Last October I was lucky enough to travel to Monterey, California. It is a beautiful part of the United States. Salinas is close to Monterey and it's the home of the National Steinbeck Center. Steinbeck was from Salinas and often uses this part of California as the setting for his writing.
We arrived at the Steinbeck Center late in the day, after visiting a wine tasting room nearby, and the building was rented out for a special event so my visit consisted of going to the gift shop and buying a t-shirt. I did notice the really cool box set of Steinbeck books packaged in a Centennial Collection. I asked for the set for Christmas and was very happy to receive it.
I had read "Cannery Row" prior to going to Monterey. So I thought I would pick another short one and pulled out "The Pearl". This short story/novella shows that short does not mean there's not a lot going on. Pride, greed, jealously, family, community, race are all covered in this spare book. It's not an upper by any means but it's a good read. I think Steinbeck has such a command of describing people and their relationships with each other as well as to their environment.
The set consists of what could be called "Steinbeck's Greatest Hits" and I am looking forward to working through the collection. A nice Central Coast wine provides a great accompanient to his writing.