Book Review: East of Eden

East of Eden: A Novel by John Steinbeck (New York: Penguin Books, 1952. 601 pp Born in Salinas, California in 1902, John Steinbeck grew up in a fertile agricultural valley about twenty-five miles from the Pacific Coast. In 1919, he went to Stanford University, where he intermittently enrolled in literature and writing courses until he left in 1925 without taking a degree. During the next five years, he supported himself as a laborer and journalist in New York City. He published his first novel, Cup of Gold, in 1929. After a marriage and a move to Pacific Grove, California, Steinbeck continued writing novels. Popular success and financial security came with Tortilla Flat in 1935 and he became best known for… Read More →

Book Review: The Art of the Commonplace

The Art of the Commonplace: The Agrarian Essays of Wendell Berry by Wendell Berry; edited by Norman Wirzba (Berkley: Counterpoint, 2002. 352 pp) Born in rural Kentucky, Wendell Berry is a farmer, critic, and prolific author. He has published many works in novels, essays, poems, and short stories genres. Berry received his B.A. and M.A. in English from the University of Kentucky before attending Stanford University’s Creative Writing Program. He obtained a Guggenheim Foundation Fellowship and taught English at New York University before taking a position on faculty at the University of Kentucky.  After a decade of teaching, Berry purchased a farm in the Kentucky countryside where he currently works and writes about the virtues of connecting with the land…. Read More →