John Steinbeck, born February 27, 1902

It’s the birthday of my No. 1 writing hero John Steinbeck, who’ll be forever known as the author of one of America’s all-time greatest novels, THE GRAPES OF WRATH. (My personal favorite of his, however, is CANNERY ROW.) 
 
Thanks to a couple of good friends, my collection of Steinbeck memorabilia has recently been expanded. For Christmas, Paul McSpadden gave me a copy of the April 2, 1940 PIC magazine, which contains two letters from Los Angeles residents about the GRAPES OF WRATH movie — one bemoaning the lives of the transient people that the Joads represent, and another — from a transplanted Okie — excoriating Steinbeck, the film, Californians, and others that “so insult their [Oklahomans’] intelligence, breeding, and upbringing.” 
 
And then my great book-dealer pal John McMahan came through with PIPE DREAM, a volume containing the text and lyrics of the Rodgers and Hammerstein musical that took as its source SWEET THURSDAY, Steinbeck’s sequel to CANNERY ROW. It was one of the least successful of all the Rodgers/Hammerstein productions, but it’s still plenty of fun to read.