Now, a Literary Moment...
John Steinbeck, author of The Grapes of Wrath, tricked his young sons into loving literature.
Writer Thom Steinbeck.
Thom Steinbeck: Actually, he once bought this low-boy cabinet. And locked all the books he wanted us to read in it. Twain, Coleridge, I mean, everybody was in there that he thought that young people should read. Then every night he'd lock this thing. And it made an incredible noise. He'd stand on the chair and he was tall and he'd put the key on top. And my father said, 'Some of the books in there have got secrets in there that I don't think that you should know.' My brother and I would sneak down these squeaky stairs. We lived on the fourth floor, his bedroom was on the third. I'd get my brother on my shoulders, he'd get the key and I'd come sneak down and put the pillow over the locks so we could take it out and got our flashlights going, you know. So we got very little sleep for the longest period of time. Years later, he said, 'you know, son, if you'd oiled that lock on that damned door, a lot of us would have gotten a lot more sleep.'
This Literary Moment was created by the National Endowment for the Arts
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