The best books about Portland Oregon

1 authors have picked their favorite books about Portland Oregon and why they recommend each book.

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I Am Sequoia - A Pinecone's Adventure

By E.P. Clanton,

Book cover of I Am Sequoia - A Pinecone's Adventure

This book has an excellent message and the illustrations are amazing! I believe children will love it and adults will too. An experience of self-discovery, from little beginnings, through the challenges of life, to getting to be something more noteworthy. Learning how to let go so you'll be able to develop. "I may be little in measure, but interior I feel unimaginably huge!"

Who am I?

My passion is writing. I started writing when I was 10 years old and my passion was reignited by my 11-year-old son. Writing runs in my blood as my late father was a journalist and the first black editor of the Zambia Daily Mail and my late brother was a poet. To date, I have published 17 children's books. I love writing children’s books with a positive message and also to make them laugh and entertained.

I wrote...

Chuck the Cheetah

By K.A. Mulenga, Tsabitha Yahya (illustrator),

Book cover of Chuck the Cheetah

What is my book about?

A delightful story that explains the well-known adage, “Pride comes before a fall” in a refreshing way that is relatable and enjoyable for young readers. Chuck’s experience warns children of the danger of smugness and arrogance, teaches them about the nature of true friendship, and offers valuable lessons about the art of winning and losing graciously. Children will recognise the sense of competition amongst the cheetah friends and will be able to identify with the characters – whether they see themselves as Chuck, or as any of his cheetah friends.

The story contains many important messages for children. It teaches them that just because you are not the best, you are not any less lovable; it teaches them that life is not always about coming first.

Burnside Field Lizard and Selected Stories

By Theresa Griffin Kennedy,

Book cover of Burnside Field Lizard and Selected Stories

One of the joys of the Internet is meeting people – writers – who give the reader a kick in the ass, an unexpected journey down an alley or a dirt path where we spend time with a character who changes our opinion, our outlook on society. Meeting writer Theresa Griffin Kennedy was that kick for me. Kennedy writes non-fiction, reportage, poetry, opinion, and fiction. Burnside Field Lizard took me down back roads and introduced me to larger-than-life characters that stung me with truths and observations that felt more like a documentary. I love realism and Kennedy knows and writes about her town Portland, Oregon, like no other writer. These short stories smack of a reporter in the trenches of a foreign war zone. The characters are in battle with themselves. Kennedy is also an observant translator of sexual behavior that can, at times, be another kind of war, internal…

Who am I?

I have always followed writer Christopher Isherwood’s words: “I am a camera with its shutter open, quite passive, recording, not thinking.” I am most comfortable as an observer, a documentarian, someone who gathers details, tries to make sense of them, lays them down in a presentable order, noticing colors, light, sounds, people’s behavior. Trying to make sense of life. I come from a divorced family, my father was murdered, and my first wife died of breast cancer. Still, there was plenty of laughter. I’m interested in and trying to figure out why we’re here.

I wrote...

Beyond Where the Buses Run: Stories

By Robert David Crane,

Book cover of Beyond Where the Buses Run: Stories

What is my book about?

“The people we meet in Beyond Where the Buses Run: Stories are mostly working-class, battling betrayals, the sudden violence so often at the edge of American life, rising to the occasional triumphs. Here is a hunt for love, companionship, maybe just meaning. In other words, real lives being lived.” – Joseph B. Atkins 

Smoke Signals

By Martin A. Lee,

Book cover of Smoke Signals: A Social History of Marijuana - Medical, Recreational and Scientific

Published in 2012, before cannabis liberation had truly begun to take hold, this is a lively look at the illicit cannabis market as it’s morphing into a legitimate industry. Irreverent and richly written, this book tells it like it is, tracing the racist roots of marijuana prohibition to its popularity among Mexican immigrants and jazz musicians and teasing out the vast implications of the US government’s attempts to eradicate it. Everyone needs to know this history, whether they enjoy cannabis or not.

Who am I?

I discovered cannabis as good medicine in 2009, when my gynecologist recommended it for severe dysmenorrhea. When I couldn’t find a cookbook offering healthy, sophisticated cannabis-infused recipes, I decided to write one. As an amazing group of cannabis chefs taught me how to cook with cannabis and shared their recipes, I fell in love with the plant as well as the open-hearted community that supports it. I followed the Cannabis Kitchen Cookbook, published in 2015, with Pot in Pans: A History of Eating Cannabis, a textbook tracing the plant’s culinary history to ancient Persian and India, in 2019. I’ve learned how to grow my own, and I write regularly about cannabis trends and liberation.

I wrote...

The Cannabis Kitchen Cookbook: Feel-Good Edibles, from Tinctures and Cocktails to Entrées and Desserts

By Robyn Griggs Lawrence, Povy Kendal Atchison (photographer),

Book cover of The Cannabis Kitchen Cookbook: Feel-Good Edibles, from Tinctures and Cocktails to Entrées and Desserts

What is my book about?

Top chefs from across the country reveal their secrets for healthy cannabis cuisine in The Cannabis Kitchen Cookbook, an empowering guide for harnessing the herb’s unique flavor profile and medicinal benefit through mouth-watering recipes. Packed with full-color photos and recipes, including many that are raw, vegan, vegetarian, and gluten-free, this enlightening book also includes invaluable information about growing, processing, and selecting the finest cultivars, navigating the new retail environment, determining desired effects and comfort level, and mastering infusions and tinctures.

A Death-Struck Year

By Makiia Lucier,

Book cover of A Death-Struck Year

Set in Oregon during the 1918 influenza pandemic, this historical young adult novel features a teen girl separated from her family as the illness spreads from the east coast of the US to the west. Like Lil, the main character from my book, Cleo in A Death-Struck Year grapples with moral dilemmas. I was drawn to Cleo’s struggle of wanting to help others, which will put her life at risk, and of desperately wanting to survive.

Who am I?

I'm the author of short stories and novels including my young adult debut, Pandemic, which continues to be a timely read about surviving a widespread deadly virus. After the H1N1 pandemic of 2009 (commonly called Swine Flu), I was fascinated with the idea of a global illness that could be much, much worse. I researched historical diseases, interviewed public health officials, and the idea for my novel was born. Written and published before COVID-19, some of the details are eerily predictive of coronavirus. Pandemic won SCBWI’s Crystal Kite Award the year after its publication, and a June 2022 reissue of the original novel includes updated resources and backmatter.

I wrote...


By Yvonne Ventresca,

Book cover of Pandemic

What is my book about?

Only a few people know what caused Lilianna Snyder's sudden change from a model student to a withdrawn pessimist who worries about all kinds of disasters. After her parents are called away on business, Lil’s town is hit by what soon becomes a widespread fatal illness. With her worst fears realized, Lil must find a way to survive not only the outbreak and its real-life consequences, but her own personal demons.

Six Seasons

By Joshua McFadden, Martha Holmberg,

Book cover of Six Seasons: A New Way with Vegetables

Not only is this book a beauty, but it’s also a great way to discover new pairings for your favorite seasonal pizza toppings. Many of my favorite pizza recipes have been adapted from combinations of ingredients found in recipes for salads, casseroles, fancy meals, sandwiches, and more. If you’re a farmers’ market fiend and a homemade pizzamaker, you need more books like this one.

Who am I?

I am a cookbook author, editor, local food enthusiast, and the creator of the blog Thursday Night Pizza, where I share weekly recipes and de-snobbify the process of from-scratch pizza for home cooks of all skill levels. When I’m not in the kitchen or behind my computer, I enjoy gardening, working on house projects, tending to my Little Free Library, and roaming my city of Philadelphia with my husband and son.

I wrote...

The Teenage Mutant Ninja Turtles Pizza Cookbook

By Peggy Paul Casella,

Book cover of The Teenage Mutant Ninja Turtles Pizza Cookbook

What is my book about?

Straight out of the sewers and right into the kitchen, the Teenage Mutant Ninja Turtles' favorite pizzas are finally yours to create and enjoy! Join Leonardo, Raphael, Donatello, and Michelangelo on a seriously ooey, gooey, cheesy adventure inspired by the beloved original cartoon series.

This cookbook contains sixty-five righteous recipes, from old-school classics such as the New York Style Pepperoni to newfangled feasts such as the Lean, Mean, and Green and Shredder's Revenge. There's a pizza for every occasion — breakfast pizzas, mini-pizzas, party pizzas, and even dessert pizzas.

Gunpowder and Galleys

By John Francis Guilmartin,

Book cover of Gunpowder and Galleys: Changing Technology and Mediterranean Warfare at Sea in the 16th Century

The great John Keegan called this “among the two or three very best works of military history I have ever read,” and it’s easy to see why. An authoritative, deeply researched examination of the Mediterranean system of warfare at sea in the age immediately following the introduction of effective gunpowder weapons, Guilmartin’s riveting book takes us deep into the interminable rivalries between Christians and Muslims across the inland sea, revealing the peculiar realities—technological, geopolitical, climatic, cultural—that shaped the era’s tactics and strategy. This is a book full of fascinating revelations about a largely misunderstood chapter of history.

Who am I?

During my career as an author, I have written on everything from U.S. Presidents to natural disasters. My true passion, however, is military history, a subject I have followed closely since childhood. Why? I have no idea. Nevertheless, I have read widely on the subject and, with the publication of Outnumbered, fulfilled a longstanding dream. The early modern period of European history, during which the continent’s culture left behind the Middle Ages and laid the foundations of the world we live in today, was an era rife with military change and innovation, as well as endemic conflict and the emergence of powerful, centralized nation-states, all of which I find enthralling. These books bring this time and place to life.

I wrote...

Outnumbered: Incredible Stories of History's Most Surprising Battlefield Upsets

By Cormac O'Brien,

Book cover of Outnumbered: Incredible Stories of History's Most Surprising Battlefield Upsets

What is my book about?

Who doesn’t love a good underdog story? While warfare has consistently demonstrated the decisive impact of superior numbers, lopsided engagements have on occasion had an unexpected outcome. Outnumbered chronicles fourteen momentous battles in which a smaller, ostensibly weaker force prevailed in an epochal confrontation, from ancient times through World War II.

How did Hannibal’s 55,000 Carthaginians turn the tables on an 80,000-strong force of Romans? What allowed 6,000 Englishman to overcome 20,000 French at Agincourt in 1415? Which errors doomed a Russian army twice as large as its opposing German force at the Battle of Tannenberg during World War I? Replete with sudden twists of fate and intriguing character studies, this is a fascinating look at the capriciousness of battle and the unexpected lessons to be learned from overcoming the odds.

Effortless Mastery

By Kenny Werner,

Book cover of Effortless Mastery: Liberating the Master Musician Within, Book & Online Audio

When I read Werner's Effortless Mastery, the first thing that happened was that my style of piano playing and composing transformed. What was once very methodical became free-flowing. Secondly, whatever I learned at the piano, then seemed to transfer to my writing and other projects. An absolute unsung hero of both mastery and productivity, Werner does a fantastic job of describing the work of getting your mind into that state of play where learning and creating happen best. 

Who am I?

I love playing music and games, helping others in therapy, being a father and husband, among other things. It’s taken me some time to figure out how to not only stay on top of them all, but to enjoy myself along the way. The answer to doing so is about finding and guiding play in work. Picasso's statement rings true: "Every child is an artist. The problem is how to remain an artist once he grows up." Mastery and feelings of success flow when work is imbued with play. As a psychoanalyst and now as a writer, I work with both clients and readers to help them find meaning and mastery in the day-to-day.

I wrote...

Workflow Mastery: Building from the Basics

By Kourosh Dini,

Book cover of Workflow Mastery: Building from the Basics

What is my book about?

The central theory is that mastery and meaningful work develop from guided play. The question is then how do we guide play? Workflow Mastery is a deep dive into what it takes to guide play, find success in our lives, and get to where we want to go. It describes, in both practical and psychological depth, how we can get into what we decide to put in front of ourselves. The book is structured to gradually build from simple to complex concepts, but separated so you can decide where and how to improve your own workflows to whatever degree makes sense to you.

This book is currently only available here.


By Laura Pavlov,

Book cover of Frayed: A Small Town Sports Romance

Frayed is the first book in the standalone series, Willow Springs. It’s such a heartwarming story, as is every book in the series. It’s about young love, breaking away from people trying to hold you back, and will have you teary one minute and laughing the next. If you love romance and shows like Friday Night Lights, you’ll enjoy this book!

Who am I?

As well as being an author of romance and an upcoming thriller, I am an avid reader. I’ve been passionate about books since I was a little girl, and I read a ton every year…often reading several at any given time. Books are my favorite pastime and my favorite subject to talk about, hands down. I did a podcast for several years—Living in the Pages—where I talked to authors from all over the world about their books and their process in writing. My TBR (to-be-read) list is never-ending.

I wrote...

True Love Story

By Willow Aster,

Book cover of True Love Story

What is my book about?

Growing up in an idealistic home, Sparrow Fisher is sheltered and innocent. When she meets Ian Sterling, a musician who is rising in popularity, she instantly falls for his charm. The attraction is instant, but their relationship isn't so simple.

True Love Story is a story about the real highs and lows that come with a relationship—happiness, pain, angst—and finding out if love really is enough.

So Done

By Paula Chase,

Book cover of So Done

When Tai’s useless, always-high dad touches her best friend, Mila, where he shouldn’t, the girls’ friendship is challenged and changed. Tai, already ashamed of her father, wants to pretend the moment never happened. But, Mila can’t pretend because she lives every day with the fear and shame of that moment. After a summer apart, the two friends struggle to reconnect while also competing for acceptance into the same gifted-and-talented arts program. As both work to be seen for who they want to be, they must also learn to look back together at what really happened. I loved the portrayal of the girls’ friendship and the honesty of a story in which the “happy ending” doesn’t mean a return to the way things were.

Who am I?

In That’s What Friends Do, the #MeToo experience that Sammie’s mom shares with Sammie is my story. I was thirteen. I never told anyone. Even as I started writing my novel, it didn’t occur to me to share with my husband, or my teenage children, my experience. But one evening, as the #MeToo movement was exploding in the media, I was sitting around a dinner table with several other couples. All of the women had had a #MeToo experience. Most of us were young teens when it happened. Shame and guilt had kept us silent for far too long. My novel – and the others on my list – are working to break through that silence.

I wrote...

That's What Friends Do

By Cathleen Barnhart,

Book cover of That's What Friends Do

What is my book about?

Samantha Goldstein and David Fisher have been friends ever since they met on their town’s Little League baseball team. But when a new kid named Luke starts hanging out with them, what was a comfortable pair becomes an awkward trio.

Luke’s flirting make Sammie feel uncomfortable—and David so jealous that he decides to make a move on the friend he’s always had a crush on. But things go all wrong and too far, and Sammie and David are both left feeling hurt, confused, and unsure of themselves, without anyone to talk to about what happened. As rumors fly around the school, David must try to make things right (if he can) and Sammie must learn to speak up about what’s been done to her.

The Patina of Place

By Kingston Wm Heath,

Book cover of The Patina of Place: The Cultural Weathering of a New England Industrial Landscape

Kingston Heath’s captivating book Patina of Place investigates human relationships with working-class living spaces so powerfully. Sometimes I think parts of my book would have been better as a film for capturing what it feels like to move through a neighborhood and into a house. But Heath has managed to do it on static printed paper by combining historic photographs, first-hand accounts, childhood memories, and—most importantly, his gorgeous drawings!—to convey everyday experiences in New England’s three-decker housing units. What sets this book apart are Heath’s textured stories of women rearranging their furniture to make room for another family member; a child’s-eye view of his grandmother’s upholstered sofa; and one couple’s reflections on demographic change around their apartment of 50 years. 

Who am I?

When I was a kid I would cut out graph paper to design my ideal house. When I was in college, I walked into a class called American Material Life and had my eureka moment: “This is how I want to learn about people in the past!” I realized. I’ve been doing that ever since, first as a museum curator and now as a history professor. Houses, furnishings, and the way people interact with the built environment can reveal the complexity, diversity, and beauty of human lives.

I wrote...

Company Suburbs: Architecture, Power, and the Transformation of Michigan's Mining Frontier

By Sarah Fayen Scarlett,

Book cover of Company Suburbs: Architecture, Power, and the Transformation of Michigan's Mining Frontier

What is my book about?

In this book I contrast two types of neighborhoods that transformed Michigan’s mining frontier between 1875 and 1920: paternalistic company towns built for workers and elite suburbs for the region’s network of business leaders. I argue that mining company officers and their partners adapted techniques from both types of neighborhoods—often at the same time in the same places!—to manipulate social hierarchy.

My favorite chapters in the book compare the experiences of homeowners and their families—neighborhood “insiders”—with those of immigrant domestic workers who lived and worked among them as “outsiders.” While Victorian houses used the back doors, butler’s pantries, and maid’s chambers to keep domestic workers “in their places,” they actually provided them with unexpected opportunities to try on new identities.

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