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My Favorite Fiction

It’s Favorite Book Month! (I’ve declared it so.)

For the month of March, I thought I’d let you in on some of my favorite books. This first installment will be favorite fiction since my own book is just that…

(although there’s definitely non-fiction info. in there about how trees communicate with one another. That stuff feels like science fiction, but is actually true, which makes it that much cooler).

So, without further ado, here’s a list of some of my favorite novels of all time. (Thinking through decades of reading material is a daunting task, and I can’t commit to a Top 10 in good conscience. But these are some favorites, and there happen to be 10, in no particular order. )

Mink River by Brian Doyle

Martin Marten also by Brian Doyle

Watership Down by Richard Adams

Lord of the Rings–all by J.R.R. Tolkien

Dandelion Wine by Ray Bradbury

Big Two Hearted River by Ernest Hemingway

Grapes of Wrath by John Steinbeck

The Overstory by Richard Powers

My Antonia by Willa Cather

Duncton Wood and sequels by William Horwood

A Couple Highlights

And just to highlight a couple of these beauties, the novels by Brian Doyle are among my very favorite.

The locations of the stories are on either side of Portland, Oregon where Mr. Doyle lived–Mink River in a mythical town on the coast and Martin Marten on the slopes of Mt. Hood.

My Special Connection

Oregon is a special place for me. My father’s parents retired to a small town south of Portland, and, growing up, I went with my family to reunions there. While my father fished with his siblings in the ocean for salmon, my cousins and I played on the beach or picked berries (eating all we wanted while we picked–so I wasn’t that interested in the pies the adults made afterward). And my son and his family have lived in Portland now for a number of years.

My wife and I have shared houses on the Oregon coast with my children and their families, built sandcastles with my 6 grandkids on the beach, hiked Mt. Neahkahnie and other trails in the rain forest on the coast, oohed and ahhed at the waterfalls in the Columbia River Gorge, we’ve driven the “Fruit Loop” between Hood River and Mt. Hood to imbibe at orchards and wineries, visited Timberline Lodge on Mt. Hood, and, of course, I’ve drawn trees in the forests.

Brian Doyle’s magical, lyrical novels take place in this special place.

So, About These Books…

Mr. Doyle was recommended to me by the wonderful people at Broadway Books, a neighborhood bookstore in Portland, and I am grateful. Thinking of these books brings a smile to my face, remembering how much I enjoyed them. They are that wonderful.

Mink River is about a community of Irish immigrants and Native Americans–unusual characters, families, couples, and animals–living, loving, hurting and caring for one another, and it’s woven together with touches of magic. Here’s a review by Joseph Bednarik from Oregonlive of the Oregonian about Mink River:

Martin Marten is the story of a boy and a pine marten growing up in the great forest of Mt. Hood. Here’s a review by Jim Stewart from the Portland Book Review:

These are books I will re-read, and need to, soon.

That’s it for this list. Stay tuned for my next post about some other favorite books, this time about trees. And let us know your own favorite books in the comments below. Fiction or otherwise. Looking forward to some good recommendations!

To see more about what I thought of Richard Powers’ book, The Overstory, click here.

To read a post about the animated feature based on Watership Down, click here.

To get the first two chapters of my novel free, click here and scroll to the very top of the page.

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