Jan 3, 2013

Whose Names are Unknown: A Novel by Sanora Babb

 Whose Names are Unknown: A Novel by Sanora Babb is appealing to me on a few levels.  I like to read about the dust-bowl and the depression.  I just watched the PBS show about the dust-bowl and it all was so catastrophic.  It's amazing to know we pulled our own butts out of an ecological disaster we created and it gives me hope in humans and what we can do.  I'm a union supporter and a Democrat.  Also, frankly it makes me feel very fortunate to live in this time of abundance, it reminds me to live simply and count my blessings.  And perhaps the most important reason I wanted to read this was this book was it was written by Ms. Babb at the same time the Grapes of Wrath was written.  The publisher told her the reading public couldn't support two books, though Steinbeck wrote the Grapes of Wrath after reading original pieces written by Babb.

"In 1938 she returned to California to work for the Farm Security Administration. While with FSA, she kept detailed notes on the tent camps of the Dust Bowl migrants to California that were loaned to John Steinbeck by her supervisor Tom Collins. She turned the stories she collected into her novel, Whose Names Are Unknown. Bennett Cerf planned to publish the novel with Random House, but the appearance of Steinbeck's The Grapes of Wrath caused publication to be shelved in 1939.  Her novel didn't get published until 2004." - Wikipedia 

Ain't that some crap? So since I have loved the Grapes of Wrath for such a long time, I felt I owed it to Ms. Babb to read her book, and it is magnificent.  I recommend it.  It's a smooth read, I wish I had more time to pour over it and at the same time I am trying very hard to savor it so it's not finished too quickly.

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