Winter Reading – Essays

Oregon’s Ancient Forests: a Hiking Guide by Chandra LeGue. Mountaineers Press, $26.95.

Buy this book as a Christmas present for your favorite hiker, or that person who dreams of hiking more often. Chandra LeGue, longtime advocate for ancient and old-growth trees, presents a clear and an informative guide to these incredible trees and the places they grow. She doesn’t just get you to the trailhead and down the trail, she explains the ecosystem and the threats these trees and our forests face. — Camilla Mortensen

The Eclipse I Call Father: Essays on Absence by David Axelrod. OSU Press, $21.95.

What is here and present? What is gone and past? These questions are examined in intimate detail by David Axelrod in his latest collections of essays. From a boyhood in Ohio, working class to the core, to losing his father in an accident at a young age and the discovery of a world beyond what he knows, Axelrod takes a reader through voyages of the soul. Now the director of Eastern Oregon University’s low-residency MFA in Creative Writing, Axelrod is the author of eight collections of poetry. The Eclipse I Call Father is his second collection of essays. — Dan Buckwalter

Edge of Awe: Experiences of the Malheur-Steens Country edited by Alan L. Contreras. OSU Press, $19.95.

Its majestic landscape has drawn visitors and a few hearty souls who put down stakes and have called it home for generations. The Malheur National Wildlife Refuge is noted world wide as one of the crown jewels of the National Wildlife Refuge system, protecting a vast complex of habitat for fish and wildlife as well as offering recreational opportunities. The stories of how people are drawn to and stay in this southeastern corner of Oregon are told in essays and poems. There is only a glancing mention of the 2016 takeover of the Wildlife Refuge by armed right-wing militants. No, Edge of Awe is a series of love letters to one of the most beautiful areas of our state. — Dan Buckwalter