Complete List of Books by Author John Steinbeck

John Steinbeck is one of the most renowned American authors of the 20th century. With his distinct writing style and compelling storytelling, he has left an indelible mark on the world of literature. Steinbeck’s works …

Complete List of Books by Author John Steinbeck

John Steinbeck is one of the most renowned American authors of the 20th century. With his distinct writing style and compelling storytelling, he has left an indelible mark on the world of literature. Steinbeck’s works often explore themes of social injustice, the struggles of the working class, and the human condition.

Some of Steinbeck’s most famous novels include The Grapes of Wrath, which won the Pulitzer Prize in 1940, Of Mice and Men, East of Eden, and Cannery Row. These works have become classics of American literature and are studied in schools and universities around the world.

In addition to his novels, Steinbeck also wrote several collections of short stories, such as The Long Valley and The Pastures of Heaven. These stories showcase Steinbeck’s ability to create compelling narratives in a shorter format, while still exploring his recurring themes.

Steinbeck’s non-fiction works, including Travels with Charley and The Log from the Sea of Cortez, offer readers a glimpse into the author’s own experiences and observations. These books provide valuable insights into Steinbeck’s views on society and the natural world.

Overall, John Steinbeck’s extensive body of work continues to captivate readers and inspire new generations of writers. His ability to delve into the human psyche and illuminate the struggles of ordinary people has solidified his place as one of the greatest American authors of all time.

East of Eden

“East of Eden” is a novel written by John Steinbeck and published in 1952. It is considered one of Steinbeck’s greatest works and is often regarded as his magnum opus. The novel is set in the Salinas Valley in California and spans several generations of two families, the Hamiltons and the Trasks.

The story explores themes of good and evil, love and betrayal, and the nature of human choice and free will. The central characters in the novel are the Trask brothers, Adam and Charles, and their intertwined relationships with their father, Cyrus, and their love interests, Cathy and Abra.

Plot Summary

The novel follows the lives of the Trask brothers, Adam and Charles, from their childhood in Connecticut to their adulthood in California. The brothers have a strained relationship, with Charles often feeling overshadowed by Adam’s charm and good looks.

As adults, the brothers move to the Salinas Valley, where they become involved in the farming industry. Adam falls in love with a woman named Cathy, who later reveals herself to be a manipulative and evil person. She leaves Adam and their twin sons, Cal and Aron, and becomes a prostitute.

Meanwhile, Cal and Aron grow up with their father and are raised with different values. Cal is rebellious and struggles with his own sense of good and evil, while Aron is more idealistic and naive.

The novel explores the complex relationships between the characters and their inner struggles with their own morality. It delves into the themes of forgiveness, redemption, and the power of choice.


“East of Eden” has become a classic in American literature and has been praised for its deep characterization, intricate plot, and exploration of moral themes. It has been adapted into a film and a television mini-series, further cementing its place in popular culture.

The novel continues to be studied and analyzed in academic settings, and its themes and messages resonate with readers of all generations. “East of Eden” remains a timeless and powerful exploration of the human condition and the choices we make in life.

The Grapes of Wrath

“The Grapes of Wrath” is a novel written by John Steinbeck and published in 1939. It tells the story of the Joad family, who are forced to leave their farm during the Great Depression and Dust Bowl in Oklahoma. They journey to California in search of work and a better life.

Plot Summary

The novel begins with Tom Joad, the protagonist, returning to his family’s farm after being released from prison. He finds that the farm has been repossessed by the bank and his family is preparing to leave. The Joads, along with thousands of other families, pack their belongings and set out on Route 66 towards California.

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Throughout their journey, the Joads face numerous hardships and obstacles. They encounter prejudice, exploitation, and poverty. They struggle to find work and are often taken advantage of by landowners and businessmen. Despite these challenges, the Joads remain resilient and determined to survive.

When they finally reach California, they discover that the promised land of opportunity is not what they expected. Jobs are scarce, wages are low, and living conditions are deplorable. The Joads are forced to live in migrant camps, where they face overcrowding, unsanitary conditions, and little hope for a better future.

As the novel progresses, the Joad family begins to fall apart. Tom’s grandfather dies, his sister Rose of Sharon gives birth to a stillborn baby, and his mother becomes sick. However, the Joads find strength in their unity and the support of other migrant workers.

In the end, the Joads are forced to leave the migrant camp and find shelter elsewhere. Tom, who has become politically aware and determined to fight for workers’ rights, decides to leave his family and join a labor strike. The novel concludes with Tom’s realization that the struggle for justice and equality is ongoing.


“The Grapes of Wrath” explores several themes, including the plight of the working class, the importance of community and solidarity, and the destructive power of capitalism. Steinbeck’s novel portrays the harsh reality of life during the Great Depression and raises questions about the American Dream and the pursuit of happiness.

  • The working class: The novel highlights the exploitation and mistreatment of migrant workers during the Great Depression. It exposes the harsh working conditions, low wages, and lack of job security.
  • Community and solidarity: Despite the hardships they face, the Joad family finds strength in their unity and the support of other migrant workers. The novel emphasizes the importance of community and the power of collective action.
  • The destructive power of capitalism: “The Grapes of Wrath” criticizes the capitalist system that prioritizes profit over the well-being of workers. It exposes the greed and corruption of businessmen and landowners.
  • The American Dream: The novel raises questions about the American Dream and the pursuit of happiness. It challenges the idea that hard work and determination will lead to success and prosperity.

“The Grapes of Wrath” is considered one of John Steinbeck’s most important works and has had a significant impact on American literature. It won the Pulitzer Prize for Fiction in 1940 and was adapted into a successful film in 1940, directed by John Ford.

Of Mice and Men

“Of Mice and Men” is a novella written by John Steinbeck and published in 1937. It tells the story of two displaced ranch workers, George Milton and Lennie Small, who move from place to place in California during the Great Depression. The book explores themes of friendship, dreams, loneliness, and the harsh realities of life.

The novella begins with George and Lennie finding work at a ranch in Soledad. Lennie, who is mentally disabled but physically strong, often gets into trouble because he doesn’t understand his own strength. George acts as a caretaker and protector for Lennie, and they share a dream of owning their own piece of land, where they can live off the fat of the land and be their own bosses.

The other characters on the ranch include Candy, an old ranch hand with a missing hand who dreams of joining George and Lennie on their farm, and Curley, the boss’s son who is always looking for a fight. Curley’s wife, who remains nameless throughout the novella, is also a significant character, as she represents the loneliness and unfulfilled dreams of many of the characters.

“Of Mice and Men” explores the themes of the American Dream and the impossibility of achieving it for many during the Great Depression. Steinbeck’s writing style is known for its simplicity and realism, and the novella has been praised for its powerful portrayal of the human condition.

Publication Year Genre
1937 Novella

“Of Mice and Men” has become a classic of American literature and is often taught in schools. It has been adapted into plays, films, and even an opera. The book’s title is taken from a line in Robert Burns’ poem “To a Mouse”: “The best-laid schemes o’ mice an’ men / Gang aft agley.”

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Cannery Row

The novel explores the lives of the colorful inhabitants of Cannery Row, including Mack and his group of homeless friends who live in an abandoned warehouse. The story revolves around their attempts to throw a party for their friend Doc, a marine biologist who runs a laboratory in the area.

Steinbeck’s vivid descriptions bring the setting to life, capturing the sights, sounds, and smells of Cannery Row. The novel portrays the struggles and dreams of its characters, highlighting their resilience and sense of community in the face of adversity.

Cannery Row is celebrated for its rich characterization and poignant storytelling. It is considered one of Steinbeck’s most beloved works, showcasing his ability to depict the human condition with compassion and insight.

The Pearl

“The Pearl” is a novella written by John Steinbeck and published in 1947. It tells the story of Kino, a poor Mexican pearl diver, and his wife Juana, who find a valuable pearl. The discovery of the pearl brings both hope and tragedy to their lives.

Plot Summary

The story is set in a small fishing village in Baja California, Mexico. Kino and Juana live a simple life, but they dream of a better future for their young son, Coyotito. One day, while diving for pearls, Kino finds a massive pearl, which he believes will bring wealth and prosperity to his family.

News of the pearl spreads quickly, and Kino’s life is soon filled with greed, envy, and violence. He becomes the target of thieves and corrupt individuals who want to take the pearl from him. In an attempt to protect his family and their newfound wealth, Kino becomes obsessed with the pearl and its potential.

As Kino’s obsession grows, so does the danger surrounding his family. Juana, who is deeply connected to the spiritual world, believes that the pearl is cursed and brings only misfortune. She begs Kino to get rid of it, but he refuses, blinded by his desire for wealth and power.


“The Pearl” explores various themes, including the corrupting influence of wealth, the destructive power of greed, and the importance of family and community. Steinbeck uses the pearl as a symbol of materialism and the dangers it can bring.

The novella also delves into the disparity between the rich and the poor, highlighting the struggles faced by those living in poverty. Through Kino and Juana’s experiences, Steinbeck raises questions about the true value of wealth and the sacrifices one is willing to make to attain it.

Overall, “The Pearl” is a thought-provoking and emotionally charged story that explores the complexities of human nature and the consequences of our actions.

Travels with Charley: In Search of America

“Travels with Charley: In Search of America” is a travelogue written by American author John Steinbeck. Published in 1962, the book chronicles Steinbeck’s road trip across the United States in 1960 with his standard poodle, Charley. The purpose of the journey was for Steinbeck to reconnect with the American people and gain a deeper understanding of the country he called home.

During his travels, Steinbeck explores various regions of the United States, from New England to the Deep South, from the Midwest to the Pacific Northwest. He encounters people from all walks of life, engaging in conversations about their hopes, dreams, and concerns. Through his observations and interactions, Steinbeck paints a vivid picture of America in the early 1960s, capturing the spirit of the nation during a time of great social and political change.

Throughout the book, Steinbeck reflects on his own experiences and emotions, sharing his thoughts on the nature of America and the American people. He muses on topics such as the decline of small-town America, the impact of technology on society, and the changing landscape of the country. Through his introspective writing, Steinbeck invites readers to join him on his journey of self-discovery and exploration.

“Travels with Charley: In Search of America” is a captivating and introspective work that offers a unique perspective on the American experience. Steinbeck’s eloquent prose and keen observations make this travelogue a timeless piece of literature that continues to resonate with readers today.

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Tortilla Flat

Tortilla Flat is a novel written by John Steinbeck and published in 1935. It tells the story of Danny, a paisano living in Monterey, California, after World War I. The novel explores themes of friendship, loyalty, and the power of community.

Main Characters

Danny: The main protagonist of the novel, Danny is a carefree and charismatic individual who is always looking for a good time.

Pilon, Pablo, and Jesus Maria: Danny’s closest friends and fellow paisanos, they are often seen together, getting into various misadventures.


Friendship: The novel explores the deep bonds of friendship that exist among the paisanos. Despite their flaws and the troubles they face, their friendship remains strong.

Loyalty: Loyalty is a recurring theme in the novel, as the paisanos stand up for each other and support one another through thick and thin.

Power of Community: Tortilla Flat emphasizes the importance of community and the sense of belonging that comes with it. The paisanos find solace and support in their tight-knit group.

Tortilla Flat is a humorous and heartwarming novel that showcases John Steinbeck’s ability to capture the essence of human relationships and the power of friendship.

The Winter of Our Discontent

The Winter of Our Discontent is a novel written by John Steinbeck and published in 1961. It tells the story of Ethan Allen Hawley, a former member of a wealthy family who has fallen on hard times. Ethan works as a grocery store clerk in the small town of New Baytown, Long Island, where he struggles to support his family and maintain his integrity in a world driven by greed and corruption.

The novel explores themes of morality, materialism, and the American Dream. Ethan is tempted to engage in unethical behavior in order to regain his family’s wealth and social status, but he wrestles with his conscience and ultimately faces the consequences of his actions.

Plot Summary

The story is set in the late 1950s and follows Ethan’s journey as he navigates the challenges of his life. He is constantly reminded of his family’s former glory and feels the pressure to live up to their expectations. His wife, Mary, is dissatisfied with their modest lifestyle and urges him to pursue wealth and success at any cost.

Ethan’s moral compass is tested when he is offered the opportunity to participate in a shady business deal that could potentially restore his family’s fortune. As he contemplates this decision, he reflects on the moral decay he sees in society and the loss of traditional values.


Morality: The novel explores the concept of morality and the choices individuals make when faced with difficult circumstances. Ethan struggles with his own moral compass and the temptation to compromise his values in order to achieve financial success.

Materialism: The novel critiques the pursuit of material wealth and the impact it has on individuals and society. Ethan is surrounded by characters who prioritize money and social status, leading him to question the true meaning of success.

American Dream: The novel examines the American Dream and the idea that anyone can achieve success and prosperity through hard work and determination. However, it challenges the notion that material wealth is the ultimate measure of success and raises questions about the cost of pursuing the American Dream.

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