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The Monterey Peninsula and John Steinbeck’s Myna Bird

Although I think he eventually changed his mind, in 1972 I was able to empathize with John Steinbeck’s dislike of being interviewed when a writer from National Geographic magazine came to California’s Monterey Peninsula to do a cover piece on the region. His name was Mike Edwards, and he phoned me to set up an interview. I had been a reporter for the Monterey Peninsula Herald, … [Read More...]

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Birds Do It, Bees Do It, and John Steinbeck Did It, Too

Movement was a major feature of John Steinbeck’s life and writing, and migration—human, animal, vegetable—is the focus of this year's John Steinbeck festival in … [Read More...]

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John Steinbeck Saw “Fake News” Coming When Donald Trump Was Still In Diapers

Did John Steinbeck discover “fake news” seven decades before President Donald Trump? Based on what he wrote about the mainstream media of his day in A Russian … [Read More...]

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Why John Steinbeck Matters In Donald Trump’s America

“Steinbeckian” hasn’t achieved the currency of “Orwellian” as a term of obloquy for despotic language or behavior, but a cheerfully statistical item in The Atlantic reports that sales of John Steinbeck’s novel The Winter of Our Discontent—like George Orwell’s … [Read More...]

What I Learned from The Winter of Our Discontent

I’m a small-town high school teacher and newspaper columnist, and every month I pick a new book, usually a literary novel, to read and recommend to my followers, who seem to enjoy what I have to say. Recently I chose The Winter of Our Discontent, and I confess … [Read More...]

Of Mice and Men In the News

The January 21 episode of Saturday Night Live gave a shout-out to John Steinbeck during the weekly fake-news feature “Weekend Update,” further substantiating Steinbeck’s pop-culture standing and sending Of Mice and Men students back to the book to find out … [Read More...]

No Room in Donald Trump’s Inn for Arts and Humanities

In 1965 John Steinbeck was a member of President Johnson's council on the arts when Johnson signed legislation creating the National Endowment for the Arts, the federal agency charged with “bringing the arts to all Americans” and “providing leadership in arts … [Read More...]