Reading Portland is a literary exploration of the city's past and present. In over eighty selections, Portland is revealed through histories, memoirs, autobiographies, short stories, novels, and news reports. This single volume gives voice to women and men; the colonizers and the colonized; white, Hispanic, African American, Asian American, and Indian storytellers; and lower, middle, and upper classes.

In his introduction, John Trombold considers the history of writing about a place that has nourished a provocative and errant literary tradition for over 150 years. In the preface, Peter Donahue considers the influence of region - particularly Portland's urbanity and its hybrid population - on literature.

Included here are the voices of Carl Abbott, Kathryn Hall Bogle, Beverly Cleary, Robin Cody, Lawson Fusao Inada, Rudyard Kipling, Ursula K. Le Guin, Joaquin Miller, Sandy Polishuk, Gary Snyder, Kim Stafford, Elizabeth Woody, and many more.

Praise for Reading Portland: The City in Prose

 

"READING PORTLAND: THE CITY IN PROSE could be used as an urban history of the Rose City; but more effectively, it is a celebration of Portland's urban life..This collection of authors is superior to any other urban anthologies I have found. I cannot help but wonder if Trombold and Donahue envision a City in Prose series..I anxious await Reading Chicago, Reading Boston, and Reading Las Vegas." ― Columbia: The Magazine of Northwest History

 

"ANY LITERATE PERSON WHO LOVES PORTLAND will enjoy and profit from the readings in this book. Reading Portland is an investigation of the nature of a place, an inductive exploration into the character of a city done with an instrument called prose. Any Portlander who loves this city should have Reading Portland on his or her shelf in order to read and reread tales of the tribe that lives at the confluence of the Willamette and Columbia rivers."
Oregon Historical Quarterly

 

READING PORTLAND PRESENTS a complex overview of Portland's progress from the time of its establishment to the modern day, compiled from the writings of over 80 authors whose genres range from fiction to memoir. While many outstanding writers are featured in the collection—including Rudyard Kipling, Northwest darling Beverly Cleary, and famed Fight Club author Chuck Palahniuk—it is the authors' diversity of sentiment, style, and time period which creates an interesting and varied perspective of Portland, and ultimately gives the reader great insight into the city's history . . . Editors John Trombold and Peter Donahue should be commended for presenting such honest and varied first-hand accounts of the city, from the perspective of both natives and outsiders alike.”  — The Portland Mercury

 

"OFFERING A MUCH DEEPER and richer experience of the place than a travel book, this sampling will interest visitors to Portland, Oregon as well as residents whose daily life includes not only the places mentioned in the book but also the cultural atmosphere of the city. Trombold and Donahue present portions of histories, memoirs, autobiographies, short stores, novels, and news reports—80-plus selections in all—describing views of early days as well as the city's evolution and contemporary life. Some of the writers have national stature, others are local, or, in two cases, anonymous. Each selection is introduced with information about the author and the context. Small b&w historical photos add another dimension." — Books News