Literary Love: Steinbeck Festival

Take a tour of "Steinbeck Country" when Salinas honors its belovedly bookly son.

PICTURING THE PAGES: Enjoying a novel is frequently said to be an immersive experience. That can be interpreted in multiple colorful ways, but, simply put, it means we forget that we're reading for a moment. We're in the world of the story, we're playing a character, we're seeing just what they see, even if it existed a thousand years ago. All writers set the scene, whether simply or spectacularly, but few can match the painterly abilities of writer John Steinbeck. His West, his Dust Bowl, his California, his places of adventure are pop-off-the-page-able, so much so that we can forget we haven't physically been to some of the locations he has described. But there is a way to see some of them, in person, so lovers of travel, setting, and Steinbeck, get happy: The National Steinbeck Center will soon celebrate its namesake's life and career with a weekend-long festival that includes outings.

THESE OUTINGS... will head into "Steinbeck Country," the area in and around Salinas. You've read about it, you can almost picture it, and you'll see it, firsthand. An Agricultural Tour heads out into the fields that Mr. Steinbeck knew as a boy, fields and farms that would later inform his writing. Another tour will head to the "Bohemian haunt" Ed Ricketts' Lab, and provide some Cannery Row color. How excellent would it be if every literary festival or author-focused tribute could have a get-out-and-know-it element? A travel dimension? Luckily for Golden-Staters, the Steinbeck bash definitely does.

AND THAT BASH... happens from May 2 through 4. There are a bevy of doings, both indoors and out, so bone up on what you need to do, Steinbeckians. We didn't necessarily type "bone up" in fond memory of Charley, Steinbeck's beloved Standard Poodle, but now we wish we had. So it stays.

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