Today was the 100th anniversary of the birth of John Steinbeck, California's greatest novelist, and my favorite American writer after Mark Twain. Although he received the Nobel Prize for literature in 1962, his reputation with academics and critics has not been very high in recent decades. Perhaps it is because his work is easy to read, and modernists tend to think of his storytelling ability as a flaw. The reading public continues to enjoy his books, though, and they sell about two million copies a year. No writer has captured the nature of California as well as Steinbeck. He understood both the bright and dark sides of the state, and presents it with all its flaws intact. I hope that in the future, academics and critics will come to realize the real depth of his work, and they will acknowledge that his positive reputation with the general public is deserved.