East of Eden

I purchased the John Steinbeck novel East of Eden after I read Grapes of Wrath this summer. It sat around untouched for many months. Last month I went on a 18+ hour road trip to Wisconsin and decided to take along some audio books. One was enough, as I picked up the East of Eden audio book. It had 22 CD disks and I just finished it this week.

I’m not enamoured with audio books but they serve a purpose. I probably should listen to more of them because I commute over 2 hours every day round trip. I’m more of a podcast guy right now. But in addition to the 18 hour road trip, it took a week of listenting on my daily commute to get through East of Eden.

One reason I prefer actually reading a book instead of listening to it is I find myself fading in and out of paying attention while it is playing. If I do that while I’m reading, I wind up reading the same passage over and over, but an audio book plays on if I listen or not. Consequentially, there are some fairly large holes in my understanding of the novel. But at least I have the majority of it now.

The mother in East of Eden reminded me very much of the true-to-life villain Kate Bender, of the Bloody Benders fame. A killer for fun and profit. In Kate Bender’s case, no one knows what happened to her in the end. The Bender’s just up and disappeared when they thought the law was closing in on them.

I enjoyed East of Eden, but I think I liked The Grapes of Wrath quite a bit more. The first Steinbeck book I ever read wasn’t a novel at all, but the travelogue Travels with Charley in which he documents a road trip across America. It’s been so long ago, I don’t remember much about it, so I might read it again at some point.

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