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Posts tagged ‘john steinbeck’

Steinbeck Mocks The Publishing Process

We’ve talked a lot about John Steinbeck on this blog–including his writing rules and all kinds of topics related to The Grapes Of Wrath, arguably his best novel.

But when I saw this post on Scott Berkun’s blog, I couldn’t resist sharing it with you guys.

If you’ve ever had a book published, or even attempted to have a book published, then you are all too familiar with this process. Just call me a glutton for punishment, because I hope to be going through this process myself in the not-too-distant future.

Here’s how John Steinbeck light-heartedly explains the publishing process:

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The Best Writing Quotes That Ever Existed

Over the last 2 plus years, I’ve enjoyed posting a lot about the writing styles of famous authors.

To this day, the most popular post on my blog is about Jonathan Franzen’s 10 Rules For Writing. But I’ve posted about many other writers and their insights about their craft as well—Margaret Atwood, George Orwell, John Steinbeck, C.S. Lewis and others.

How about some of those tips in one easy to find place? Well, here you go!

Here’s some great writing tips from authors I’ve talked about on 101 Books, plus a few others for good measure:

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The Quotable Grapes of Wrath

I know I should be past The Grapes of Wrath now. I’ve reviewed it. I’ve previewed Atonement. And it’s time to move on.

But, today, I’ve got one more post.

While writing my review for The Grapes of Wrath, I was struck by how many quotable passages the book has. I’ve shared many of them with you throughout all of my posts about this novel.

Today, I thought I’d put them all in one easy to find place. If you ever need an insightful quote to put on Facebook or Twitter, then Steinbeck is your guy.

Here’s a sampling from The Grapes of Wrath:

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Book #46: The Grapes Of Wrath

Sometimes, bad weather just sucks.

You can be hanging out one minute, relaxing with friends, and 10 minutes later you’re cramped in a tiny closet while a tornado rips the roof off your house.

That’s the quick, almost instantaneous stuff. And then there’s droughts—months and years of little to no rain—that ravage the landscape and make life hell on earth for farmers.

That’s how The Grapes Of Wrath begins—right in the middle of one of the worst droughts in U.S. History, the Dust Bowl drought in the 1930s.

The drought trashed the crops and brought massive dust storms that ripped up soil and made it almost impossible to farm for years to come. That’s when “The Okies”—as they were derogatorily called—decided to pack up and move out.

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Is This The Creepiest Ending Ever?

I do my best to not give away the endings of the novels I’m reading on this blog.

We can talk about themes, symbolism, writing style, etc, etc, etc, without getting into the specifics of the ending.

With that said, SPOILER ALERT on today’s post about The Grapes Of Wrath. Really, this isn’t a huge spoiler. The ending makes no sense unless you’ve read the novel. It’s not like the entire Joad family gets eaten by coyotes or anything like that.

So all I want to do today is share with you the final passage of The Grapes of Wrath. If you’ve read the novel, you know that last paragraph is just weird–and a little graphic.

To set the stage, Rose of Sharon, who is recently pregnant and just lost a baby, and a few of the remaining Joads have found shelter in an old barn. Upon entering, they realize two men, obviously struggling and near death, have already occupied the abandoned barn.

So, without further nonsensical ramblings:

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The Photos That Inspired The Grapes Of Wrath

Who is that strange man? Where did he come from? Who photographed him?

Those are the questions that arose during my recent post about The Grapes of Wrath covers. I wondered if it might be Henry Fonda from the movie. Though there didn’t seem to be a movie tie-in with that particular cover, the guy kind of looked like Fonda.

Bba said it might be Tommy Lee Jones’ doppleganger. Yes, I see the resemblance. But then MutantSuperModel saved the day by posting this little tidbit of information she pulled from the web:

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Howling Fantods Or Howling Skitters?

I love it when writers make up funny crap—especially when they create strange words.

Twice during this 101 Books journey, I’ve encountered the term “howling” used in a humorous way.

The first time was during David Foster Wallace’s Infinite Jest. When a character had the “howling fantods,” they had the “creeps.” You might call it the “willies” or the “heebie jeebies.”

Here’s an example of the howling fantods in context from the novel:

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On Stir-Bugs, Skitters, and Truck Skinners

One of the things I love about The Grapes of Wrath? The dialogue.

It’s filled with slang and colloquialisms, and it can be difficult to read at times, but it feels right. I can hear the characters speaking when I read it. That’s much different than, say, Gone With the Wind–where the dialogue seemed over-the-top and goofy–and Neuromancer–where the dialogue seemed artificial and stilted.

Within conversations throughout The Grapes of Wrath, you’ll want to pay close attention to some of the word choices and terminology. Steinbeck included quite a few funny terms that I had never heard of before reading this book.

Some examples (with definitions from Clifs Notes):

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Memories Of The Dust Bowl

The last few years in Nashville have been full of weather extremes.

In 2010, our city experienced what was called “The 1,000 Years Flood.” Around 14 inches of rain in two days soaked the ground and flooded The Cumberland and Harpeth Rivers, causing several people to lose their lives and thousands of people to lose their homes.

Last year was a ridiculous tornado season. And while we just missed the brutal tornadoes that ravaged Alabama last April, the threat of a serious tornado was a weekly event.

This summer, it’s just been hotter than an Eskimo in the Sahara. We had somewhere in the neighborhood of 9 straight days of 100 degrees or more, topping out with 109 degrees on one day, which was the highest temperature ever recorded in Nashville.

Anyway, all that to say, despite these crazy weather conditions, despite the heat and the rain and the tornadoes, I still have my home. I still have my job, my car, my family.

That’s a stark contrast to the insane weather phenomenon—the Dust Bowl drought—that inspired John Steinbeck’s The Grapes Of Wrath.

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John Steinbeck On Writing

It’s The Grapes of Wrath week! A week dedicated to angry grapes? Yes!

I have so much to say about The Grapes of Wrath, I thought I’d dedicate this whole week to nothing but posts related to the novel. It’s all The Grapes of Wrath, all the time.

Today, I thought I’d start with a repost. I’m not on vacation or anything. All of the posts this week will be brand new, but this post is relevant enough to The Grapes of Wrath I thought it was worthy to post again. The original post was on March 7, 2012.

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