This year marks the 75th anniversary of the publication of John Steinbeck’s tale of the Dust Bowl emigration to California – the Grapes of Wrath. Late last year, Cal State Bakersfield launched a year-long celebration of the book and its author, which includes an event taking place Wednesday night at CSUB titled “If Steinbeck was a Farmer.”

This week on Valley Edition our reporting team discusses how Valley air quality may affect our genes, a library vending machine that dispenses books, hockey in the region and much more.

Starting off the program, Valley Public Radio Reporter Rebecca Plevin reports on the issue of pollution and how it relates to our health. She explores the question of whether pollution is affecting Valley residents at cellular level.

Road Trip To Collect Dust Bowl Stories on 75th Anniversary of 'Grapes of Wrath'

Oct 2, 2013
Dorothea Lange / National Archives and Records Administration, Records of the Bureau of Agricultural Economics

A group of artists is gearing up for a cross-country road trip that will end in California. It's part of a project to mark the 75th anniversary of John Steinbeck's novel "The Grapes of Wrath." Steve Milne reports.

The trip starts Friday in Oklahoma, retracing the path the Joad family took along Route 66 in "The Grapes of Wrath" with stops in New Mexico, Arizona and Texas.

Sept. 29 marks the beginning of the American Library Association's annual "Banned Books Week," a commemoration of all the books that have ever been removed from library shelves and classrooms. Politics, religion, sex, witchcraft — people give a lot of reasons for wanting to ban books, says Judith Krug of the ALA, but most often the bannings are about fear.

"They're not afraid of the book; they're afraid of the ideas," says Krug. "The materials that are challenged and banned say something about the human condition."