I just finished Of Mice and Men. Next is The Pearl, followed by Grapes of Wrath. Then I'll try to get through East of Eden.
“Boileau said that Kings, Gods, and Heroes only were fit subjects for literature. The writer can only write about what he admires. Present day kings aren’t very inspiring, the gods are on a vacation, and about the only heroes left are the scientists and the poor. . . . And since our race admires gallantry, the writer will deal with it where he finds it. He finds it in the struggling poor now.” —Steinbeck in a 1939 radio interview