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March 24, 2016

Looking Back - The Winter of Our Discontent


Looking Back... In an effort to transfer my book journal entries over to this blog, I'm going to attempt to post (in chronological order) an entry every Friday. I may or may not add extra commentary to what I jotted down in these journals.



The Winter of Our Discontent by John Steinbeck
Fiction
1996 Penguin Classics (Originally published in 1961)
Finished in February 1996
Rating: 3/5 (Good)




Publisher's Blurb:

Ethan Allen Hawley, a descendant of proud New England sea captains, works as a clerk in the grocery store owned by an Italian immigrant. His wife is restless; his teenaged children are troubled and discontented, hungry for the tantalizing material comforts he cannot provide. Then one day, in a moment of moral crisis, Ethan decides to take a holiday from his own scrupulous standards.

The Nobel Committee, in awarding John Steinbeck the 1962 Nobel Prize for literature, stated that with The Winter of Our Discontent he had "resumed his position as an independent expounder of the truth, with an unbiased instinct for what is genuinely American."

My Original Notes:

Pretty good. It certainly held my interest and I read it in five days. I'm sure I missed some of the underlying themes and wish I had CliffsNotes to help clarify some of the confusing spots. I haven't read Steinbeck since 9th grade! Recommended to me by a friend who said it was his favorite book.

My Current Thoughts:

Since 1996, I've read a few more novels by Steinbeck. I prefer his longer sagas, such as The Grapes of Wrath and East of Eden (reviewed here). The Winter of Our Discontent didn't leave much of an impression on me.

The Winter of Our Discontent was Steinbeck's last completed novel before his death in 1968. 

What is your favorite Steinbeck novel? Mine is The Grapes of Wrath, although I did love East of Eden, as well.

10 comments:

  1. I loved this book! I loved the way the language flowed. I, too read it because a friend suggested it as his favorite book. It's been a while since I've read it and I've never read another Steinbeck novel---not even The Grapes of Wrath. I guess I better get on the ball here! Have a good day!

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    1. Debbie, I wonder if I would have a deeper appreciation for this book now that I'm 20 years older than I was when I read it. If you decide to read another by Steinbeck, I highly recommend East of Eden and Travels with Charley. I loved The Grapes of Wrath, but I read it over 30 years ago, so who knows how I'd feel about it today!

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  2. My favorite Steinbeck is East of Eden, and Travels with Charley is a close second. I read The Winter of Our Discontent in a novels elective during high school and really liked it. It's a book I've thought about rereading since I probably didn't really grasp some of the finer points back then.

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    1. JoAnn, I loved East of Eden and Travels with Charley! I have the latter on audio and started listening to it the other day (Gary Sinese is the reader!), but set it aside for more Harry Potter. I wonder if I'd have a greater appreciation for The Winter of Our Discontent now that 20 years have passed since I first read it. I'll never know, because I'm pretty sure I won't read it again.

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  3. What a lovely book and that cover is beautiful. I love Steinbeck and East of Eden was an all time favorite. The audio is awesome as well.

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    1. Diane, I agree about the cover art. I thoroughly enjoyed East of Eden when I read it a couple of years ago. Travels with Charley is another favorite and I hope to reread (via audio) it in the coming months.

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  4. I've only read Grapes of Wrath and that was so many years ago. I would love to read more and actually have East of Eden on my shelves but you know how that goes.

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    1. Iliana, I highly recommend East of Eden. I thought it was very good and the pages flew!

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  5. I have yet to tackle any of Steinbeck's longer works and I've had mixed results with the shorter ones. I really, really disliked The Pearl but quite liked Cannery Row and adore Of Mice and Men.

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    1. Lisa, I've never read The Pearl or The Pony or several of his other shorter novels. I didn't care for Cannery Row, as I recall. His longer novels seem a bit intimidating, but the pages flew when I read East of Eden. I think you'd enjoy it! And if you have the travel bug, Travels With Charley is a gem.

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