Author of “Watership Down” dies…

One of my favorite authors died yesterday.

Richard Adams, who wrote “Watership Down,” died at the age of 96. (I like to think that watership_down_coverHazel, Fiver, Bigwig, Dandelion, and several other rabbits he created met him at the gates of heaven.)

Watership Down” is one of my all-time favorite books. Definitely in my Top 10. I’ve read this book probably six or eight times and bought at least three copies. (Just this Christmas, I bought one for my niece. Trust me, I’ve been waiting about four years and harassing my sister to no end, asking her if my niece is the appropriate age to give a copy.)

Not only did “Watership Down” inspire me to have rabbits as a kid, I also bought two rabbit bookends a few years back because of the book.

As if all that isn’t bad enough, last Christmas my sister-in-law ordered a hardback from the UK that he’d actually signed. (Now I’m more thankful than ever that she did that.)

Yeah, it’s kind of sick how obsessed I am with that book. I hate to hear he’s died… 😦 And I think it’s every author’s wish that we could write a book that makes such an impact.

watership-down-collage
A photo of my signed book, other copies, and one of the bookends that I had to buy (and now treasure a little too much).

One final thing to add, as if all the above isn’t bad enough… Danah often calls me her “bunny goat,” because I’m infatuated with rabbits and also as stubborn and hard-headed as a goat.

Honestly, the nickname is pretty accurate. I mean, I’m just crazy about rabbits. I’ll be driving and constantly scanning the yards around my home for them. And when I see them, I often pull over and just watch them. Or shoot a quick video on my phone.

It’s also true that I’m as stubborn and hard-headed as a goat. (Only a hard-headed goat would start a newspaper and think it’s a good idea to spend a quarter of their working life trying to make it pay off…)

Sorry, guys. I’ve rattled on too long, which is the classic sign of a writer who’s too close to something. But, clearly, I’m too close to this topic.

If you’ve never read the book, check it out. And if you have kids in about seventh or eighth grade, and especially if they hate reading, hand them a copy of this book. It’s probably the primary childhood book that completely hooked me on reading as much as I did.

Here’s the link again: “Watership Down.” (For those wondering about child-appropriateness, my school required us to read it in 8th grade. I’ve also seen online that some schools require it in 7th grade. So those two facts are probably pretty good guides on whether your kid is the right age or not to tackle it.)And if you’re an adult, I think the book will blow you away as well. It’s that good.)

Oh, and if you’re an adult, I think the book will blow you away as well. It’s that good.

Just be prepared to become obsessed with rabbits after reading it… 🙂

Semper Fidelis,

Stan R. Mitchell

P.S. Enjoy my writing or videos?! You can leave me a tip at this PayPal link. : )—————————

Stan R. Mitchell, author and prior Marine, is best known for his Nick Woods Marine Sniper series, which has remained in the Top 100 on Amazon for more than three years. The series has also been picked up by Audible.com for a multi-book audio deal. Additional works include a Western thriller, detective series, and World War II story.

My big news

Danah and I have decided to close down The Oak Ridge Observer, the paper that we’ve been running the past nine years.

I’m still processing how I feel about all this, but more than anything, I feel relieved. As my friends know, I’ve worked my tail off the past nine years and while I’ve had the time of my life,  it’s time for the next phase of my life.

Now, for a quick trip down memory lane. A quick photo essay, of my past nine years with The Oak Ridge Observer…

(Note: Click on the first photo of the newspaper banner and a pretty cool slideshow will begin that shows captions!)

Thanks for watching. Danah and I are looking forward to 2014, and whatever new direction our life takes!

UPDATE:

First media report: After nine-year run, Oak Ridge Observer closes.

Keep the faith,

Stan R. Mitchell

Oak Ridge, Tenn.

P.S. If you enjoy fast-paced books, you just might like my works. “Sold Out” tracks the life of a legendary Marine Sniper after a CIA unit decides to kill him for reasons of national security. “Little Man, and the Dixon County War” tells the uphill fight a young deputy faces after surviving three years of war only to find himself in the sights of a mighty cattle baron. And “Soldier On,” a short novel, follows the lives of several German soldiers in a depleted infantry company trying to make it through the final, miserable months of World War II.