Sunday, July 12, 2009

East of Eden - John Steinbeck

Whew! That was an enormous book. Maybe I should ask the length before I ask for recommendations on what to read next time. That took forever. I mean I read fast, but there's only so many pages you can read in a lunch break.

Okay. Overall, I liked it. Messed up book. Messed up. Cathy/Kate was scary. She makes me think of the Joker. Just pure evil, and there's no way to plan around that craziness. No reasoning with it, and at points, no stopping it. I tried to explain the story to Josh, but there were just too many turns to explain. You'd just have to read it.

I liked his writing. Kept me interested while not a whole lot was going on. Seemed like he had alot to say behind what he was really saying, and on occasion he just pulls out of character and goes on with what he wants to say even though it doesn't seem to relate. Or maybe it does, and I'm just slow. Either way. I liked all the thoughts.

I'm still not sure about the ending. Did he bless him or not? I think maybe not? Was he saying he chose to do bad when he could have overcome it so he's not going to forgive him?

I loved Lee's character, and Samuel Hamilton's. I would like to meet some folks like them.

And for the quotes....

Pg. 130 - "Sometimes a kind of glory lights up the mind of a man. It happens to nearly everyone. You can feel it growing or preparing like a fuse burning toward dynamite. It is a feeling in the stomach, a delight of the nerves, of the forearms. The skin tastes the air, and every deep-drawn breath is sweet. Its beginning has the pleasure of a great stretching yawn; it flashes in the brain and the whole world glows outside your eyes. A man may have lived all of his life in the gray, and the land and trees of him dark and somber. The events, even the important ones, may have trooped by faceless and pale. And then - the glory - so that a cricket song sweetens his ears, the smell of the earth rises chanting to his nose, and dappling light under a tree blesses his eyes. Then a man pours outward, a torrent of him, and yet he is not diminished. And I guess a man's importance in the world can be measured by the quality and number of his glories. It is a lonely thing, but it relates us to the world. It is the mother of all creativeness, and it sets each man separate from other men."

Pg. 131 - "Our species is the only creative species, and it has only one creative instrument, the individual mind and spirit of a man. Nothing was ever created by two men. There are no good collaborations, whether in music, in art, in poetry, in mathematics, in philosophy. Once the miracle of creation has taken place, the group can build and extend it, but the group never invents anything. The preciousness lies in the lonely mind of a man." Hmmm...I guess this is technically true, but it seems weird to me. What do you think??

Pg. 143 - "You have a point, Louis. But some men are friends with the whole world in their hearts, and there are others that hate themselves and spread hatred around like butter on hot bread."

Pg. 160 - "That's why I'm talking to you. You are one of the rare people who can separate your observation from your preconception. You see what is, where most people see what they expect." This is a tough one b/c, at least to me, everything is already tainted by what you think of it. So it's leaning toward your preconception already. Takes a strong character or act to push it back the other way.

Pg. 255 " 'You're never satisfied to let the Testament alone. You're forever picking at it and questioning it. You turn it over the way a 'coon turns over a wet rock, and it angers me.'

'I'm just trying to understand it, Mother.'

'What is there to understand? Just read it. There it is in black and white. Who wants you to understand it? If the Lord God wanted you to understand it. He'd have given you to understand or He'd have set it down different.' "

Ha. I like this. I like to question things, but sometimes it would be nice to just accept.

Pg. 268 "And I here I make a rule - a great and lasting story is about everyone or it will not last. The strange and foreign is not interesting - only the deeply personal and familar."

Pg. 301 "But 'Thou mayest!' Why, that makes a man great, that gives him stature with the gods, for in his weakness and his filth and his murder of his brother he has still the great choice. He can choose his course and fight it through and win."

Pg. 413 "It seems to me that if you or I must choose between two courses of thought or action, we should remember our dying and try so to live that our death brings no pleasure to the world."

Pg. 415 "They say a clean cut heals soonest. There's nothing sadder to me than associations held together by nothing but the glue of postage stamps." Boooooo.....I'd rather write that let it go.

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