It’s time again to review the park related books I’ve read this year. I’ve previously cataloged NPS books in 2019 and 2020 and 2021. I completed my Goodreads challenge of 100 books read for the year, and then some.
Have you ever read a book about, or set in a National Park? Would you recommend it? Here are the ones I read this year, in no particular order:
Red Sky Over Hawaii by Sara Ackerman
I received Red Sky Over Hawaii from my Goodreads secret Santa last year. This is a work of historical fiction and takes place in the months following the attack on Pearl Harbor. A Hawaiian woman hides her father’s Japanese-American friends and the children of his German neighbors whose parents are imprisoned in an internment camp.
Together, they make a life in a remote cabin just outside Volcanoes National Park. There is a light romance along the way and lots of vivid descriptions of the crater, lava tubes and steam vents. Red Sky is loosely based on a true story.
In the Heart of the Canyon by Elisabeth Hyde
I picked up this book as a freebee from Amazon. It’s set in Glen Canyon National Recreation Area and Grand Canyon National Park. Fifteen people embark on a two-week rafting trip down the Colorado River. Calamity ensues and lives are changed forever.
Many reviewers said the book made them want to book a Grand Canyon rafting trip. While I found the narrative fast paced and engaging, the realistic depiction of the heat and nuisances such as fire ants made the idea of camping on the canyon floor less appealing to me.
Murder at Marble House by Alyssa Maxwell
This is the second in the Gilded Newport mystery series. Emma Cross is a poor relation to the Vanderbilts and once again gets caught up in a murder mystery at her wealthy aunt’s house. Amateur sleuthing ensues and the reader is immersed in the lives of the Vanderbilts and the Gilded Age in Newport, Rhode Island.
Desert Solitaire by Edward Abbey
So this a critically acclaimed, revered classic about the author’s time as a park ranger in Arches National Park. The depiction of a totally wild southwestern Arches in the 1950s is fascinating. But…
…I hated it and found Edward Abbey to be an arrogant, self-absorbed misanthrope. I had a hard time getting past his angry, often misogynistic, rantings to finish the book.
Back of Beyond by C.J. Box
Cody Hoyt is a flawed cop who must pursue a killer through the backcountry of Yellowstone National Park. The setting is awesome and the story will keep you turning the pages past a few twists to the ultimate showdown.
The Last Season by Eric Blehm
Documentary-style book about the disappearance of Sequoia and Kings Canyon National Park Ranger Randy Morgenson. This wasn’t bad, but it dragged a bit in places. Randy was troubled and flawed, but a dedicated, veteran ranger. Behm tries to paint a picture of the man, but winds up being too repetitive. After reading Krakauer’s Into the Wild, this book pales in comparison.
Cataclysm by Tim Washburn
This is an exciting disaster novel set in Yellowstone National Park. Did you know that all those popular steaming tourist attractions sit atop a massive super volcano? In Cataclysm, the volcano blows and an assorted band of park rangers, scientists and tourists must make their way to safety.
Happy New Year!