Superfluous Matter
Books - The Grapes of Wrath by John Steinbeck

I read a lot. Many times people have looked at my bookshelves and asked, "Have you read all those??" The answer is of course yes, but there's at least that number of books again that I've read and do not own. Anyway, I've always toyed with the idea of keeping track of the books I read in some way but I never get around to it. I'm sure there is some sort of Web 2.0/social media thing for that purpose but I'd rather read than spend that time categorizing and social-mediaing what I've read.

So as a compromise I've decided to do short blog posts about books as I finish them (if the book is worthy). I just finished The Grapes of Wrath which is on most lists of the best English novels of all time and is frequently described as one of the best American novels of all time. I found its depictions of life during the depression fascinating and the story of the Joad family to be gripping. As a stand-alone book it is great. However there was an additional layer that I found extra interesting. A lot of the problems presented in the book echo the problems we're having in the world today (concentration of wealth among few people, falling wages, rising unemployment, destruction of the work base for the middle class, etc).

I'm not trying to oversimplify, but the outbreak of World War II was probably the greatest factor in the resolution of those problems. I don't see another world war in the near future, which is good, but how will we solve the problems this time?

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