Next Up: The Grapes Of Wrath
Classic. Classic. Classic.
If I was going to pick one novel that epitomized what a top 100 novels list should be, The Grapes of Wrath might be it.
This is brilliant literature, and I’m beyond excited to dive into it again. This is one of the five you guys selected in a recent vote on the blog.
In brief, The Grapes of Wrath is the story of the Joad family—a hard-working Oklahoma farming family in the Great Depression who, because of bad crops and government tractors that will run over people, is driven out of their homes.
With nowhere else in the Midwestern “Dust Bowl” to find work, they load up in a crappy, old car—all dozen or so of them—and drive to California to find work in the fields of abundant fruit.
A few quick facts about The Grapes of Wrath and its author, the legendary John Steinbeck:
- Published in 1939, the novel won the 1940 Pulitzer and National Book Award.
- The title, which was suggested by Steinbeck’s wife, comes from a verse in the Battle Hymn of the Republic.
- The novel sold 439,000 copies in 1939 and has sold around 15 million copies, including 100,000 each year.
- An opera, yes an opera, based on The Grapes of Wrath was performed in 2007 by the Minnesota Opera. An opera.
- Bruce Springsteen named his 11th studio album, “The Ghost of Tom Joad.”
- The Grapes of Wrath is one of the most controversial and banned books in the history of American literature. It’s been burned many times.
- The novel was turned into a film starring Henry Fonda in 1940.
- Steinbeck authored 16 novels, 6 nonfiction books, and 5 short story collections. He won the Nobel Prize for Literature in 1962.
- He passed away in 1968, at the age of 66.
What did Time Magazine say?
The Joads find only bitterness, squalor and oppression as migrant agricultural workers living in “Hoovervilles,” but their indomitable strength in the face of an entire continent’s worth of adversity makes Steinbeck’s epic far more than a history of unfortunate events: It’s both a record of its time and a permanent monument to human perseverance.
The Grapes Of Wrath is literary realism at its finest. Some creative blogger could probably write a daily blog about this novel alone, so I shouldn’t have any problem coming up with content for 101 Books over the next few weeks.
I can’t wait to dig deeper into this novel. Come along with me on this one.
*Unrelated to today’s post: I was featured on Writers on Reading yesterday, a great weekly blog. Check out the interview.