Twenty-Fifteen: I’m doing something I’d been putting off for far too long. I’ve gotten serious about reading, again. I’ve dusted off my paperbacks and charged up my Kindle. It has been a year to take the time to feed my poor television-adled brain with a selection of healthy, nourishing fiction. So, read on, little brain. Read on. We’ve been going Book to the Future!
Until about a week ago we were living through a mild drought. I seemed like it hadn’t rained more than a misting in nearly two months. My own small garden was nearly vacant, and my postage stamp suburban lawn was (at best) patchy and filled with weeds far more drought-resistant than the grass. But far worse than my little decorative horticultural problems, the stories were starting to creep into the media from the rural areas of this being yet another a year for lost crops or low productions. Couple that with low oil prices and a looming economic recession and –no, it’s not the 1930s all over again– but it does make a guy think about harsher times.
I’ve never read The Grapes of Wrath by John Steinbeck, but enough of it lurks in the collective memory of popular culture that I know (a) it’s a depression-era story about struggle, and (b) it’s a classic and something I probably should check off my reading list.
It was raining before I started reading: the soil in my garden was still damp from the morning’s storm, the grass green and wet, the air fresh from the hard wash of a hard rain.
I had pulled a copy of Steinbeck’s classic to my Kindle a few weeks earlier, the final narrowing collection of novels to read in this little 2015 reading project of mine gelling in my head, and the prospect of the relatability of a drought-stricken world seeming like a pertinent addition.
The book opens with dust and metaphor and phonetic dialog, a seeming drifter works his way home after making parole, inching towards the failing family farm, presumably under the threat of foreclosure, and the story begins. Already the paragraphs are thick with frustration and racism and cussing and fallen men, but I think that’s the point. So I read on…