Arbor Day Reads: Trees in Fiction

Have trees on your mind for Arbor Day? Scratch the itch by exploring fabulous fiction featuring trees. 

Any discussion about trees in literature would not be complete without mentioning Richard Powers' sweeping Pulitzer Prize-winning novel The Overstory. Featuring nine characters and spanning generations, the novel's series of interlocking stories of humans' relationships to trees, like branches overhead, create something grand.

Annie Proulx's multigenerational epic Barkskins, spanning 300 years, tells the story of a logging family whose wealth comes from the deforestation of North America. 

Cormac McCarthy's The Road is an eerie depiction of a world bereft of trees. A father and son walk through a post-apocalyptic landscape of burnt-out forests in this dystopian tale of survival. 

Trees also feature prominently in Italo Calvino's The Baron in the Trees, an enchanting tale set in the 18th century, about a boy who decides to spend the rest of his life in the trees as an act of rebellion—and the rich life he leads there. 

There's also a number of memorable anthropomorphic trees in literature, including some in well-know works of fantasy. There are the Fighting Trees in L. Frank Baum's The Wonderful Wizard of Oz, who guard the enchanted forest and appear in a frightening scene in the beloved film adaptation of Oz's book.  

Harry Potter fans will be familiar with the magical and dangerous Whomping Willow planted on the grounds of Hogwarts to protect the entrance of the Shrieking Shack, first appearing in Harry Potter and the Chamber of Secrets.

Finally, the Ents of The Lord of the Rings trilogy are tree-like beings that protect the forests of Middle-earth.

Have another favorite title featuring trees? Tell us in the comments. 

Also, check out Stephen's Arbor Day Reads: Trees in Nonfiction.

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