Tuesday, November 1, 2011

Tuesday Intros: Travels with Charley

"When I was very young and the urge to be someplace else was on me, I was assured by mature people that maturity would cure this itch. When years described me as mature, the remedy prescribed was middle age. In middle age I was assured that greater age would calm my fever and now that I am fifty-eight perhaps senility will do the job. Nothing has worked. Four hoarse blasts of a ship's whistle still raise the hair on my neck and set my feet to tapping. The sound of a jet, the engine warming up, even the clopping of shod hooves on pavement brings on the ancient shudder, the dry mouth and vacant eye, the hot palms and the churn of stomach high up under the rib cage. In other words, I don't improve; in further words, once a bum always a bum. I fear the disease is incurable. I set this matter down not to instruct others but to inform myself. 
When the virus of restlessness begins to take possession of a wayward man, and the road away from Here seems broad and straight and sweet, the victim must first find in himself a good and sufficient reason for going. This to the practical bum is not difficult. He has a built-in garden of reasons to choose from. Next he must plan his trip in time and space, choose a direction and a destination. And last he must implement the journey. How to go, what to take, how long to stay. This part of the process is invariable and immortal. I set it down only so that newcomers to bumdom, like teen-agers in new-hatched sin, will not think they invented it."
Travels with Charley in Search of America
by John Steinbeck

Travels with Charley was our audiobook selection last weekend as we traveled into the path of the nor'easter. I've been a huge Steinbeck fan since high school, so my husband and Twin B decided to humor me when I suggested this title for our journey. His eyes were mostly closed (don't worry, I was driving) and Twin B was plugged into the iPod, but as I listened, I fell in love with Steinbeck all over again.

This is my first experience with Steinbeck's non-fiction and his 'voice' is simply captivating. Only one CD played before my passengers awoke or unplugged and wanted to talk. There were so many quotes I wanted to note and hear again, I plan to purchase a print copy today.

Tuesday Intros is hosted by Diane at Bibliophile by the Sea, who remains without power following the nor-easter mentioned above.


24 comments:

  1. I've read this book several times, I was so delighted with it. It would also be great to listen to the audio.

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  2. I adore Steinbeck. I haven't read or listened to this one though. My face so far is East of Eden.

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  3. Harvee - The audio is amazing, but I feel like I really NEED a hard copy. I want to go back and reread so many quotes. I love this!

    Ti - East of Eden is definitely my favorite, too. When I was in high school, I really liked The Winter of Our Discontent. Would like to reread it next year.

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  4. Oh I looooooove this book so much. You make me want to reread (and I find so little time for that). I'm glad your people woke up for it. :) Did the beer do it, or - I fear (after my last comment about beer in this book) that maybe I had it confused with another travelog... does he visit breweries?? My memory might be failing me.

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  5. Praise the Lord, do people and animals die in this one? Is there murder most foul? He has an amazing literary voice, but his plots make me want to dig myself into a hole and cry. I have been told this one is just masterful.

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  6. I really think I need to wait a few more years to try Steinbeck again. School age requirements did nothing but ruin him for me.

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  7. Pagesofjulia - He hasn't visited any breweries yet (am only on the second CD), but he very well may. Quite a few 'natives' are invited in for a drink though. BTW, I've left a few comments on your blog, but they never appear. Have had issues with Wordpress, so I may be hanging out in your spam folder :-(

    Sandy - Oh gosh, I hope not. I'm in love with his dog Charley, too... he better still be around by the end.

    Care - That's such a shame! Steinbeck is one of the few authors even high school couldn't ruin for me. Hope you do give him another chance soon.

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  8. I almost picked this one up at the library a few years back....I will have to read it next year for sure!

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  9. Staci - Steinbeck is one of my favorites and I feel like I'm getting to know him better with this nonfiction work. Hope you get a chance to read it.

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  10. A couple of years ago I read The Pearl and was not especially taken by it but then I read Of Mice and Men and loved it. Reading this passage convinces me that Steinbeck really is worthy of the praise...and that I need to get this book!

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  11. Love Steinbeck, and this terrific intro proves why he is so great! Loved it! enjoy

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  12. JoAnn, I'm going to go looking for you in my spam folder!! So sorry!!

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  13. this is the only Steinbeck I've read and I really enjoyed it. Picked it up at a used booksale and didn't realize it was non-fiction at the time. It's interesting to see how dated some of his experiences are (or period specific? not sure how to explain), but I really enjoyed it. I'm sure you'll continue to enjoy it too!

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  14. I re-read this recently after seeing several posts on different blogs that were part of the Classics Circuit tour on Steinbeck - and I fell in love with it, and with Charley.

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  15. This one has been on my wish list for years! I wouldn't call myself a Steinbeck fan, but I haven't read enough from him to know yet.

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  16. I've read this book several times and wouldn't mind doing it again. Maybe next time I'll try it on audio.

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  17. Nise' - I can certainly see why. It's a winner!

    Lisa - I really disliked The Pearl in high school and have gone back to it. Several years ago, I reread Of Mice and Men, The Red Pony, and East of Eden. I loved them even more than the first time around. It's time for me to see how time and life experience will treat The Pearl.

    Diane - I am... so glad to see you're back online :-)

    Pagesofjulia - Thanks! I see you found the comments... can't figure out what it is with me and WordPress :-(

    Trish - I really love his voice! I should be able to listen to another hour today - yay!

    Lisa May - Being a Steinbeck fan for as long as I can remember, it's surprising that it's taken this long to finally read the book!

    Stacybuckeye - This is a lot of fun. I'm enjoying Steinbeck's musings on life.

    Margot - Oh yes, go for the audio! It offers a new way to enjoy an old favorite.

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  18. I love that opening. I'm ashamed to admit I have yet to read anything by Steinbeck

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  19. I have never read this book but have heard wonderful things about it. i understand why, aside from theauthor being Steinbeck, the paragraphs you posted are wonderful. What a way with words he has.

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  20. I love Steinbeck also and if you haven't already read his Journal of a Novel, another of his non-fiction books, you should!

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  21. Never read Steinbeck...I know shocker, but I have East of Eden sitting on my bedside table just waiting for me. Almost ready for it.

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  22. It's been many years since I read this book, but I often think back on it with great affection. I should give the audio a try (and have my printed copy ready to flag favorite passages). My dream is to travel around the country with my husband and Annie-Dog.

    As far as other Steinbeck books, I've read (and loved) The Grapes of Wrath. I liked Of Mice and Men and didn't much care for The Winter of Our Discontent. I have East of Eden somewhere on a shelf...

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  23. Carolsnotebook - It's never too late to read Steinbeck! I doubt you'd regret it.

    Amy - He really does! I've read so many of Steinbeck's novels, but felt like I got to know him much better by reading this book.

    Kathleen - Have just added Journal of a Novel to my wishlist. Thanks! I'm going to look around for a biography, too.

    Jenny Girl - East of Eden is one of my all-time favorites. You're in for a treat!

    Les - I have that same dream (different husband and dog) and this book definitely added more fuel. I really want to see the Badlands, Montana, and the Pacific Northwest. East of Eden is one of my favorite books ever - hope you get to read it one of these days. I've been wanting to reread The Grapes of Wrath and The Winter of Our Discontent..loved both in high school, but am sure they would mean much more now.

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