Monday, March 1, 2010

Oregon Books

Oregon has certainly attracted a plethora of wonderful writers.

I find myself drawn to the books about the great rivers, the salmon, and the raw nature of this incredible state.

Crashing ocean surf, the mighty Columbia River, the snow-covered Cascades in the West. Desert and scrublands, bare rock and dinosaur diggings in the East. Oregon is  a study in diversity.

Here are the books I've enjoyed so far. Please let me know your favorite Oregon books

Salmon without Rivers - The signature animal of the Pacific Northwest. This is the incredible story of an amazing fish. The life story of a salmon is enough - winding it's early life from freshwater riffles out to the sea, growing to adulthood in the depths of the Pacific, following that alluring mating call to charge up the rivers and waterfalls - a pure mass of muscle, striving to exhaustion to their birthplace where they spawn, gasp and die.
This books also tells of the battle of the salmon to survive dams and habitat destruction. Thank goodness for the land trusts of Oregon and Idaho who are protecting precious salmon habitats. Read this book to know why it is so important.

A River Lost - Another point of view, this author meets with the bargers and farmers who live off of the dammed waters of the Columbia. Author Blaine Harden depicts the human struggles that surround this powerful body of water as well as the perspectives of the fishermen and salmon lovers.

A Good Rain - Timothy Egan is becoming one of my favorite authors of the Northwest. This book, eloquently written, follows the Columbia River from Astoria to it's source high in Canada. Egan writes insightful descriptions of the colorful people, wildlife and incredible scenery.

The River Why - Jim Duncan writes with an edgy sort of  humor about growing up along the streams of Oregon. This fisherman find his passion in the rivers of Oregon and a passion for their protection.

My Story as Told by Water - Also by Jim Duncan - 22 essays about the rivers - with his sharp humor and  piercing eye, Duncan tells us why the rivers matter to us all. He starts his story in childhood using the garden hose to flood Mom's lawn. He realizes even then that water is as important to life as..."food, sleep, parents, and air,"

Across the Wide and Lonesome Prairie - OK this is a young reader's book - but I don't have time for a tome. And this delightful book gives a quick read, personal history of the trail west for families along the Oregon trail. They journey along much of the landscape we will cover on our bike ride including the dramatic pass south of Mt Hood.

Lonely Planet Washington and Oregon - My guidebook - intensely dog-eared on the pages of Portland and the Columbia River Gorge.

Rough Guides, Oregon and Washington - Another guidebook. I choose my guidebooks that are heavy on descriptions of the history and natural features of the area. Because our housing and meals will be largely determined by our bike group, I mostly want the fill-in info to enrich the countryside we will be pedaling over.

Extra points if the guidebook lists any donut shops in the towns we pass.
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