East of Eden.
I just got done reading "Heyday." It was...mediocre. It's been on a lot of best seller's lists, I read an excellent review of it, I couldn't wait to dig in.
I didn't get in to the character until halfway through. Actually, I couldn't keep the characters STRAIGHT until about halfway through. Then when they finally all joined up and went on their adventure together, which happens about two-thirds of the way through, I finally became intrigued.
I couldn't decide which way the novel was going to go -- a tragedy or no? As it turned out, it was a tragedy for some of the main characters but some got what they wanted in the end, so the ending in my mind was overall satisfactory. But even during the most tragic parts my only sentiment for the one main character who bites it was, "Gee, that's too bad."
At any rate, so I am now starting "East of Eden," a book I have never read, and I cannot wait.
I had to read "The Grapes of Wrath" in high school, and to be honest, I couldn't tell you a damn thing about the book. I also read "The Red Pony" in jr high, but both, being required reading, were approached with some tedium and trepedation.
Now, having recently read, "Travels with Charley," a semi-autobiographical account of John Steinbeck's travels across the US in the 1960s, I feel like I know him as a person. I'm more interested in what he has to say as a writer. And...now I realize that the 60's weren't in the same time period as the dinosaurs, as I once thought as a youngster. I realize that they are very recent history, that he is a very recent author, and that he is writing about America, a relatively recent country in the history of the world.
I am one chapter in, and cannot wait to get back to it. I'll let you know if my enthusiasm holds.