The following letter was sent to the editor Pascal Covici by John Steinbeck, along with a box containing the manuscript of East of Eden:
You came upon me carving some kind of little figure out of wood and you said, “Why don’t you make something for me?”
I asked you what you wanted, and you said, “A box.”
“To put things in.”
“Whatever you have,” you said.
Well, here’s your box. Nearly everything I have is in it, and it is not full. Pain and excitement are in it, and feeling good or bad and evil thoughts and good thoughts–the pleasure of design and some despair and the indescribable joy of creation.
And on top of these are all the gratitude and love I have for you.
And still the box is not full.
East of Eden is the best book I can think to recommend for summer reading (not that anybody’s asking), especially if you’re in California, or longing for it.