Seaside Stories

Read These Oregon Coast Page-Turners

October 31, 2018 | by Shellie Bailey-Shah

A good book and the beach — there may be no better combination. Opened in 2005, Beach Books is a local institution where you can pick up breezy reads. But this indie store stocks more than bestsellers.  

Shop owner Karen Emmerling shared with us her favorite picks for Oregon Coast-themed page-turners. These selections are perfect for the curious traveler looking to get a better sense of the natural environs and the area’s riveting history.

 Emmerling’s first three recommendations are all written by the same author, Bonnie Henderson. Henderson, a former editor for Sunset magazine, lives in Eugene but spends much of her time along the Oregon Coast. She’s active with the North Coast Land Conservancy and also writes interpretative signage for parks and wildlife refuges.  

In her book “Strand: An Odyssey of Pacific Ocean Debris,” Henderson traces the stories of trash washed up along the Oregon Coast to places as far away as Shenzhen, China and Hokkaido, Japan. 

In “The Next Tsunami: Living on a Restless Coast,” Henderson looks at the people who study tsunamis and the science behind past events and inevitable future events that will one day slam the Oregon Coast. “It’s an important book for anyone who lives here or visits the area,” says Emmerling.

Emmerling also recommends Henderson’s guide “Day Hiking: Oregon Coast.” The book details 92 hikes easily accessible from Highway 101, including several around Seaside.

Another good guide for would-be hikers? Emmerling recommends picking up “Exploring the Oregon Coast Trail” by Connie Soper, which includes a comprehensive trail map with details on day sections along with the history of Oregon’s open beach laws. 

If you’re a history buff, Emmerling points to Tillamook Rock Lighthouse: History and Tales of Terrible Tilly” by Brian Ratty. It’s the story of those who built the lighthouse near Seaside, those who manned it, and those who paid the ultimate price to keep the beacon burning.

Finally, for fans of fiction, Emmerling suggests “A Thousand Summers” by local author Honey Perkel. It’s a novel set in Seaside with lots of coastal favorites that you’re bound to recognize.

Lit Events: Writers across genres come to Seaside every winter for the Pacific University Residence Writers Conference (January 10 through 20). Beach Books also hosts occasional author events, readings and more.

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