Tag Archives: John Steinbeck

Books Acquired Recently: Desk Copies Edition

DeLillo, Don. End Zone. 1972. New York: Penguin, 1986.

I’ll be teaching this novel in my Literature in Focus: Teens and Twenty-Somethings course next semester. The course only includes books with youngish protagonists. End Zone is the story of a college football team in Texas, and I am including it in the course with the hope that it will help some of the student-athletes who don’t read for fun realize that there is literature out there that speaks to their experiences. The novel is the best (and, frankly, one of the only) novel about American football by far. It is fascinating to me that there haven’t been more books written on this subject, considering that Americans are obsessed with it (and, of course, DeLillo does an excellent job exploring football as a metaphor for the American psyche). Perhaps this is because of football’s brutish nature. It appeals to a different mindset than a sport like baseball does, which has inspired a literary tradition almost as rich as the game itself.

Steinbeck, John. The Grapes of Wrath. 1939. New York: Penguin, 2006.

This has been one of my favorite novels since I first read it in high school, and I am finally going to teach it for the first time, in my American Literature After 1865 survey. Its length is right on the edge of what is possible to teach to undergraduates without them losing interest, but I think that the compelling storyline and the richness of Steinbeck’s prose will keep them engaged.

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Books Acquired Recently

Palahniuk, Chuck. Invisible Monsters Remix. New York: Norton, 2012.

I am teaching the first edition (1999) of this novel in my Introduction to Literature course this coming semester, which gave me an excuse to buy the Remix (it is essential research!), a version of the novel in its original form along with commentary by Palahniuk. Invisible Monsters is a fun book—I couldn’t put it down the first time I read it—and I am looking forward to experiencing it in a different incarnation.

Steinbeck, John. The Acts of King Arthur and His Noble Knights. 1976. New York: Penguin, 2008.

I have been looking for a copy of this book for around fifteen years in used bookstores. Steinbeck is an excellent storyteller and one of my favorite writers to read for fun, thus I’ve always thought that his retelling of the Arthurian legend would be worth reading. I did not realize that Penguin had reissued it, but discovered a new copy of the book (along with Palahniuk’s) when browsing in Dolly’s Bookstore in Park City, Utah, which I visited for the first time yesterday. I continue to be very impressed with the number of high-quality bookstores in Utah. It has the best bookstore scene I’ve ever encountered outside of New York City.

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