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  • Tyler Hauth

Seven days of books that influenced me: Day One


If Where The Red Fern Grows isn't a classic piece of American Literature, then I don't know how to read. I was only 10 or 11 years old when I first read this book. It's a brilliant story, both far too complex for a 5th grader and infinitely palatable at the same time. Read it at 10, 15, and 20, and you'll come away with three drastically different morals. What I remember most are the themes of perseverance, love, and loyalty. They're themes that still impact me deeply today and invade everything I write. I've been chasing that classic boy and his dog story for more than a decade. Perhaps, Wilson Rawls did it best, here. There are very few scenes I remember more vividly than the great blizzard that traps Billy just in the moment Old Dan and Little Ann tree a trio of raccoons during the coon hunt championship. He wakes the next morning only to find what he believes are two ghost dogs circling the tree. In reality, it's Old Dan and Little Ann themselves, covered in snow. They marched all through the night, refusing to quit, knowing when the snow abated that Billy would come and finish the job. He did, and they won the prize, $300 - a considerable amount when you consider Billy worked for 2 years just to raise the $50 it took to buy them as puppies. I could say a lot about this novel. But the point of this seven days of books you love isn't to prattle on. It's just to share things you like and help engender a love of literature in the community at large. So I'll can it - and be back with another book, tomorrow.

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