Tortilla Flat

Why am I tackling Tortilla Flat again when I didn’t care for the characters and their stories five months ago, and stopped reading mid-way? The book was a publishing success back in 1935, so I thought I should give it another go. I’m glad I did. Tortilla Flat is one of those tales where nothing … More Tortilla Flat

To a God Unknown

What is it to be a farmer? Is farming about yields, faith or something more? In his third book To a God Unknown, John Steinbeck explores Joseph Wayne’s relationship with the environment. With a farm struggling to support his family, Joseph leaves Vermont and his dying father for the riches of California. He settles in … More To a God Unknown


Reviewing a book collection seems relatively straight forward. There’s no searching for suitable books or ditching writing because the story doesn’t work for you. With entire works, what matters is that you read and review each book from A to Z. How hard can it be? After acquiring John Steinbeck’s books, I had to sort … More Journeys

The Pastures of Heaven

This second book that John Steinbeck published is quite extraordinary. What starts off as a simple, restrained read becomes something else – a shocking tale about how seemingly small life events can shape destinies and impact community. In this collection of interwoven short stories, we meet two generations of farming families who call the pastures … More The Pastures of Heaven

Cup of Gold

John Steinbeck’s first book about pirates is an interesting read. Published in 1929, when Steinbeck was 27, Cup of Gold is a historical fictional account of Henry Morgan’s rise from humble beginnings in Wales to notorious buccaneer in the Americas in the 1600’s. For all the promise of swashbuckling adventures, plus romance and allegory too, … More Cup of Gold


Sometimes naivety is a good thing when leaping into the unknown. Like the time I left the lab bench in New York in 1999 to become a freelance writer. This wasn’t the sort of thing I usually did. But I was childless and overseas for a short stint with my husband, so I had nothing … More Beginnings