My photo
Berlin, Frankfurt, Paris, Chapel Hill, Boston, Istanbul, Calgary, Washington DC, Austin, Tunis, Warszawa and counting

Friday, May 26, 2006

Pastures Of Plenty

It seemed very fitting somehow to accompany a post on Steinbeck with a song by the Dust Bowl poet Woody Guthrie.

Woody Guthrie - Pastures Of Plenty

Because I wanted to start writing about the books I read a little on here. I noticed with somekind of a sad dawning that I do not read enough anymore. I used to read at least one or two books a week, nowadays I might finish a book a month, sometimes not even that. Anyway, this has resulted in me making myself a promise to start reading more again. We will see how this works out, but quite bluntly, I spend too much time online and drinking pointlessly in the evening nowadays.

I just finished John Steinbeck's Travels with Charley. John Steinbeck is one of the grandest American authors. He wrote at length about the Okie's coming into California (and the general plight of workers migrant and stationary). He is one of the - too - many authors whom I read when I was too young to really comprehend his work, but I loved him back then.

The book which I read now, is not one of his famous earlier ones but rather details a coast to coast trip he did in his fifties (and the fifties as well), taking along with him only a poodle called Charley. To a large extent this is the take of a man from a different era on modernity in the USA, not while it is happening but after is has taken place already. For the most part he doesn't like the way his country has transformed, yet he knows time has moved on. The point of view of someone who has lived most of his life already on full-fledged highways, suburbs and the such provides very interesting insights I found.

The last part of his book describes his journey through the Deep South. Very interesting, very moving, especially when he describes a scene in which a group of mothers stand in front of a school every morning to scream obscenities at one little, black girl being escorted there by the police and at the white parents who still send their kids to that school.

No comments: