What is the best book you have ever read?
Think about that for a second…that’s a tough one.
After much thought and contemplation, I have come up with an answer and, more importantly, the reasoning behind it.
The best book I have ever read is Of Mice and Men by John Steinbeck.
Why is it my favorite? Because I care about the characters in this story more than any other story I have ever read. Whenever I see the cover, hear the name, see the DVD at the video store (it’s also a fantastic movie) or talk to somebody about it, all I can think about is Lennie and those damn rabbits and George and that little shack on a few acres and…my heart wells up.
John Steinbeck drew me in and made me love those characters so much because they were imperfect, they were flawed, and in a way, they were me. They had the same desires and dreams, the same fears and apprehensions, and, at the end of the day, I wanted them to succeed because, in a way, if they did then I would.
The plot develops simply. The characters – all of them – are real and add to the story There are moments of laughter, of sadness, of hope and ultimately despair. And you want to talk about the “human condition” (as so many oft like to do) – the climax to Of Mice and Men has the most honest lecture I’ve ever read on the human condition. In some ways you see it coming and in some ways you don’t, but in the end it’s not played out as a gimmick, there is no shock value, it is pure utter sadness and pain because what happened HAD to happen…it was the only way.
John Steinbeck, in this very, very tiny novel, proved what every writer is taught in Writing 101 – make it short, sweet and to the point. I’m so grateful he did.
I know how it ends and yet it doesn’t change the fact that I still root for Lennie to get those damn rabbits and George to settle down in that little shack.
What a story!
What’s your favorite book of all time? I would love to hear about it.