A Mossback’s Guide to the Pacific Northwest

I am a mossback.

I was a Patches Pal as a kid. I know how to pronounce Sequim.

I can point to at least three volcanoes at any time, even in the dark. And I can sing the Geoduck Song faster than Fred Penner.

Folks new to the Pacific Northwest are amazed (and a little befuddled) by these accomplishments. 

They don't understand wearing socks with sandals, they yearn to learn the secrets of fish flinging at the Market, and they want to know where to find Bigfoot. And most of all: they want to check out stuff that regional natives recommend.

I surveyed a number of other mossbacks and compiled a list of favorite books (and more) about the Pacific Northwest.


"Where were you when the mountain blew?"  is a question that all Puget Sounders can answer without hesitation: the events surrounding the eruption of Mount Saint Helens on May 18, 1980 are burnt permanently into our memories. Even if you weren't here, you can still read about that amazing day and the aftermath that changed Washington State.

The Creaky Knees Guide

Many newcomers come here to experience our glorious wild lands. If you want to get out and look around, grab your Gortex jacket (but not an umbrella--natives don't use them!) and take a guidebook with you. The library has many titles to offer for all skill levels.

An Ice Axe, A Camera, and A Jar of Peanut Butter

Speaking of hiking skills, Ira Spring had some. He was the photographer and co-author (with his brother Bob and Harvey Manning) of many books about hiking and mountaineering in the Pacific Northwest. Ira's memoir is packed with photos from his adventures, as well as witty stories about his times in the mountains. 

Snow Falling on Cedars

David Guterson's lyric prose leads readers gently through an un-gentle time in our history: WWII, and the internment of more than 100,000 men, women, and children of Japanese ancestry. Although most of the characters are fictional, the events are true.

Until Proven Guilty

This book, originally published in 1985, introduces a seasoned Seattle homicide cop takes readers on a tour of the city, including a number of long-gone landmarks. If you enjoy the first book, you will be happy to learn that there are 20 more titles featuring J.P. Beaumont.

The Tree

Local musician/author Dana Lyons' melodic children's story is narrated by an ancient Douglas Fir tree and illustrated with vibrant pictures to appeal to readers of all ages.

Pike Place Market Recipes

You can't truly appreciate the Northwest unless you taste our food. From blackberries to salmon, and everything between, this mouthwatering cookbook will inspire you to eat like you were born here.

Seattle Seahawks

Love us, love our Hawks. That's how we do it!

I've built a whole list of books and materials for newcomers and anyone else who wants to read about the Pacific Northwest. The list includes fiction, nonfiction, hiking guides, stuff about the weather, poetry, children's books, teen books, sports books, cookbooks, DVDs, and more.  

Welcome to the Swampland! List created by KCLSAareneS

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And, hey: Welcome to our Swamp. We hope you'll like it here.

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