Recreation Northwest’s Recommended Readings at Village Books

Village Books has selected Recreation Northwest to be the first recipient of their new Round it UP community support program, a new, amazingly simple giving program created to support local nonprofits! Each season, Village Books will feature a different nonprofit partner that will benefit when you choose to Round It Up, increasing your purchase to the nearest dollar. (full story)

Our staff and Board of Directors have offered their “Recommended Reads” for you to enjoy. It is with pleasure and pride that I am able to share this great list of books from a group of people that I admire and respect and look to for support and guidance.

Thank you to our Board of Directors, my colleague April and to the owners and staff at Village Books for partnering with us to help us make our Fairhaven Park trail and wetland boardwalk project a coming reality this summer. 

Recreation Northwest staff

Todd Elsworth, co-Executive Director 
The River Why, David James Duncan
Duncan covers political, religious, and environmental ideas through this seemingly simple story about a young man’s love for fly-fishing and the northwest outdoor lifestyle. This book brought to light the relevance and impact salmon have had in the Pacific Northwest over time and how important they are in our own survival. When I created the Bellingham Traverse, this story was my muse for the “salmon theme” of the event.

April Claxton, co-Executive Director
Prodigal Summer, Barbara Kingsolver
This is the book that sparked my passion for connecting with a place and all who are part of it. And one I still turn to for a reminder about the power of place, strong women and friendship.

Recreation Northwest Board of Directors

Dean Fearing, Board President
Spartina, John Casey
Set in Massachusetts, it’s about a down to earth fisherman who lifelong dream is to build and own his own fishing boat. The story talks about his everyday life and challenges that he faces while pursuing his dream. I’ve read this book three or four times, at different times of my life and each time it impacts me differently. What I like most is Dick, the main character, stays true to his dreams and doesn’t let set backs keep him from his focus.

Brian Roche, Vice President  
Buried in the Sky, Peter Zuckerman and Amanda Padoan
A greater understanding of Sherpa culture  and the customs of High Altitude Porters. Great informative read for the fan of high elevation adventure, tragedy, triumph and the many lessons to be learned.

Erin McCain-Anderson, Secretary
Animal, Vegetable, Miracle, Barbara Kingsolver
I love reading about the real life challenges and ah ha moments the family encounters while spending a year living off their land and through their community. Delivered with Kingsolver’s honest and musical voice, this book is an inspiration.  Plus, recipes!   

Al Ragan, Treasurer
The Big Burn, Timothy Egan
The story takes place in Idaho, summer of 1910. One of the worst forest fires in American history. When traveling through Idaho, the results of this event are still visible today. More importantly, the sideline to this story is the legacy of our National Park System cemented by the president at the time, Theodore Roosevelt. The story continues to be relevant today both in environmental and political issues.

Nikki Quinn 
Think Like a Freak: The Authors of Freakonomics Offer to Retrain Your Brain, Steven D. Levitt and Stephen J. Dubner
I appreciate a new perspective on what we think we know about life!  It’s fascinating to look at what we think happens versus what the data actually shows.  

Kurt Baumgarten
The Good Rain, Timothy Egan
Quintessential Pacific Northwest read for newcomers and folks who grew up here.

Adam Lent
Slaughterhouse Five, Kurt Vonnegut
Vonnegut’s writing style is entertaining. His whit, cynicism, and endless quotes show a glimpse of his mind while providing the reader a moment to stop, think, and hopefully blurt out a laugh.

Krissy Moehl
A Dog’s purpose, W. Bruce Cameron
I am a new dog owner and read this book in the first month of owning my pup. The dog’s perspective through The different stories is incredibly sweet and endearing. I found myself figuring out my dog’s voice and wondering how she would tell her story as I read along. A lovely read, albeit sad at times, for any animal owner or lover.

*Krissy is also the author of Running Your First Ultra: Customizable Training Plans for Your First 50K to 100-mile Race.

Sonja Max
The Light on the Island, Helene Glidden
It’s a gripping tale of life on Patos Island in the early 1900s, told by the lighthouse keeper’s daughter (one of 13 children). It reflects the adventures I wish I could have in our islands today.  

*Sonja is also the co-author of Food User Manual.

Nicole Oliver
The Hummingbirds Daughter,  Luis Alberto Urrea.
Historic family epic based on the true story of Saint Teresita, a distant relative of the author, a famed, resurrected healer, as well as reluctant revolutionary symbol in rural Mexico. Mystical, vivid story-telling, with details that you can smell and taste. Learned a ton about social and racial hierarchies in Mexican society. Fastest 499 pages I have ever read.


As co-founder and executive director of Recreation Northwest, Todd promotes outdoor recreation and brings people together to enjoy, preserve and improve the places where we play.


Leave a Reply

Your email address will not be published. Required fields are marked *

Print Friendly, PDF & Email