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.
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.
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 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.”
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 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.
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.
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.
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.
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.
Fables and Futures: Biotechnology, Disability, and the Stories We Tell Ourselves,
by George Estreich
Rarely has any writer so elegantly transposed
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.
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.
By Thomas Nguyen