I am ashamed that I have waited until age 30 to read this book. The back of the book says this is John Steinbeck's masterpiece, and I would have to agree.
Here are a few passages I pulled out:
You can boast about anything if it's all you have. Maybe the less you have, the more you are required to boast. -- page 4
You are one of the rare people who can separate your observation from your preconception. You see what is, where most people see what they expect. -- page 187
In uncertainty I am certain that underneath their topmost layers of frailty men want to be good and want to be loved. Indeed, most of their vices are attempted short cuts to love. When a man comes to die, no matter what his talents and influence and genius, if he dies unloved his life must be a failure to him and his dying a cold horror. It seems to me that if you or I must choose between two courses of thought or action, we should remember our dying and try so to live that our death brings no pleasure to the world. -- page 477