If your summer reading list is shaping up around big blockbusters cranked out by giant publishing firms, you're missing out. Central Oregon authors are doing a great deal of quality writing themselves. Here's our guide to the latest books published by writers from our own neck of the woods. Be sure to check out the events many of them will be hosting in the coming months.
Ed Kennedy's War: V-E Day, Censorship and the Associated Press
LSU Press, Baton Rouge, 2012
Julia Kennedy Cochran's father died when she was just 16. For the next forty years, this Bend resident moved Ed Kennedy's memoirs of becoming the most infamous newsman of WWII from closet to closet until she was ready to immerse herself in his story of defying a news embargo about the surrender of the Germans. His decision got him fired from the Associated Press, but cemented his spot in history as a defender of free speech. With a powerful introduction from the President and CEO of the Associated Press, Ed Kennedy's name is cleared through his daughter's new book. Kennedy Cochran, a former AP newswriter herself, heads to the East coast in just a few weeks to present the book to gatherings in Washington D.C. and New York. Check her out in Bend at a May 24 reading at The Nature of Words.
Wild Delicate Seconds: 29 Wildlife Encounters, Black Bears to Bumble Bees
Oregon State University Press, Corvallis, 2012
Charles Finn's little gem is filled with 29 tightly crafted one and two-page chapters that describe with grace and power the brief encounters between animals and author. Nature writing can at times feel plodding, but these stories are quick, gripping and leave an imprint. Finn, who is also editor of the High Desert Journal, will hold a book signing at 4 p.m. May 13 at Dudley's Book Store, 135 NW Minnesota Ave.
Call of the Mild: Learning to Hunt my own Dinner, A Memoir
Grand Central Publishing, New York, 2012
Lily Raff, a longtime Bulletin reporter, columnist and former city girl, crafted this book around her unlikely obsession with hunting. When you come to the point in the prologue where Lily explains all the things that could go wrong on an upcoming hunting trip, including "My own death. Shot by another member of the hunting party probably," I laughed out loud, thinking of how well she's captured my own sense of ineptitude and shy interest in the topic. Well worth a read for the clean, interesting writing and humor. Available June 12.
Cold Snap, Assorted Writings
By Ellen Waterston
Fishtrap Inc., Enterprise, 2011
This collection of poems, short stories and essays by one of the region's best-loved authors is Ellen Waterston's latest exploration of Oregon's natural world. The chapbook is the product of the first half of Waterston's Werner fellowship with Fishtrap, a writing education endeavor out of the Wallowas. She'll spend the summer on the faculty there leading a unique writing workshop where participants live out of tents as they hone their craft. Available at Fishtrap.org.
A Promise Given: A True Story of Life, Love... and Bluebirds
Bonanza Publishing, Prineville, 2012
Rick Steber is a prolific author out of Prineville with his own small publishing company and a winner of a number of awards and recognitions for his Western writing from a variety of regional organizations. This story of a man, the death of his beloved wife of 58 years, and his desire to fulfill her dying wish to bring back Oregon's native bluebirds is a sweet story with a great guide for book clubs. Check out his website www.ricksteber.com for more information.
As a young man Billy Garrett experienced a horrific accident that forever scarred him on the inside and out. This memoir of his journey to remember who he once was is a father's story, a son's story and an Oregon story.
Available on Amazon.com.
100 Hikes in the Central Oregon Cascades
Navillus Press, Eugene, 2012
Now updated with twelve new hikes and more mentions of hot springs, campgrounds and fire lookout rentals than ever before, this book will inspire you to get out. Check out one of Sullivan's slide show presentations coming up May 4 through 7 in Bend and Sunriver. See his website for more information,
Thinking Like a Canyon
Antrim House, Connecticut, 2012
Jarold Ramsey describes the "new" portion of the book as Central Oregon poems about history and themes of the area. The "chosen" part of the book includes poems by the author back to 1973. Keep your eyes peeled for readings in the coming months, though none are currently scheduled.
Part of a Kid's Life Series #1, #2 and #3
Self published, Bend, 2012
Playwright, former educator and Bend resident Sue Hanlon is re-releasing her first two books and adding a third to her Part of a Kids Life Series, which in her words "puts a fun and fanciful slant on aspects of kids' lives." The first two books in the series each contain four stories in full color about health and social topics. Titles include "Stanley Stein Picked Too Man Times" and "Willy Tells Wacky Whoppers." Her latest book, "Just Wild Imagination," offers nearly two dozen little snippets of the kinds of daydreams that enthrall children. All three will be available on Amazon.com by
Falling Down, Getting Up
Morgan James, New York, 2012
Michael Harris, founder of Bend's Bikram Yoga, took fall after fall for the first 27 years of his life. It began with a terrible accident as a 12-year-old that nearly killed him. Alcohol and drug abuse followed for the next 15 years, culminating in threats from doctors that he would lose his legs if he didn't change his ways. He did. This book is his own inspirational story, but he says another book is in the works - one that tells the stories of others he's met along his journey. Check out his website at