08. The Long Valley, John Steinbeck (March 4)
Would you believe I bought this book in the summer of 2013, standing in a used book shop in Ghent, Belgium, in the middle of the Ghent Festival? No, me neither. I’ve been carrying it with me since then, and it sat in a closet here in Japan until a few months ago, when I finally figured out which bookshelves I wanted (we ended up, of all things, with IKEA shelves after my search for wine crates failed miserably). After that, all of the books we’d been gifted or had picked up along the way were suddenly out in the open.
As I might have said earlier, I’ve realized that I read a lot faster than audiobooks read TO me, so I’m making a point to get through all of the volumes in that book shelf before turning back to the audiobooks on my phone, or the load of free Shakespeare I’ve got loaded on Mark’s kindle. At the moment, I’m trying to work out which books I’ll bring to Australia with me. I’ve got 2 Murakami books to read, and a few other larger books. I was thinking I should bring them, as it might take me that entire time on vacation (3 weeks) to get through them. Or, I could just bring the Kindle. But as I said, I DO want to get through all of the books in the shelf!
I really effing LOVE Steinbeck. And I remember that, but I guess I forgot how he likes to write, so a few things I read were like getting a slap in the face, to remember. The Long Valley is a collection of short stories, with one series involving the same characters on a farm taking up the final third of the book. It takes place in the Salinas valley, of course, since it’s where most of his stories tend to end up. In typical Steinbeck fashion, there is no happy ending for the characters in the stories. And if a character DOES get what they want, it will come with a price.
After reading a bunch of ironic Dahl and slightly scary Gaiman short stories, this was a welcome jump to farm life. I’m a little afraid of how Jody, the boy on the farm, might turn out, though.