Winter Reading: Books by Local Authors

Stories for the Rain and Snow 
A Winter Reading List by Local Authors

As we step into the heart of winter here in the Great Wet North, the idea of bundling up in a heap of blankets, nestling up by the fire – or more likely the heater – and catching up on some much needed reading becomes all the more appealing. To help with any wintry reading endeavors you may be planning, we’ve put together a list of various books from local authors which are sure to be wonderful literary accomplices.

Fiction 
American Originals,
by Tracy Daugherty
Our first entry is a collection of short stories and novellas from novelist and OSU professor Tracy Daugherty. Linked together in theme and locale, the stories take place in the West Texas desert – an inhospitable place prone to strife and struggle for those within its reaches. Within these desert narratives, Daugherty explores the innately human ways in which people form connections, in spite of their often hostile surroundings.

In praise of “American Originals,” novelist Beverly Lower said, “Daugherty combines the serious and literary with the funny and offbeat, resulting in sparkle-plenty prose with an ear for dialogue that never fails.”
Farewell, Everything,

by H.B. Cavalier, under the
pen name “Véva Perala”
The first novel published by Nowhere Press, an independent publisher local to Corvallis, “Farewell Everything” takes place in a world of “magical realism, waking from a dark age.” The narrative follows Osha Oloberon, a nineteen-year-old nomad and street performer on the run from his troubled past. Osha’s is the coming-of-age tale of an unlikely hero who must face the timeless and deeply human struggles of love, loss, grief, and death – all amidst a backdrop of war, mysticism, and climate change.

This debut release from Cavalier and Nowhere Press offers the reader a chance to walk with Osha as he explores realms of the physical, psychological, and paranormal.
*footnotes, by Paul Turner

This newly published novel comes to us from Paul Turner, builder and owner of Corvallis’ own Darkside Theater. “*footnotes” takes place in the aftermath of a young woman’s suicide, examining its effects upon three generations of people who knew her. The novel explores how suicide and mental illness can shape an individual – creating an experience unique to each person or survivor, living with or in proximity to these challenges. A press release from the author reads, “This fictional account shares some of the lesser known aspects and challenges of mental illness. People who carry the weight of mental illness often feel they are insignificant, mere footnotes.”

If, Then, by Kate Hope Day

Forces beyond comprehension come to haunt the residents of the quiet little town of Clearing, Oregon in this debut novel by Kate Hope Day. Both a thriller and a reflection on the communal, interconnected nature of life, the novel follows four neighbors who begin to experience visions of realities parallel to their own: potential twists and turns within their own lives.

By upending the mundane with the supernatural, Day weaves a compelling narrative with clever writing that explores the mind bending concepts behind alternate realities, alongside the real and relatable struggles of modern life.
Old Newgate Road,

by Keith Scribner
“Old Newgate Road” is a story of generational abuse, redemption, and one man’s attempts to set his family’s troubled past aright.

The story follows Cole Callahan, who returns to his childhood home in the tobacco field of northern Connecticut. He left the troubled home as a teenager, after his father killed his mother in a fit of rage. Now in his middle age with a son of his own, Cole returns to find his elderly father – having served his prison sentence – living on his own and suffering from dementia. When Cole’s own wayward son comes to work in the family tobacco fields, three generations of Callahan men must face the troubling history that binds them together.
The Soft Fall, by Marissa Byfield

For fans of fantasy, “The Soft Fall” offers passage to the likes of ancient Roman mythology, with warring countries, and monsters rumored to stalk the outskirts of civilization. The story follows Dianna, a young woman who ventures into the forests near her home against the warnings of the other villagers, and becomes afflicted with the curse of lycanthropy by “demon wolves” that stalk the woods. Forced to hide her newfound form during every full moon, Dianna lives a double life. However, this all changes when she transforms during an attack on the village. Now held captive, Dianna finds herself without any friends to call upon and in dire need of escape.

Using its backdrop of ancient myth and war-torn country, Byfield tells a tale of resilience and companionship in a time when both are in short supply.
Whiskey When We’re Dry,

by John Larison
A stoic sharpshooter in an untamed country races against a bloodthirsty militia to find her outlaw brother, all while struggling with the loss of her family. These are the central threads of Larison’s modern offering to the Western mythos, “Whisky When We’re Dry.” It’s a tale that explores the darker ramifications of the culture that “won the West,” told from the perspective of a seventeen-year-old girl by the name of Jessilyn Harney. As Jessilyn treks westward to track down the only family she has left, she’s forced to assume the identity of a man  while working alongside unsavory peers. With his literary prowess, Larison spins a yarn of great violence, adversity, and true grit more than capable of engrossing its readers.

Young Adult 

The Pioneer, by Bridget Tyler
A fast-paced tale of high stakes and family tragedy within a sci-fi frame, “The Pioneer” is the story of Jo Watson, a young girl whose family has just set foot on the Eden-like planet that is to become their new home. While determined to let go of her tragic past and begin anew, she stumbles upon a “secret that could destroy everything her family has worked for,” and is forced to choose between keeping her family safe or exposing the truth in order to preserve the fate of the pioneers.

Tarnished Are the Stars, by Rosiee Thor

Taking sci-fi in a different direction, this YA novel by Rosiee Thor explores themes of found family, queerness, and diversity, all while supplying plenty of fast-paced action and heartwarming character development. The story follows three protagonists, brought together by what seem to be contradictory goals: Anna Thatcher, a mechanic with an illegal clockwork heart who breaks the dystopian laws of the Commissioner in order to supply medical technology to the sick and dying; Nathaniel Fremont, the Commissioner’s son, who intends to capture Anna in order to earn the approval of his father; and Eliza, an assassin and spy dead set on learning the Commissioner’s secrets.

As the story progresses, these three discover a secret that prompts them to form a tenuous alliance against the Commissioner, in a bid to save the city from a plaguing epidemic.
Educational 

Fables and Futures: Biotechnology, Disability, and the Stories We Tell Ourselves,
by George Estreich
Rarely has any writer so elegantly transposed conversations squarely rooted in science and academia over the subjects of biotechnology and genome editing, and ground them in a moving conversation that considers the human aspect of our rapidly advancing world.

In this book, poet and memoirist George Estreich tackles the ramifications that new biotechnologies have for people with disabilities. As the father of a young woman with Down syndrome, Estreich is a powerful voice that disrupts the silence surrounding the oft-avoided subject of how advances in biotech can render those with disabilities invisible. “Fables and Futures” proves to be an insightful conversation on what it means to be human in an age where we have the potential to redefine human biology itself.
Ricky in the City: Where the Wildlife Live, by Judith Li and M.L. Berring

This book is geared toward younger readers. It follows a pair of children, Ricky and Ellie, who travel to Portland on a weekend school exchange. While there, the children explore many of the natural habitats around the area, from city gardens to outskirt woodlands, developing an appreciation for the surprising amount of wildlife that has been incorporated into the city. Over the course of their adventures, the children are even able to contribute information to regional databases.

With vivid illustrations and compelling storytelling, “Ricky in the City” should have no problem fostering a love for science and nature in young readers.
Whole Farm Management: From Start-up to Sustainability, by Garry Stephenson

Any trip to a Corvallis Farmers’ Market makes plain the love that our community holds for its local farmers. Whether read with intentions of starting up one’s own farm, or simply with the desire to gain a better understanding of this integral part of Corvallis’ community, Stephenson’s work offers a comprehensive guide on the various aspects of farm life. From infrastructure, to budgeting, to agricultural sustainability, this book is a smooth and clear-cut guide to farm management.

Thank you to the folks at Grass Roots Book & Music for helping us compile this list! Most of the books listed can be purchased at their store on 227th SW 2nd St., or on their website at www.grassrootsbookstore.com.
The folks at Nowhere Press will also be depositing several copies of Farewell, Everything at Little Free Libraries throughout Oregon and Washington. If you happen upon a copy, stop by their website at www.nowherepress.com and “check in” to track where the copies end up in their travels.

By Thomas Nguyen