Below I’ll give you my selections for the best Steinbeck books by a few categories. I will cover these and other great books more in depth later.
- East of Eden (Penguin Twentieth Century Classics) (1992)
- The Short Novels of John Steinbeck: (Penguin Classics Deluxe Edition) (2009)
- The Log from the Sea of Cortez (Penguin Classics) (1995)
- Travels with Charley in Search of America (1980)
- Cannery Row: (Centennial Edition) (2002)
- Of Mice and Men (1993)
- The Pearl (1993)
- The Winter of Our Discontent (Penguin Classics) (2008)
- To a God Unknown (Penguin Classics) (1995)
- The Harvest Gypsies: On the Road to the Grapes of Wrath (2011)
- Sweet Thursday (Penguin Classics) (2008)
- Sea of Cortez: A Leisurely Journal of Travel and Research (2009)
- The Red Pony (Penguin Great Books of the 20th Century) (1994)
In his journal, Nobel Prize winner John Steinbeck called East of Eden “the first book,” and indeed it has the primordial power and simplicity of myth.
Collected here for the first time in a deluxe paperback volume are six of John Steinbeck’s most widely read and beloved novels.
In the two years after the 1939 publication of Steinbeck’s masterful , Steinbeck and his novel increasingly became the center of intense controversy and censorship. In search of a respite from the national stage, Steinbeck and his close friend, biologist Ed Ricketts, embarked on a month long marine specimen-collecting expedition in the Gulf of California, which resulted in their collaboration on the .
Travels with Charley in Search of America (1980)
To hear the speech of the real America, to smell the grass and the trees, to see the colors and the light—these were John Steinbeck’s goals as he set out, at the age of fifty-eight, to rediscover the country he had been writing about for so many years.
Unburdened by the material necessities of the more fortunate, the denizens of discover rewards unknown in more traditional society. Henry the painter sorts through junk lots for pieces of wood to incorporate into the boat he is building, while the girls from Dora Flood’s bordello venture out now and then to enjoy a bit of sunshine.
Of Mice and Men (1993)
They are an unlikely pair: George is “small and quick and dark of face”; Lennie, a man of tremendous size, has the mind of a young child. Yet they have formed a “family,” clinging together in the face of loneliness and alienation. Laborers in California’s dusty vegetable fields, they hustle work when they can, living a hand-to-mouth existence. For George and Lennie have a plan: to own an acre of land and a shack they can call their own.
The Pearl (1993)
Like his father and grandfather before him, Kino is a poor diver, gathering pearls from the gulf beds that once brought great wealth to the Kings of Spain and now provide Kino, Juana, and their infant son with meager subsistence. Then, on a day like any other, Kino emerges from the sea with a pearl as large as a sea gull’s egg, as “perfect as the moon.” With the pearl comes hope, the promise of comfort and of security.
In awarding John Steinbeck the 1962 Nobel Prize in Literature, the Nobel committee 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.” Ethan Allen Hawley, the protagonist of Steinbeck’s last novel, works as a clerk in a grocery store that his family once owned.
Ancient pagan beliefs, the great Greek epics, and the Bible all inform this extraordinary novel by Nobel Prize winner John Steinbeck, which occupied him for more than five difficult years. While fulfilling his dead father’s dream of creating a prosperous farm in California, Joseph Wayne comes to believe that a magnificent tree on the farm embodies his father’s spirit.
Gathered in this important volume are seven newspaper articles on migrant farm workers that John Steinbeck wrote for The San Francisco News in 1936, three years before The Grapes of Wrath. With the inquisitiveness of an investigative reporter and the emotional power of a novelist in his prime, Steinbeck toured the squatters’ camps and Hoovervilles of California.
In Monterey, on the California coast, Sweet Thursday is what they call the day after Lousy Wednesday, which is one of those days that are just naturally bad.
The collaboration of two friends—one a novelist, one a marine biologist—produced a volume in which fascinating popular science is woven into a narrative of man’s dreams, his ideals, and his accomplishments through the centuries. Sea of Cortez is one of those rare books that are all things to all readers.
Written at a time of profound anxiety caused by the illness of his mother, Nobel Prize winner John Steinbeck draws on his memories of childhood in these stories about a boy who embodies both the rebellious spirit and the contradictory desire for acceptance of early adolescence. Unlike most coming-of-age stories, the cycle does not end with a hero “matured” by circumstances. As John Seelye writes in his introduction, reversing common interpretations, is imbued with a sense of loss.
Best Steinbeck Books Reviewed & Ranked
We highly recommend you to buy all paper or e-books in a legal way, for example, on Amazon. But sometimes it might be a need to dig deeper beyond the shiny book cover. Before making a purchase, you can visit resources like Library Genesis and download some steinbeck books mentioned below at your own risk. Once again, we do not host any illegal or copyrighted files, but simply give our visitors a choice and hope they will make a wise decision.
Sound Experiments: The Music of the AACM
Author(s): Paul Steinbeck
ID: 3364505, Publisher: University of Chicago Press, Year: 2022, Size: 14 Mb, Format: pdf
Mad at the World: A Life of John Steinbeck
Author(s): William Souder
ID: 3386839, Publisher: W. W. Norton & Company, Year: 2020, Size: 9 Mb, Format: epub
John Steinbeck: A Literary Life
Author(s): Linda Wagner-Martin
ID: 1701214, Publisher: Palgrave Macmillan UK, Year: 2017, Size: 12 Mb, Format: pdf
Please note that this booklist is not definite. Some books are absolutely chart-busters according to The Wall Street Journal, others are composed by unknown writers. On top of that, you can always find additional tutorials and courses on Coursera, Udemy or edX, for example. Are there any other relevant books you could recommend? Leave a comment if you have any feedback on the list.