I've been reading a lot of John Steinbeck. Almost done with EAST OF EDEN. I gather, from a tiny bit of reading on Steinbeck, that critics were unsure about his work during his lifetime. I can't quite see why, though I'll have to read up a bit more. He seems to me to be among the best novelists I can think of: poetic, lyrical, able to create believeable, engaging characters and to tackle the biggest of themes.