NPR Read-Along: The Grapes of Wrath for its 75th Anniversary

Too much work and too little sleep this week…I’ve missed being able to read and write!

But I have just enough brain cells to tell you about NPR’s upcoming read-along of John Steinbeck’s The Grapes of Wrath, in case you haven’t heard about it. April 14th marks the 75th anniversary of its publication and so NPR will lead three book club-type discussions between March 3 and April 14. A Steinbeck expert will join the discussions on April 14 to answer questions from readers. Here is the reading and meeting schedule from NPR’s website:

Chunk 1: Oklahoma
Chapters 1-10
Book Club Meets: March 3, 3 p.m. EST on Monkey See

Chunk 2: On The Road And The Arrival
Chapters 11-20
Book Club Meets: March 24, 3 p.m. EST on Monkey See

Chunk 3: California
Chapters 21-30
Book Club Meets: April 14, 3 p.m. EST location and special Steinbeck guest TBD.

The Grapes of Wrath follows a family of poor tenant farm workers who have been driven out of Oklahoma due to poverty (the story is set in The Great Depression) and drought. There was great controversy when the book came out because of Steinbeck’s explicit depiction of the way poor migrant farmers were treated. Nonetheless, it became the bestseller of 1939 and it won both the National Book Award and the Pulitzer Prize. In 1962, the Nobel Prize Committee cited The Grapes of Wrath as a major reason for awarding the Nobel Prize in Literature to John Steinbeck. (Source: Wikipedia)

I’ve been pretty eager to read The Grapes of Wrath ever since I finished (and loved) East of Eden last year, and I was lucky enough to have found a like-new copy of it at a local library sale last year. This seems like the perfect opportunity and reading schedule for me so I’ll definitely be following along.

Have you read The Grapes of Wrath? Do you want to join in on the NPR read-and-meet?

27 thoughts on “NPR Read-Along: The Grapes of Wrath for its 75th Anniversary

  1. This is so tempting- I loved The Grapes of Wrath! It would be great to be able to discuss it with people, or at least follow the discussions. Do you have to join somehow, or do you just show up at the appointed times?

    • I think you just show up…and even then I am not totally clear how, as Monkey See (the link they provide) seems like a blog. But I guess we show up there. It would be great if you joined along! I like that they break up the reading into chunks.

  2. I had no idea about this, but have been wanting to re-read GOW, since it’s been at least 40 years when I first read it. I loved it then and am anxious to see what I think now. If I can discover a way to fit this in, I will! Thank you for the info!

  3. Yes and yes! I read The Grapes of Wrath a long, long time ago and it would be wonderful to read it again and follow along with the discussion. Thanks for letting us know about it! It will be interesting to see also if there will be any discussions about conditions of migrant workers and farmers in the past 75 years since the book first appeared.

    • Yea! I’m so glad you’ll be joining 🙂 Yes, it would be interesting to hear about the present conditions of today’s migrant workers/farmers. I may have read somewhere that the book is just as relevant today. I’m so glad you loved it!

        • That’s great, Ngan! And if you end up writing a review of The Zookeeper’s Wife feel free to send me your link, and I can include it in my blog post and also on our Literary Wives Facebook page (if you like).

  4. I’m a bit far away to join in person (I’m in Sweden!) but have been meaning to get around to reading The Grapes of Wrath for a long time, so this anniversary might be the perfect excuse! I adore the 1940 movie, but have never gotten around to reading the book – until now!

  5. I read Grapes of Wrath in high school and I remember that I had great difficulty finishing it because the writing was very, very dry. So I suspect that a read-along would make it a good bit easier in terms of motivation. I appreciated the stark bleakness, but abhorred the ending.

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