View this email in your browser. Heads up- there is no plot reveal here, but there would be a hint on themes, like how you'd find in the blurb of a book- just enough to decide whether you want to give it a shot. 
(3 min read)
Thursday's Episode: Star-struck by Steinbeck

Dear <<First Name>>,

Before we start today's episode: let me know your preferences! It's been one week of this newsletter, and we've talked about three amazing books! This is the point where you have an idea as to what every week could be like in this journey.

I would like to know your preferences so that I can send you the mails on days when you are comfortable, and at times when you are free to read! So, let me know what you feel here:
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Thanks for letting me know. Now, on to today's good (actually, make that great) book: The Grapes of Wrath by John Steinbeck. This was the first book of Steinbeck that I read, on someone's suggestion, and he has been one of my all-time favourites ever since. If I have to describe Steinbeck in just one word, I'd say phenomenal
Set in the Dust Bowl of Oklahoma and the bright city of California, this story goes way back to the dirty-thirties period. The corns had wilted under the dust storms and had become unfit. The tenants, the farmers, were displaced, almost without any notice. They asked the owners, “Where can we go?”, but the reply came to them just as fast as their questions: “That isn’t our problem.” 
With this backdrop, Steinbeck explores the life of the Joads in a fashion that is sometimes disconcerting thanks to being candid. This is a tale of a family that goes west towards California in search of a life, and experiences hardships that takes away one by one from them. I can still remember the way that book took me with the Joad family, through their struggles, and left me in the end with no happy ending but just the raw truth in it, all of it without even being gory. 

It's not just this book, Steinbeck gives a powerful delivery every single time. After The Grapes of Wrath, I was so star-struck by his narrative that I read East of Eden, one of his best. Last year again, I picked up Steinbeck and read Of Mice and Men, and The Pearl
Of Mice and Men is a classic just under a hundred pages. With a heartwarming story that talks about two important things- friendship and dreams- this phenomenal author won my heart, again. The book also has a typical Steinbeck ending- no sugar coated happiness, but he leaves the reader with just the incident, however bitter, that feels real. But, this is not a sad book. There are plenty of joyful moments that make you appreciate the smallest comforts and the truest joys.

The Pearl does what The Grapes of Wrath does, again, this time bringing us closer than ever to a poor, yet impeccably happy and ideal family of Kino, his wife Juana, and their baby son Coyotito. Their lives turn around when a scorpion stings the baby. The book brings with it heavy themes of family, and how they unceasingly work towards their betterment, and greed. There is good, there is evil, but sometimes there is good in evil, and evil in good. And, The Pearl takes us through all of those phases in the life of Kino and his family. We get closer to Kino and Juana, and wish at every stage we could stop them from slipping further. 

Every book I  talked about today is a definite must-read. Steinbeck won the Nobel Prize for Literature in 1962. Why? Well, for the very same reason that I love his writing, and you would too.
"... for his realistic and imaginative writings, combining as they do sympathetic humour and keen social perception."
Have you read Steinbeck? If not, then you are missing out a treasure in the world of literature. If you have read Steinbeck, let me know which is your favourite one and what you loved about it!

What to look forward to? Let me tell you about (english translations of) the Tamizh historical saga Sivagamiyin Sabatham by Kalki, and how I am still yearning to know the ending. 
As always, you are welcome to share your thoughts, experiences, perspectives, anecdotes, criticisms, and anything at all that you would regarding today's literary discussion or my piece on it!

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