Elisa Allen is tending her chrysanthemums. Strong, with a handsome face she skilfully and proudly cultivates the best in the valley. Tonight, her husband is taking her to town. While she works, a squeak of heels and a plod of hoofs bring a curious vehicle, curiously drawn: a tradesman looking for directions and a job. He is met with curt replies and a hardened resistance. Then he notices her chrysanthemums.
With his characteristic insight and evocative language, John Steinbeck creates a short story of a brief but striking encounter. Set in Salinas Valley, where he grew up, it dissects the myriad complexities of humanity, society and hidden longings.
They broke boundaries and challenged conceptions. We asked you for your must-read classics; from timeless non-fiction to iconic bestsellers, these are your essential recommends. Books ranked in no particular order. Jump to: 25 | 50 | 75 | 100