The Best Books about the Olympic Peninsula in Washington State

Olympic Peninsula Suggested Books, Volume 6

Written by guest-blogger and local bibliophile, Mary Brelsford. Cover Photo Courtesy of Port Book and News.

We could not let these four books be left off the list, so we are calling it, Our “Deep Dive and Some Poetry” List. We hope you are enjoying some stories, insights, truth and adventure to whet your appetites to experience the Olympic Peninsula when we can all begin travelling again.

Let’s explore some of our other favorite books about the Olympic Peninsula.

Women to Reckon With Book

Women to Reckon With: Untamed Women of the Olympic Wilderness by Gary Peterson and Glynda Schaad. History, Nonfiction. First Published 2007.

We introduced you to the Iron Man of Hoh in a previous blog. It’s only fair to give the pioneer women a shout-out. This book has the biographies of twelve amazing women who helped tame the wild, wild Pacific Northwest.

One of the twelve is Anna Petrovna, from the Anna, Like Thunder book from Blog Volume 5. Another one is Minerva Troy, who was involved with the Puget Sound Co-operative Colony, mentioned in West of Here, reviewed below.
Photos, along with the biographies, show the resilience of these women to reckon with.

West of Here Book

West of Here by Jonathan Evison. Historical Fiction, Contemporary, Literary Fiction. First Published 2011.

It’s been said, “This is a damn fine book!” A play with words since two stories in one are told about the Elwha Dam on the Elwha River. One is woven around the construction of the dam and development of the surrounding area and one is about the removal of the dam 100 years later. It tells so much about the history, culture and development of human attitudes during the 100 years. There is some romance, some ecology, and some downright good story telling.

Elwha Dam Interpretive Kiosk

Elwha Dam Interpretive Center Kiosk, located on the south side of Hwy 112 between Milepost 60-61 and Lower Dam Road

West of Here is a grand and playful odyssey, a multilayered saga of destiny and greed, adventure and passion, that chronicles the life of one small town (Port Bonita/Port Angeles), turning America’s history into myth, and myth into a nation’s shared experience.

There is a kiosk explaining the construction and removal on Lower Dam Road west of Port Angeles. A trail goes down to the old dam site.

Joseph and the Tamanawis Spirit Book

Joseph and the Tamanawis Spirit by Dawn Lawrence. Fiction, Cultural Heritage, Suspense. First Published 2012.

Written by a Native American woman who has lived in Neah Bay, WA, for over thirty years, this story takes off when strange things begin happening on the Makah Reservation in Neah Bay. The Millers, residents of Neah Bay, sense an evil spirit is targeting their son. Preparations are made for an epic battle with the world’s fate hanging in the balance.

Though this book is fiction, you can learn more about the Makah culture and stories by visiting the Makah Cultural and Research Center in Neah Bay, once the community is reopen. At the time of this blog, Neah Bay is closed to non-tribal members due to the COVID-19 pandemic.

Raymond Carver’s Short Stories and Poetry

Raymond Carver Book CoversRaymond Clevie Carver Jr. (May 25, 1938 – August 2, 1988) was an American short-story writer and poet. He is considered to be one of America’s greatest writers. His first short \story collection, Will You Please Be Quiet, Please? was published 1976 and was shortlisted for the National Book Award. His earliest book of poetry, Near Klamath, was published in 1968. He was a finalist for the Pulitzer Prize for Fiction for his third major-press collection, Cathedral. He was categorized in the Literary movement as Minimalism, dirty reality. Carver, however, did not consider himself so. His writing does evoke intense emotions of the blue-collar experience.

Raymond Carver’s Legacy

Born in Clatskanie, Oregon, he died on August 2, 1988, in Port Angeles, WA, from lung cancer at the age of 50. In the same year, he was inducted into the American Academy of Arts and Letters. He is buried at Ocean View Cemetery in Port Angeles, Washington. The inscription on his tombstone reads:

And did you get what
you wanted from this life, even so?
I did.
And what did you want?
To call myself beloved, to feel myself
beloved on the earth.
His poem “Gravy” is also inscribed.

Our Book Series Comes to an End

We hope you’ve enjoyed reading our Olympic Peninsula Suggestion Book Series, learning some of our fascinating history and finding enjoyable reading from our suggestions. The selections we chose will give background and context for your future travels. There are many books about the area, including ones for hiking trails, place names and field guides. Since this area is a major fly-way for migrating birds for example, bring a bird book and look for our over-head wildlife. Our knowledgeable, local bookstore folks can assist you in finding the right books for your reading enjoyment or for referencing information for your next trip to the Olympic Peninsula. We can’t thank them enough!

Port Book and News LogoThanks again to Port Book and News in Port Angeles for reading suggestions. Port Book and News offers curbside pickup from 11am to 4pm; free home delivery for orders over $10 to locations between Black Diamond RD and Deer Park RD after 4pm; free ground shipping for orders over $30.

More Independent Bookstores on the Olympic Peninsula

Odyssey Bookshop, Port Angeles
William James Bookseller, Port Townsend
The Writers’ Workshoppe & Imprint Books, Port Townsend
Twice Loved Books, Sequim

Read all the book list blogs:

Volume 1, Boats

Volume 2, Food

Volume 3, History

Volume 4, Sea Life

Volume 5, Romance and Adventure

Volume 6, Our Favorites

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