You may have heard that Oregonians love books. We love to read them, write them and host book clubs about them. In fact, did you know that we have a City of Books with a fully-fledged Mayor? Ummm ok…well maybe we’re stretching it a wee bit…but you get the picture. Oregonians love books!

Being the book lovers that we are, we’ve compiled a list of some fabulous books written where Oregon figures as a main character. Because we love characters, I mean, dreamers.

I dig stories about people who leave their creature-comforts behind and set out on epic road trips or crazy journeys to experience a new part of their world. William L. Sullivan, a fifth-generation Oregonian, has hiked pretty much every trail in Oregon. His entertaining book, Listening for Coyote: A Walk Across Oregon’s Wilderness recounts his earnest and sometimes amusing search for true wilderness.


His 1,361-mile solo backpacking trek across Oregon from the westernmost beach at Cape Blanco to the easternmost depths of Hells Canyon took him two months back in 1985. He blends interesting facts with personal observations about the quirky folks he met and pristine places he saw. It made me want to put on my hiking shoes and hit the trail.

Listening for Coyote: A Walk Across Oregon’s Wilderness may be purchased here .

Here are some favorite books from some of our friends around Oregon:

“For me, Ken Kesey’s Sometimes A Great Notion captures the essence of the character and lifestyle of Western Oregon’s loggers in the mid-twentieth century. I grew up in a small farming/logging town at the base of the Coast Range, and when I first read this book I felt an instant sense of authenticity of people and place that I still feel at the mere mention of the book’s title.” - Merrialyce Blanchard, Librarian, Oregon State Library (Salem)

Sometimes A Great Notion may be purchased at Powells.com.

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“One of my very favorite Oregon novels is Bernard Malamud’s A New Life, set in Corvallis, where Malamud taught at OSU for about a decade. Especially if you’ve moved to Oregon from a far-away part of the U.S. (as I did), you will enjoy this bittersweet portrait of a New Yorker trying to come to terms with his new home.” - Jim Scheppke, State Librarian, Oregon State Library (Salem)

A New Life may be purchased at Powells.

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“I highly recommend Sheila Evans’ collection of interconnected short stories, Northport, Stories of the Coast. It is set in the fictional town of Northport, which is where the author lives.” - Sheryl Eldridge, Librarian, Newport Public Library (Newport)

Northport, Stories of the Coast may be purchased at Powells.

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“Robin Cody’s eloquent Voyage of the Summer Sun chronicles his canoeing adventure from the source of the Columbia, in Canada, to the treacherous sand bar where the great river meets the Pacific.”Beth McKinnon, Manager, Estacada Public Library, (Estacada)

Voyage of the Summer Sun may be purchased at Powells.

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“Beverly Cleary’s books about Ramona, Beezus and Henry Huggins are set on Klickitat Street in Portland (Ramona the Pest).” - Jane Ahern, Youth Services Manager, Jefferson County Library (Madras)

Ramona the Pest may be purchased at Powells.

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Here’s another list to get you started: Literary Oregon, One Hundred Books, 1800-2000. http://www.ochcom.org/100BooksList.pdf

What is your favorite Oregon book? Leave a comment and tell us about a book that made you want to visit Oregon. Or just visit us vicariously through a great story. That’s okay too!

- Jennifer

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