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Best Books Ever #1

Updated: Dec 27, 2020

There's nothing better than falling in love with a book. How many times a year do we ache to get back into a story we've left off the night before--three or four times a year if we're lucky? The mystery of story--of art in general--is that it effects each of us differently. A Pulitzer-winning work might make you wonder how anyone can connect with those characters. A novel no one ever heard of might bring you to tears. Our art, above everything, defines us and helps make connection with others. If we find someone who reads the same kinds of books as us, what a gift. To me, this is the best source of book-finding. The personal recommendation.

I'm hoping I can help someone find their next great love (in book form). Over the next few weeks, I'll talk about some of my all-time favorites, beginning with Brian Doyle's The Plover.

I don't sail. In fact, the notion of sailing over an ocean quite frightens me. I would have guessed that a story about a solo ocean journey wouldn't really be of interest, but I had read Doyle's earlier work, Mink River, upon suggestion from a friend. I knew Doyle to be a writer with a particular poetic gift. His attention to syllables, rhythm and cadence rivals any poet's. For me, as it turned out, the subject matter was of little importance. As in most gripping novels, the sentiment is the important part--the questions raised, the examination of what it means to be an individual. How to be alone with ourselves in this world. The ocean, on a boat, is of course, the perfect setting for asking--and occasionally answering--these kinds of questions.

Sadly, Brian Doyle died in 2017 after completing only a handful of works. A huge loss for the world of literature.

Here's a concise, beautiful review of The Plover. I agree wholeheartedly.

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