Compiled by Rusty Kuntze
Below you will ﬁnd a short list of books that touch on the people, places and cultures that make the Skagit Valley such a special place. Included are works of ﬁction, non-ﬁction, poetry, and natural history. (Note: the ﬁrst three listed books each contain interviews, artwork and/or writings by Skagit Commons member Libby Mills).
- Natural Skagit: A Journey from Mountains to Sea. Published by Skagit Land Trust. A beautifully written and illustrated book that focuses on the special places protected by this local Land Trust. With an introduction by Tom Robbins and an afterword by Bill Dietrich (local best selling authors), it is an indispensable book for anyone living in Skagit County.
- Impressions of the North Cascades. John C. Miles. The personal reﬂections of 16 contributors about this magniﬁcent landscape. Each essay discusses what the North Cascades landscape has been in the past, what it is today, and what it could become in the future.
- The North Cascades: Finding Beauty and Renewal in the Wild Nearby. William Dietrich. Pulitzer Prize winning author, and Anacortes resident Bill Dietrich presents the rich history and challenges facing this rugged habitat in the Skagit Valley’s backyard. Released in 2014 in honor of the 50th anniversary of the landmark Wilderness Act, it is an inspiring look at this jewel of a wilderness through the words and images of local writers and photographers.
- Poems from Ish River Country. Robert Sund. A collection of the complete poems of Skagit Valley’s “Poet Laureate,” painter and calligrapher Robert Sund. One of the most distinctive poetic voices of the Paciﬁc Northwest, his short, imagistic poems, in the tradition of William Carlos Williams and Kenneth Rexroth, capture the essence of the Northwest landscape.
- Another Roadside Attraction. Tom Robbins. LaConner’s own Tom Robbins’ ﬁrst novel takes place right here in the Magic Skagit. Full of humor, insight, absurdity, romance, and yes mushrooms, this book does a wonderful job of conjuring up the atmosphere, feel and psychedelic surrealism of Skagit Valley.
- Poets on the Peaks. Gary Snyder, Philip Whalen, & Jack Kerouac. John Suiter. Taken from unpublished letters, journals and interviews, and based on the common experience of all three writers as ﬁre lookouts in the Skagit Watershed of the North Cascade mountains. Full of fascinating stories and gorgeous photographs.
- The Living. Annie Dillard. NY Times best selling novel by Pulitzer prize winning author Annie Dillard, it is a mesmerizing evocation of life in the Paciﬁc Northwest during the last decades of the 19th century.
- Koma Kulshan: The Story of Mt. Baker. John C. Miles. This is the story of the mountain outside our backdoors and the people who knew it. Full of engaging ﬁrsthand tales and a wealth of photographs.
- Valley of the Spirits: The Upper Skagit Indians of Western Washington. June McCormick Collins. The ﬁrst full scale description of the upriver Skagit people. It describes their subsistence, work ethic, religious beliefs, and kinship and class system.
- Indians of Puget Sound. Herman Haeberlin and Erna Gunther. Written in 1930, this anthropologic classic was one of the ﬁrst attempts to look in depth at the lives, culture, religion and art of these Puget Sound peoples.
- Walking the Beach to Bellingham. Harvey Manning. In this unique memoir, noted writer, environmental activist and Paciﬁc Northwest native Harvey Manning describes a memorable walk from Seattle to Bellingham. The book underscores Manning’s strong belief in staying put and getting to know one’s own backyard.
- Day Hiking: North Cascades. Craig Romano. A great book full of some of local author Craig Romano’s favorite day hikes.
- 100 Hikes in Washington’s North Cascades National Park Region. Harvey Manning and Ira Spring. Another classic by Harvey Manning.
- Day Hiking: The San Juans and Gulf Islands. Craig Romano. The title says it all.