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Five Classic Oregon Books to Read This Winter

Classic and timeless books about Oregon, by Oregon authors, to read this year.

Classic Oregon Books

Oregon lays claim to many world famous authors from Jean M. Auel of Clan of the Cave Bear fame to Chuck Palahniuk, author of Fight Club. I could name a host of bestselling novelists who reside in Oregon, but few books features this incredible and varied land better than the following.

The Jump-off Creek by Molly Gloss

Gloss created a masterpiece in this gritty, slim and sparse novel of the trials and hardships of early pioneers. In The Jump-off Creek, Lydia Sanderson leave her home in Pennsylvania to homestead in the rugged eastern Oregon of the 1890s. With little food in the bitter winters and brackish water in the boiling summers, Lydia stubbornly claws a life for herself in a raw and unforgiving land.

Martin Marten: A Novel by Brian Doyle

One of my all time favorites and a great feel-good/comfort read. Martin Marten is about the intertwining lives of the humans and animals that call Wy’east (Mount Hood) their home.

The Sky Fisherman by Craig Lesley

Central Oregon doesn’t get as much play in novels about our state as does our iconically rainy side. But Lesley’s coming of age story, The Sky Fisherman, feels firmly rooted in our part of the country, complete with beautiful descriptions of fly-fishing and the ravaging wildfires that we are all too familiar with.

Trask by Don Berry

Based on the real-life mountain man Elbridge Trask who settled in the Tillamook area in the 1840s and his relationships with many tribal people in the area. Trask is a wonderful example of historical fiction at it’s finest.

Sometimes a Great Notion by Ken Kesey

Sometimes a Great Notion makes my list of just all around “Great American Novels” along with Grapes of Wrath and To Kill a Mockingbird. Faulknerian in language and Shakespearean in it’s execution, this epic story of the Stamper family and a logging strike in a coastal town is truly a must-read for Oregonians. It’s not easy, but it’s worth it.

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