A Year of Steinbeck

I’ve never had the pleasure of reading the entire work of one author, but if I ever set out to do it, doing so in chronological order would be incredibly satisfying. By doing so, the reader will likely notice small progressions in the author’s writing and be able to comment on which book is the author’s best. I cannot fully trust people that say Grapes of Wrath is John Steinbeck’s best, nor can I say East of Eden is his only masterpiece without having read everything he has put out there. Call me crazy for picking Steinbeck as my author, who has over 27 books under his name, but there is no other author who I have connected more with at this stage in my reading life.

East of Eden was, I believe, (and I hate to use bold claims like this) a masterpiece. But since I have not read his prize winning novel Grapes of Wrath or the majority of his books I cannot properly put a finger on his best. My hopes during this journey are to acquire a better answer to this question. East of Eden, Cannery Row, and Of Mice and Men is the furthest my familiarity with Steinbeck extends. But every moment of these books was an absolute pleasure for me. If I come out of this with at least a handful of experiences like these, the entire process will be worth it. So to the details. Coming up with the list is tough. I’m constantly stuck between reading only his novels and reading everything he has ever put out there. I can’t just leave out some of his great nonfiction like Travels with Charley or his short story collections like The Pastures of Heaven. Looking at a list of all of his work, it’s evident some things were published after he died. Other works also include a film he worked on. I’m going skip this one, along with some of his essays. I will be starting my journey no later than let’s say, July 1st. I will give myself one year to complete the list, which should leave me with plenty of time to read other books on the side. I’m not trying to burn myself out and hate the guy. Here is the list I will be tackling. For anyone who wants to follow along or do a read along to any of these books, I would love to know! You will see me post my reviews here as well as Goodreads.

Started July 1, 2017


  1. Cup of Gold – 1929

  2. The Pastures of Heaven – 1932

  3. To A God Unknown – 1933

  4. Tortilla Flat – 1935

  5. In Dubious Battle – 1936

  6. The Red Pony – 1937
  7. Of Mice and Men – 1937

  8. The Long Valley – 1938

  9. The Grapes of Wrath – 1939

  10. The Moon Is Down – 1942

  11. Cannery Row – 1945

  12. The Pearl – 1947

  13. The Wayward Bus – 1947

  14. A Russian Journal – 1948

  15. Burning Bright – 1950

  16. Log from the Sea of Cortez – 1951

  17. East of Eden – 1952

  18. Sweet Thursday – 1954

  19. The Short Reign of Pippin IV – 1957

  20. Once There Was A War – 1958

  21. Winter of Our Discontent – 1961

  22. Travels With Charley: In Search of America – 1962


3 thoughts on “A Year of Steinbeck

  1. A very interesting idea! Although I can’t say I could stick to JUST ONE author for a long time. I have read The Cannery Row (loved it) and then the Tortilla Flat (after Cannery Row.. it felt bad. It was like copy paste! I strongly advise not to read those after one another, cause it basically feels like the changed the character’s names and the street name and nothing more…) Haven’t read anything else by him after that 🙂

    Liked by 1 person

    1. Yeah, i’ve got a long road ahead of me! Luckily most of his books are relatively short aside from a few. I won’t be reading strictly Steinbeck either, but rather reading about 2-3 books per month of his. I will definitely need other authors in there to give me breaks.

      That’s interesting about Tortilla Flat since it was published before Cannery Row. I also really like Cannery Row so i’ll have to keep that in mind when I get started with Tortilla Flat.

      East of Eden is my favorite, which I look forward to revisiting, but i’m hoping to find more gems on that list as I make my way through it.


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