The Oregon Book Report - Book News from Oregon


Three Southern sisters inherit family misfortune

February 25, 2014 --

Book reviewed by Lynn Leissler
Eagle Point

“Friday’s Daughter” by Patricia Sprinkle

I used to think when someone mentioned the sins of the fathers being visited on future generations that some divine zap targeted innocent children on down the line. Now I believe those children are the unwitting heirs of poor choices and neglect bestowed by ill-informed or don’t-give-a-rip parents. And so it is in Patricia Sprinkle’s Friday’s Daughter. Three sisters have to deal with the mess left by their recently deceased father, King MacAllester, a man who cared more about power and image than about his children.

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Amazing story unfolds over my book cover

February 20, 2014 --

Welby O’Brien, Oregon writer
Love our vets blog

When we attempt a daunting task and huge undertaking, such as writing a book to help others, sometimes it is the miracles along the way that keep us going. One such miracle just happened!

The day after I signed on with the publisher for Love Our Vets: Restoring Hope for Veterans with PTSD, we were challenged with a 24 hour deadline to find and design the book cover. Yikes! This urgency sent us all into a flurry of viewing thousands of stock photos and images searching for just the right one. Nothing was right. I wanted the cover to exude hope, support, love and encouragement.  Hard to depict in most military-theme graphics. I prayed and prayed, and then went to bed exhausted with no results.

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Race, culture & love in early America

February 13, 2014 --

Sherry Meyer,
Milwaukie writer
Her blog, Found between the covers

Book Review of “The House Behind the Cedars” by Charles W. Chesnutt

Helping my husband locate a book on an adjacent library shelf, I saw this book and loved every page of “The House Behind the Cedars” by Charles W. Chesnutt (1858-1932). The subject matter, for me personally, is linked with my interest in Southern history and African-American slavery.

Chesnutt tackles the issue of “passing” in the post-Civil War South. “Passing” was the tradition among light-skinned or mulattos to pass for white, although ethnically they were considered to be Negroes.

The main characters in “The House Behind the Cedars” are brother and sister, John and Rena Walden. The novel is set in Patesville (most likely Fayetteville, NC). It is interesting to note that Chesnutt’s family moved to Fayetteville when he was small. This may have a great deal to do with setting. Chesnutt’s descriptions are clear and crisp. The reader can sense the house John and Rena grew up in, where their mother sits in the evening in the small town of Patesville.

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Rethinking how we see ourselves aging

February 11, 2014 --

By Michal Ann McArthur, Bend
Author of Choking on a Camel

Her blog

Book Review: “The Gift of Years” by Joan Chittister
Genre: Self-Help/Spirituality

For an attitude adjustment on aging, read Joan Chittister’s “The Gift of Years.” Before I read this book, aging was something I dreaded. I worried about all the negatives—failing health, not feeling useful, being boxed in by growing limitations and narrowing opportunities, wrinkling and fading away. Bah, humbug! says Chittister. Her book focuses on the positives of aging and outlines how to grow old gracefully. As soon as I started reading, I was hooked.

The book is a series of 40 short chapters on various topics related to aging. The chapters are meant to be read and considered thoughtfully one at a time, much the way a daily devotional book should be read. Chittister considers such topics as regret, fear, ageism, joy, fulfillment, forgiveness, and letting go.

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Invisible girls novel based in Portland

February 6, 2014 --

By Michelle Barnhartbook-invisible-girls

Reviewing the book, “Invisible Girls”, by Sarah Thebarge.

The Invisible Girls is a double helix of a memoir, two stories spiraling around each other. One strand relates her struggle with breast cancer which she contracted in her 20’s, and the other narrates her relationship with a Somali immigrant family.

Although raised in a strict Christian home, when cancer struck, Thebarge struggled to find answers to the questions “Why?” and “Where is God in all of this?” These chapters were raw and honest to the point of making me uncomfortable, but no one had any answers.

Needing a fresh start, she moved to Portland and one day met a mother from Somalia with five young daughters but no money and limited English. These chapters detailed how utterly unequipped the family was for life in the US (for instance, they didn’t know to close the refrigerator door after they put food in), how quickly she fell in love with the girls, and how she worked to help them acclimate to a new culture. This family was “invisible;” living in plain sight, nobody noticed their situation or offered help.

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Oregon: Then & Now—A Review

February 4, 2014 --

Audrey Sauble
Lake Oswego
check her blog

Review of book “Oregon: Then & Now”

Even the permanent changes sometimes—trees grow up, roads change, old buildings disappear and new ones take their places.

Often, after the landscape changes, the old view vanishes completely. “Oregon: Then & Now” restores some of that lost past from Oregon’s history.

I happened to stumble across “Oregon: Then & Now” while browsing the history section at my library. The book is a history of sorts, and a coffee-table album, but s a photo album only, “Oregon: Then & Now” might be a trifle dull—Gifford’s photos are black-and-white, without the stark contrasts that make Ansel Adams’ images so famous, while Terrill imitates the originals closely, though in color.

So, why spend time on yet another photo book? I picked it up out of curiosity, but decided to look deeper when I realized its unique claim. This book is a collection of images taken by two Oregon photographers in two different centuries.

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