Thursday, February 19, 2009

List of the Day: 20 Greatest Oregon Books



Living in Oregon, it seems like a worthwhile goal to read books by Oregonians or about life in Oregon. According to Portland Monthly magazine, these are the "20 Greatest Oregon Books Ever."

Those I have red are in red; those on my TBR shelf are in blue.

Here is the list, from the October 2006 issue of Portland Monthly, compiled by Brian Doyle, editor of the University of Portland’s PortlandMagazine:

1. Sometimes a Great Notion by Ken Kesey

2. The Lathe of Heaven by Ursula K. Le Guin

3. Winter Count by Barry Lopez

4. The River Why by David Duncan

5. Wildmen, Wobblies & Whistle Punks: Stewart Holbrook’s Lowbrow Northwest by Stewart Hall Holbrook

6. The Country Boy by Homer Davenport

7. Ricochet River by Robin Cody

8. Stepping Westward: The Long Search for Home in the Pacific Northwest by Sallie Tisdale

9. Hole in the Sky by William Kittredge

10. True Believer by Virginia Euwer Wolff

11. The Nez Perce Indians and the Opening of the Northwest by Alvin M. Josephy

12. The Journals of Lewis and Clark by Meriwether Lewis

13. Oregon Geographic Names by Lewis A. McArthur 

14. Ramona the Pest by Beverly Cleary

15. Fire at Eden’s Gate: Tom McCall & the Oregon Story by Brent Walth

16. The Jump-Off Creek by Molly Gloss

17. Every War Has Two Losers by William Stafford

18. Nehalem Tillamook Tales

19. To Build a Ship by Don Berry

20. In Search of Ancient Oregon: A Geological and Natural History by Ellen Morris Bishop

I think there are a couple of others that could be included in a list of great Oregon-themed books, such as the new anthology of Oregon writings, Citadel of the Spirit; another anthology called Varieties of Hope, as well as the other books in the Oregon Literature Series published by the Oregon State University Press; and Robert Miller's Native America "Discovered" and Conquered, in which he examines how the doctrine of Manifest Destiny led to the creation of Oregon at the expense of Native Americans' property rights.

I welcome other suggestions.

UPDATE: Hat tip to Gabe at Reading Local for providing the link to the Oregon State Library's list of 150 Oregon books.  The library compiled this list to commemorate Oregon’s sesquicentennial, which Oregonians celebrated on February 14, 2009: "The list consists of 150 books for children, teens and adults that describe the Oregon experience, including fiction, non-fiction, history, and poetry."

OTHERS READING THE BOOKS ON THIS LIST (If you would like to be listed here, please leave a comment with links to your progress reports or reviews ans I will add them here.)


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9 comments:

Nicole said...

Wow. I thought I hadn't read any book that are Oregon related and then I spotted good ole Ramona. :-)

Michelle said...

What an interesting list! I've been wanting to read Sometimes a Great Notion for awhile now. And Ramona! Oh that brings back childhood memories..

troutbirder said...

The Journalsare among my all time favorites.

BookPsmith said...

Thank you for this list. I joined a new challenge to read four books with north, west, south and east in the titles...I am going to check out the Tisdale book for my 'west' book. I love that Ramona made the list...we recently visited Grant Park to see the sculpture garden...good times. A Girl from Yamhill would have been a great pick too.

Rose City Reader said...

I am pretty appalled that I have read so few of the books on this list. Although, I can't say as I am going to rush out for a copy of Geographic Place Names -- there must be something "undercover good" about that one.

But I can't believe I haven't read the L&C Journals. One of these days . . .

Ramona! I live on Klickitat Street where she lived.

Rose City Reader said...

I just finished Sometimes a Great Notion for Book Club and was blown away by it. It is a terrific book and definitely captures an authentic spirit of Oregon.

Gabe Barber said...

This is a great list and coincides with the list just put out by the state library of the 150 greatest Oregon Books of all time, in order to celebrate our sesquicentennial anniversary.
http://www.oregon.gov/OSL/OR150.shtml

Rose City Reader said...

Gabe -- Thanks for the library list! I am going to edit the post to add a link. That's too good to pass up!

Rose City Reader said...

I really thought The River Why by David James Duncan was on this list. I started it yesterday and it is plenty entertaining. Maybe more about fishing than Oregon, but it is set in Oregon.

It's on some list, as I recall. Now I'll have to go find that list.

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