous novels in style and location (the other ones are based in California). Cannery Row - a better version of Tortilla Flat, but with some of the same flaws. The Pearl - a beautiful yet sad story about family, life and death, great writing.

  22. 4 out of 5

    Jake Hanson

    I really enjoyed this collection of short stories. Because the stories were short, I was able to quickly get a feel for Steinbeck and his general outlook. In particular, both Tortilla Flat and Cannery Row romanticize a very particular type of person as the "true philosopher". This type of person is more or less an absurdist and, consequently, the stories remind me a lot of The Stranger and The Sun Also Rises. Of course, this is a drastic oversimplification, as Steinbeck's style is completely uni I really enjoyed this collection of short stories. Because the stories were short, I was able to quickly get a feel for Steinbeck and his general outlook. In particular, both Tortilla Flat and Cannery Row romanticize a very particular type of person as the "true philosopher". This type of person is more or less an absurdist and, consequently, the stories remind me a lot of The Stranger and The Sun Also Rises. Of course, this is a drastic oversimplification, as Steinbeck's style is completely unique and quite humorous, but the point is that I think you will enjoy this book if you enjoy Camus and/or Hemingway.

  23. 4 out of 5

    Jeff

    I liked "Of Mice and Men" and "Cannery Row". I've read both of them before. I don't think I've read the other ones before. I also liked "The Red Pony". I think "Tortilla Flat" and "Cannery Row" focus too much on drinking, but I guess that's kind of the nature of how many of Steinbeck's characters. I thought "The Pearl" started off good but ended up being very dark. There is a certain depressing style to the way Steinbeck writes. Of course my all time favorite is "Grapes of Wrath". I love the boo I liked "Of Mice and Men" and "Cannery Row". I've read both of them before. I don't think I've read the other ones before. I also liked "The Red Pony". I think "Tortilla Flat" and "Cannery Row" focus too much on drinking, but I guess that's kind of the nature of how many of Steinbeck's characters. I thought "The Pearl" started off good but ended up being very dark. There is a certain depressing style to the way Steinbeck writes. Of course my all time favorite is "Grapes of Wrath". I love the book and the movie.

  24. 5 out of 5

    Tajalli Barfoot

    Rich in context Steinbeck's writing is enthralling, as it always transports me to a specific time and place. His stories viscerally dive into the back-breaking reality of the depressed corners of humanity: racism, economic hardships, loneliness, and struggling against adversity. I appreciate that his endings don't fit neatly into a happily-ever-after and rather shed light on the truths of life. These are the stories for folks who feel like they can't get ahead and who see the world for its lack o Rich in context Steinbeck's writing is enthralling, as it always transports me to a specific time and place. His stories viscerally dive into the back-breaking reality of the depressed corners of humanity: racism, economic hardships, loneliness, and struggling against adversity. I appreciate that his endings don't fit neatly into a happily-ever-after and rather shed light on the truths of life. These are the stories for folks who feel like they can't get ahead and who see the world for its lack of romance; in that, you'll find camaraderie.

  25. 4 out of 5

    nightsflashingby

    Well, it took me almost exactly a year to read all of these, and I am not sorry! I always seem to go through periods of obsession with John Steinbeck, as I quickly read half of these novels in the beginning of the year and read the last three to end 2019/begin 2020. All but The Moon is Down were rereads for me, and I still love them as much as did when I first read them. I find JS novels to be great books for reading again and again with the same enthusiasm as the first time.

  26. 4 out of 5

    Greg

    Of the short novels in this collection, I read Tortilla Flat and enjoyed it but didn’t love it. I wonder if novels written decades ago were meant for people who read differently. I found that if I had a half hour to read, I had a tough time picking up the narrative from the last time. Consequently I ended up reading other things that were easy to stick with. No slam on Steinbeck here (rumor has it he’s the bees’ knees) but it didn’t hold me.

  27. 4 out of 5

    Amanda

    A collection of some of my favorite books from Steinbeck. They're short reads and you can easily bang them out in a day, or, more realistically, in a weekend. The reason for the extra day is to contemplate the themes and humanity and pain in each story. We build resilience with story and the raw, real characters Steinbeck colors in my mind sends me spiraling through all sorts of emotions. I bought this on my Kobo to read and reread.

  28. 4 out of 5

    Vinod Kurup

    I loved 'Of Mice and Men' and 'The Pearl', mainly because they brought me back to my teenage years when I read them the first time. 'The Moon is Down' was new to me and I liked it a lot. I can see it being more powerful as an allegory during WWII. I did not like 'Tortilla Flat' or 'Cannery Row'. I guess books about alcoholics scheming to drink more alcohol don't do it for me.

  29. 5 out of 5

    Richard Bradley

    A Great collection from a Great writer. I gave this a high rating simply because of the reputation of the author and the stories. They both deserve it. Steinbeck is one of my favorite authors but i am not a short story, or even a novella fan. I first read these when i was a teen. I didn't remember any of them. They are okay but to appreciate the author read any of his novels.

  30. 5 out of 5

    Liya Ma

    3.8 stars. I didn’t get the wow factor like I did with “East of Eden” or even “The Grapes of Wrath”; maybe the stories were too short. What this collection did do is evoke the same melancholy (to a lesser extent) than the longer books. Can’t say I completely understood each story, maybe I just need to go over them again in a few years.

Add a review

Your email address will not be published. Required fields are marked *

Loading...
We use cookies to give you the best online experience. By using our website you agree to our use of cookies in accordance with our cookie policy.