Culture/History News

Coastal Book Bin: 3 Books to Read

With Fall in its early days, it’s the ideal time to find a good book, sit back in a comfy chair, and delve into the life of a salmon fisherman, discover the secrets of seaweed, or enjoy a young adult romance novel written by a prolific Oregon Coast magazine writer. As the rain falls outside, there is nothing better than an afternoon spent with these books:


Enter the world of an Oregon Coast commercial fisherman in Terry Evers’ memoir, Fifteen Seasons.

Published by Dancing Moon Press in 2022, the book chronicles Terry Evers’ commercial salmon fishing adventures with his father aboard a dory boat along the central Oregon Coast from 1977-1991. Evers describes his memoir as thus: “A school textbook salesman buys a commercial salmon dory boat and takes his 13-year-old son out on the cold Pacific Ocean waters off the Oregon Coast for an entire summer. What could possibly go wrong?”

According to Evers, quite a lot. Readers can expect a real-life account of the difficulties involved with commercial fishing, along with the people, culture, and lingo that goes with Oregon coast salmon fishing. Throughout it all, Evers depicts the deep bonds that develop between father and son.

On November 11, Terry will read from his memoir at the Cannon Beach Library: Northwest Author Speaker Series. Books will be available for purchase at the event. The book may also be purchased on Amazon for $16.95.

While fishing offshore of Beaver Creek, which is a beautiful non-tidally influenced waterway that shallowly bleeds into the sea, we trolled the 30-fathom line in calm seas under a partly cloudy sky. The silvers were biting in spurts and we pulled in 20 for the day. Better yet were the two large chinooks that we boated that each weighed in at 15 pounds after being dressed out. We had started running hoochie-flasher rigs down deep, and it paid off.

The highlight of that day though was our first halibut. The 30-fathom line was not known as the halibut hotspot as the prized flatfish were more commonly found several miles offshore at The Rockpile, The High Spot, and the Heceta Banks. Nevertheless, one of our deep springs started bouncing and stretching, but as it stretched out in chinook-like gyrations, there were some weird vibrations mixed in.

“Dad. Check out my deep spring. Something big is down there!” I shouted.

“It could be a big king but look at how it’s vibrating. I’m wondering if we have a blue shark?” Dad wondered.

“Man, this thing is pumping on the davit hard,” I reported.

“Let me know how I can help,” Dad said as he kept the boat on a steady course.


Many of us have experienced seaweed, either as an elusive and ethereal mass floating in the ocean, or as a lump, possibly gelatinous or dried while onshore. What we don’t often see are the individual details and beauty of seaweeds. An Ocean Garden: The Secret Life of Seaweed, by Josie Iselin, is both a primer on understanding the science of seaweed, along with the art of seaweed. Iselin’s book contains hundreds of color images of seaweed that she collected, along with some from scientific collections, and even some from grocery stores.

In the book, Iselin writes about the basics of seaweed, ways to classify seaweed, and describes more than 50 species in both words and images. Readers will also discover the history of seaweed as food, and how some people—including the “Mother of the Sea” and the “pudding boys”—changed how and what we eat.

Produced on a flatbed scanner, Iselin’s vibrant depictions of seaweed reveal the exquisite color and extraordinary forms of specimens gathered from tidal pools along the California and Maine coasts. Although Iselin did not collect any specimens in Oregon, Oregon coast beachcombers will recognize many of the seaweeds covered in the book.

Josie Iselin is a photographer, writer, and book designer with six previous books to her credit, including Beach Stones and The Curious World of Seaweed. Her writing and art focusing on seaweed and kelp has put her at the forefront of ocean activism, collaborating with scientists and environmental groups working to preserve the kelp forests of the Pacific Coast.

An Ocean Garden: The Secret Life of Seaweed, is published by Oregon State University Press. Now available in paperback, the book is $24.95 in bookstores or at OSU Press.


Sea Palm
Postelsia palmaeformis grows only on the most exposed sections of the northern Pacific coast, from the northern tip of Vancouver Island down to San Luis Obispo in central California. Standing on the cliffs at Salt Point in Mendocino County, the small forests of palm tree–shaped algae can be seen on the wave-drenched rocks wrenched from the coast many eons ago. Bowing until prostrate under the crushing surf and popping upright as the white foam retreats, these seaweeds are examples of the strength, flexibility, and resilience that characterize seaweed in general and are so foreign to what we know on land.

But how does a species reproduce in such an extreme environment? Like many seaweeds, Postelsia is an annual; it goes through alternating generations in a complex life cycle that lasts just a single year. Its spores are held within the grooves of the blades. Knowing when the tide is low, these grooves direct the spores to drip down from the hanging blades onto the rock or mussels at the base of the parent. Spores are liberated in a mucilage made up primarily of polysaccharides. This sugary substance sticks to the substrate and quickly cures into a rubbery bonding agent, keeping the spores from being washed to sea.

With the spores deposited in such close proximity to the source, a clump of Postelsia is a tightly bred family. Space is created where the parent dies and is washed away, leaving an opening for the new Postelsia to take hold.


Readers of Oregon Coast magazine might recognize the name Cheryl Wanner. She has written several articles for the print magazine and the website over the years, including When Sharks and Surfers Collide, 16 Incredible Parks, People of the Nekalim Country, and The Women Behind the Fleet.

Now, Wanner has waded into the realm of young adult novels with her recent book, See Me As I Am, published by Immortal Works in May 2023.

See Me As I Am follows the life of 17-year-old Jenny Ryan, who happens to be blind, but doesn’t let that stop her from pursuing her interests. The YA novel is centered on an unexpected romance and a secret that threatens it, but offers much more with engaging and vivid characters, Pacific Northwest locale and vibe, and heartwarming lessons in family and forgiveness.

The book is available for purchase on Amazon for $18.99.

Although there’s not much Oregon Coast in this book (except for a brief scene at Hug Point State Park), stay tuned for Wanner’s next book, Dead Reckoning, a contemporary young adult mystery/romance that revolves around the mysterious Beeswax Ship and the Coast Guard Station in Tillamook Bay.

You can read about the history of the Beeswax Ship in Wanner’s real-life story, Ship of Mystery, about a Spanish galleon that shipwrecked off the Oregon Coast more than 300 years ago.


A door sighs open.
Not the one Leslie walked through and closed behind her, but one on the opposite wall.
I’m out of the chair so fast I dump my Reader from my lap. It skitters across the floor, off to my left somewhere. I drop to my knees, slapping Leslie’s phone onto the seat behind me, then search, hands open, fingers spread, full-on blind girl mode.
Someone strides into the room—flat-soled shoes, guy steps, the door clicking behind him—and hunkers beside me.
“Oh—so sorry,” he says in this straight from the BBC accent. “Let me get that for you.” He puts the Reader into my hands. “Looks okay. Nothing broken, I don’t think.”
Everything feels okay.
And his voice is amazing. Moderately pitched and slightly husky, it’s got that high-class London edge I hear from some of the Brit actors I watch (yes, I say watch, not listen to) on Netflix. It’s a quiet voice but in a good way. Like he’s naturally soft-spoken.

“Thanks.” I switch off my Reader before it records any more of this.

“Jenny Ryan?” he says.

My mouth drops. Seriously, how many people in this place know who I am?
“Um, yes?”
“Jameson Conway. Though I don’t expect you to remember the name.”
I do, actually.

Reviews compiled by staff and published online exclusively for Oregon Coast magazine on September 28, 2023.