Ernie Chen's Favorite Fiction

shelved under Personal Favorites and Fiction

The books I've included are ones that I couldn't put down. For me each and every one of these titles was a total page-turner, one that kept me up well into the night with the bedside light turned on, glasses perched on the bridge of my nose and no need for a cup of coffee to keep myself awake.


East of Eden

by John Steinbeck

This is the ultimate of love stories. The Trask brothers and their love of the same woman serve as the main plot line. However, throughout the book, Steinbeck infuses his affection for his beloved Salinas Valley in Northern California. The strong characters Steinbeck creates show him at the peak of his writing career, which in time earned him the Nobel Prize for Literature.


Crossing to Safety

by Wallace Stegner

This is Stegner's ode to friendship, partnership and the states of Wisconsin and Vermont. We follow the lives of two couples from the start of their adult lives during the Depression through their golden years. In between we are treated to the story of their lives, which at all times is completely the story of America. I finished the book in love with both spouses of both couples. I bet you will as well.


The House of the Spirits

by Isabel Allende

For me, my love for this book hinges mostly on the time, place, and setting of when I read the book. I was on a 36 hour solo during my Outward Bound instructor course. Even though I wasn't supposed to bring any "entertainment", I snuck this book in my backpack and read it in the most beautiful of settings in the Colorado Rockies. The magical realism and complex story of the Trueba family during the political upheavals of South America were a delight. I savored each and every page.


The Prince of Tides

by Pat Conroy

Being a Westerner (and the northern part of the West, at that), this book gave me great insights into the psyche of those who live their lives on the opposite side of the country. Maybe it was the fact that these characters were so different from me, but I found them fascinating and impossible to tear myself away from.


A Home at the End of the World

by Michael Cunningham

Initially I read this because of my obsession with Colin Farrell, but in the end it turned out to be a book that had characters that I wanted to have as my friends. Bobby, Jonathan and Clare break with tradition and create something that works for them. Ultimately, an inspiring and bold choice.