3 New Portland Books that Just Look Good

Impress your friends by sporting these new book on your coffee table—but you should also read them too.

By Marty Patail March 19, 2021 Published in the Spring 2021 issue of Portland Monthly

Image: Michael Novak

Oregon, My Oregon: Land of Natural Wonders (Timber Press, $30)

Yes, the greatest hits are all here in this hefty, full-color hardback: the Portland Japanese Garden in full fall majesty, a frozen snow scene at Multnomah Falls, the rocky formations at Cape Kiwanda. But there’s also a whole host of landscapes you may never have seen, from hidden canyons and golden deserts to vast human-less expanses and snow-swept peaks of mountains not named Hood or Jefferson. As Yamhill-raised New York Times columnist Nicholas Kristof puts it in his candid foreword, which describes a state of dueling beauty and darkness: “Oregon contains multitudes.”

The Portland Book of Dates by Eden Dawn and Ashod Simonian (Sasquatch Books, $19.95)

If anyone knows how to wring every last drop of fun out of Portland, it’s Portland Monthly senior editor Eden Dawn and her husband, Ashod Simonian. The pair spent a year going on romantic adventures and cramming them into this handy inspirational guide. The pandemic may have put a damper on things as they were wrapping up the book, but dates aren’t dead. Oh, no. In fact, they serve a vital economic purpose now: aside from the possibilities for romance, the book is, at heart, a love letter to Portland’s once and future local businesses and restaurant scene.

The Pacific Crest Trail: A Visual Compendium by Joshua M. Powell (Sasquatch Books, $21)

Quarantine has probably bumped the ultimate PNW bucket list activity up a few spots for many Oregonians. Perfectly timed: Joshua Powell’s vibrantly illustrated and boisterous guide to the 2,650-mile trek, which runs from SoCal to the Canadian border. It’s a joy to page through, even if you have no intention of leaving your couch, packed with fun personal hiking stats (“135 chocolate bars” eaten), maps, wildlife and insect guides, trail notes, must-see landmarks, and even a page of vintage beer cans found on the trail. Go forth and be distant

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