Kenny Louie/Creative Commons

Think Out Loud asked listeners Friday to nominate their picks for what Oregon’s official state book should be. Here’s how you responded.


The most popular nominees:

  • Ken Kesey is clearly the winner among our listeners. “One Flew Over The Cuckoo’s Nest” and “Sometimes a Great Notion” are fighting for the top honors on our Facebook page.
  • Jaz Marie suggesting a third Kesey-related pick with Tom Wolfe’s “The Electric Kool-Aid Acid Test.”
  • The Happy Canyon Pageant in Pendleton chimed in with a lesser-known, but rodeo-focused Kesey pick, “Last Go Round.”
  • Ursula LeGuin also received a lot of love, with “The Lathe of Heaven,” “The Wind’s 12 Quarters,” and “The Left Hand of Darkness” getting numerous mentions.
  • Several listeners pushed for a relatively recent release in “Mink River” by Brian Doyle, including caller Lorraine from Oregon City.
  • “Geek Love” by Katherine Dunn got quite a few shout outs on our website.
  • Doug called in to suggested H.L. Davis’s Pulitzer Prize-winning “Honey in the Horn,”  which was a popular suggestion among our listeners.
  • Sue called from Portland to suggest “Winterkill” by Craig Lesley, and a number of listeners agreed with her.
  • Oregon State Librarian MaryKay Dahlgreen added Lesley’s “Burning Fences” to the list.
  • A few commenters suggested said, “Dune” by Frank Herbert, saying he went to high school in Oregon, and was inspired by the Oregon Dunes near Florence.
  • Andrea Sargeant and several others said “The Jump-Off Creek” by Molly Gloss.
  • We saw a few votes for “The River Why” and “The Brothers K” by David James Duncan.
  • A couple of listeners gave the nod to “Ricochet River” by Robin Cody.
  • Arras Heiress said “Trask” by Don Berry, which several others also mentioned.
  • A couple of people suggested “The Clan of the Cave bear” by Jean Auel.
  • Several commenters pointed out that Vladimir Nabokov’s “Lolita” was written in Oregon and was a worthy contender.

Other fiction nominees:

  • Kara from outside of Eugene called to suggest Jane Kirkpatrick’s novels.
  • “The Man Who Fell in Love with the Moon,” by Tom Spanbauer
  • “Hard Rain Falling,” by Don Carpenter
  • “A Meeting in Corvallis,” by S. M. Stirling’s
  • “Bongwater,” by Michael Hornburg
  • “Another Roadside Attraction” and “Still Life with Woodpecker,” by Tom Robbins
  • “Swift Flows the River,” by Nard Jones
  • “A Gift Upon the Shore,” by M. K. Wren
  • “A Heart for Any Fate,” by Linda Crew
  • “The Earthbreakers” by Ernest Haycox


The most popular nominees:

  • Karl Foster said “The Journals Of Lewis & Clark,” which was echoed by several other listeners.
  • A couple of people suggested “Listening for Coyote” by William Sullivan, and Bo called from Bend to suggest William Sullivan’s hiking books.
  • We also heard a few nominations for “Fire At Eden’s Gate,” Brent Walth’s biography of Tom McCall.
  • Several people recommended the “Thunder over Ochoco” series by Fale Ontko.

Other nonfiction nominees:

  • Jeff from Portland called in to suggest “Owning it All” by William Kittredge.
  • Mike in La Grande called in to suggest “Yellow Wolf: His Own Story” by Lucullus Virgil McWhorter.
  • Edith called in from Oregon City to suggest “Building the Columbia River Highway” by Peg Willis.
  • “Astoria” by Peter Stark, and another “Astoria” written by Washington Irving
  • “Across the Great Divide” by Laton McCartney
  • “Skookum” by Shannon Applegate
  • “Illahee” by Kay Atwood 
  • “Oregon Geographic Names” by Lewis McArthur
  • “Far Corner: A Personal View of the Pacific Northwest” by Stewart Holbrook
  • “Another Way the River Has,” by Robin Cody
  • “Homestead” by Jane Kirkpatrick
  • “The Oregon Desert,” by E. R. Jackman and R. A. Long
  • “Packy and Me,” by Matthew and Patricia Maberry
  • “Undaunted Courage” by Stephen Ambrose
  • “Oregon Breweries” by Brian Yaeger
  • “Oregon: Then and Now” by photographer Steve Terrill.


  • “Life Is Hell.” by Matt Groening
  • “The Orygone Cartoon Books” by James Cloutier.


  • There’s a great deal of love for the work of Beverly Cleary, with  “Ramona Quinby” and “A Girl from Yamhill” getting call outs from our listeners.
  • Kelli Sherman suggested “Goodnight Oregon” by Dan McCarthy and Joe Veno.
  • Belinda Hanson proposed “Wildwood” by Colin Meloy and Carson Ellis.


  • Veronica Russell suggested William Stafford’s “Traveling Through the Dark.”
  • Oregon State Librarian also added MaryKay Dahlgreen recommended George Venn.