Seeds: one man's serendipitous journey to find the trees that inspired famous American writers from Faulkner to Kerouac, Welty to Wharton.

Seeds: one man's serendipitous journey to find the trees that inspired famous American writers from Faulkner to Kerouac, Welty to Wharton. Richard Horan.

New York: Harper Collins Publishers, 2011. Octavo, black and white illustrations, paperback.

The chronicle of novelist Richard Horan's quest to gather seeds from trees at the homes of America's most beloved authors. A heartfelt paean to the writers of America's past, this book is equally a wise, funny, and enthralling memoir of one man's reconnection with nature. Horan crisscrosses the country while also traversing the wide gamut of American literature, from the wooded road of yellow hemlocks leading to L. Frank Baum's childhood home in upstate New York; to the silver maples ringing Jack Kerouac's one-time house in Lowell, MA (the same majestic giants, Horan reflects, that Kerouac was likely thinking of when he wrote that felt most at peace when in the presence of trees); to the invasive tree that grew in Betty Smith's Brooklyn. Horan is a passionate, insightful, and eminently likeable narrator, and his search to connect trees and writers-and his failure, at times, to do so-as well as the generally fun tone of his adventures (he nearly gets arrested more than once) is both fascinating and endearing. Horan's destinations include the homes of: Jack Kerouac, Rachel Carson, Willa Cather, Edith Wharton, Henry Miller, Krishnamurti, Ken Kesey, John Muir, Thomas Wolfe, Flannery O'Connor, Carson McCullers, F. Scott and Zelda Fitzgerald, Harper Lee, Truman Capote, Thoreau and Emerson, Robert Frost, Herman Melville, Pearl S. Buck, Shirley Jackson, L. Frank Baum, Esther Forbes, Helen Keller, Tennessee Williams, Sherwood Anderson, Louis Armstrong, William S. Burroughs, Eudora Welty, Willie Morris, and William Faulkner, as well as historically significant locations such as Mount Vernon, Monticello, and Gettysburg.

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