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Google Doodle honors author John Steinbeck

The author of such classics as "Of Mice and Men" and "The Grapes of Wrath" would have been 112 on Thursday.

Screenshot by Lance Whitney/CNET

When I was a young reader, one of my favorite books was "Travels with Charley," a tale of one man's trip across America with his faithful poodle. As I grew older, I fell in love with other books authored by Charley's traveling companion. That's why it's only fitting to me that John Steinbeck's work be celebrated through the latest Google Doodle.

Born in Salinas, Calif., on February 27, 1902, Steinbeck worked at a series of odd jobs before embarking on his writing career. Though his first novel was published in 1929, Steinbeck gained fame during the 1930s for such classics as "Tortilla Flat," "Of Mice and Men," and "The Grapes of Wrath." Known as a writer with a social conscious, he used his craft to convey the plight of migrant workers and poor laborers struggling to survive.

Several of his novels caught the eye of Hollywood where they became well-known and respected motion pictures. Performed by Henry Fonda in "The Grapes of Wrath," Tom Joad's famous "I'll be there" speech still haunts after all these years...

I'll be all around in the dark. I'll be everywhere. Wherever you can look, wherever there's a fight, so hungry people can eat, I'll be there. Wherever there's a cop beating up a guy, I'll be there. I'll be in the way guys yell when they're mad. I'll be in the way kids laugh when they're hungry and they know supper's ready, and when the people are eating the stuff they raise and living in the houses they build, I'll be there, too.

In later years, Steinbeck wrote such novels as "East of Eden," "The Winter of Our Discontent," and "Travels with Charley." Awarded the 1962 Nobel prize in literature, Steinbeck died in 1968.

Google's Doodle provides a quick visual taste of several of Steinbeck's greatest works, offering evocative images and memorable quotes.