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Next up on my Northwest reading list….

December 9th, 2003 · No Comments

As a Northwest native, who headed off to college out East, at one point working – and even getting engaged – in New Hampshire, I enjoyed the opening of Mary Ann Gwinn’s book review in Sunday’s Seattle Times:

Nicholas O’Connell’s survey of Pacific Northwest literature starts its journey in a place remote from its subject: the White Mountains of New Hampshire. O’Connell relates a time when, as a homesick Northwest college student sojourning in New England, a friend drove him into a forest of birches, then firs and pines.

As the road crested a rise, his New Hampshire friend looked at O’Connell:

” ‘What do you think of the White Mountains?’ he asked.

” ‘What do you mean?’

” ‘Right there,’ he pointed outside the car window. ‘Those are the White Mountains.’

“When I realized that he wasn’t joking, I replied. ‘Those aren’t mountains — those are hills.’… To a Northwesterner like myself, they were beautiful, but not large enough or impressive enough to qualify as mountains.”

Yeah, hills indeed, especially to a homesick Northwesterner. My thoughts exactly. Now Ted and I got engaged in them there hills of New Hampshire, so I’m quite sentimental about those “mountains”, but they can’t compare to the massive snow-mantled peaks I’d see on a clear day from my home and the floating bridge in Bellevue, jagged and majestic, ominous and omnipresent, hovering over the lakes like some kind of gods.

The critique finds its problems with the book, but I think I’ll still try to find a copy at the library anyway.

His thesis: an “obsession with landscape pervades all of Northwest literature” and infuses the work of the region’s storytellers and authors, from Native American mythmakers to contemporary novelists and poets. …

… “On Sacred Ground” is an invaluable book. Readers looking to connect with their region will appreciate its succinct survey of the history of literature, and its connection with the essence of our native or adopted home.

… sounds like it’s worth a look at the library…!

Tags: books · places