East of Eden
"And now that you don't have to be perfect, you can be good"
While this isn't a crucial line for the narrative of Steinbeck's East of Eden, it does give us a taste of the kind of moral playground he is dealing with. From men back from the civil war, broken families, devoted parents and children, the novel follows generations of families in the Salinas valley. Also, it's the best book ever written (Dan wrote that). Seriously. It is about pure evil and bliss and greatness and God and pain. On Virtue in the Wasteland, we have discussed it a few times and once dedicated an entire show to it.