Jack Nisbet, who tracked early explorer David Thompson across the Northwest, has been honored as a writer by the state of Idaho.
Nisbet’s non-fiction book, “Sources of the River: Tracking David Thompson Across Western North America” (Sasquatch Press), was selected as the 1995 Idaho Book of the Year.
Two other books won honorable mention. They were “Come, Blackrobe: De Smet and the Indian Tragedy” by John Killoren and “Snake: The Plain and Its People” by Todd Shallat.
The award, which was established in 1985, is given annually by the Idaho Library Association.
A clever plea
A lot of books come into this office, and most of them warrant no attention.
However, if a book has some sort of regional tie or if the book was written by a regional resident, then we at least try to mention it.
Wallowa, Ore., pushes the limits of what we consider to be within our region of interest. But the letter that author Mark Highberger sent along with a review copy of his novel “The Roar of the Bear” (Northwest Publishing, 403 pages, $12.95 paperback) deserves some sort of notice.
Highberger argued that because the novel involves Eastern Oregon it should appeal to “readers of our region’s literature.”
But, he added, “If that sales pitch doesn’t work, I can also point out that this is probably the first novel ever to come out of Wallowa, Oregon (two grocery stores, one gas station, no stop light). That in itself might make it deserving of some notice. But mostly, and with complete bias, I can say it is deserving because it is a pretty good story.”
On the shelf
Speaking of regional limits, first-time novelist Jasen Emmons encompasses them all.
The author of “Cowboy Angst” (Soho Press, 264 pages, $21) is a native of Great Falls, Mont. He is a graduate of the University of Oregon and the creative writing program at the University of Washington. He now lives in Seattle.
“Cowboy Angst” tells the story of Dennis McCance, a law-school dropout who would rather drum to countrywestern tunes than research torts.
In “San Juan Islands Wildlife: A Handbook for Exploring Nature” (The Mountaineers, 251 pages, $14.95 paperback), author Evelyn Adams gives outdoor types a good guide for searching out the natural beauty of the San Juans.
Based on interviews with locals, Adams points out what the area has to offer during the four seasons, in terms of various habitats (wetlands, shoreline, forest, meadow, etc.) and specific points of interest (Padilla Bay Reserve, Wolf Hollow, the Whale Museum).
One problem: If you’re the kind of person who likes to go to a specific spot, say Lopez Island, and check out what that area has to offer, this may not be the book for you. Adams included no island-specific index.
Gonzaga University professor John P. Sisk has an essay published in the spring issue of “Shenandoah,” the literary review of Washington and Lee University.
Sisk, whose essay is titled “Cultural Literacy and the Necessity of Invention,” has seen publication of three collections of his non-fiction writing. They are “Person and Institution” and “The Tyrannies of Virtue” and “Being Elsewhere” (Eastern Washington University Press).
Sign them up
Sandra Crowell and David Adelson, co-authors of “Up the Swiftwater: A Pictorial History of the Colorful Upper St. Joe River Country,” will sign copies of the new edition of their book from noon to 3 p.m. today at the Museum of North Idaho, 115 Northwest Blvd., Coeur d’Alene, Idaho.
“Up the Swiftwater” was originally published in 1980.
The reader board
Robin Cody, author of “Voyage of a Summer Sun: Canoeing the Columbia River,” will read from the book at 7:30 p.m. Monday at Auntie’s Bookstore, Main and Washington. Cody paddled the river’s length in 82 days.
Spokane native Jim Thayer, author of the thriller “White Star,” will read from his novel at 7:30 p.m. Friday at Auntie’s Bookstore.
Kris Buyer, author of “Whispers,” a lesbian mystery novel, will read from her book at 7:30 p.m. Saturday at Auntie’s Bookstore.
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