16 in ’16: Whidbey Reads feedback


by Ruth G.


So, Resolute Readers, are you reading the current Whidbey Reads title, or one from the past? By the looks of the comments I’ve gotten, most of you are choosing this year’s title, The Wind is not a River, by Brian Payton:

wind riverMary C: I just finished listening to The Wind is Not a River (eAudio). I enjoyed it immensely. Historical fiction that explores a relatively unknown episode in our country’s history (WWII in the Aleutians); an expose of a very real and sometimes painful relationship between two well-developed characters; and an analysis of some not so attractive aspects of the way civilians are treated in war torn areas. Plus a great story line (no spoilers).  I have read all the Whidbey Reads books and would say that this is one of the best. Right up there with Ivan Doig’s This House of Sky.

bellwetherRabbitt B: While I enjoyed The Wind is Not a River I thought it bogged down a little bit in the middle. For me it was worth finishing, it had a satisfying ending. Of the Whidbey reads books I have read (approximately half of them) my favorite is Bellwether by Connie Willis. Now I can’t think of the color pink without thinking of “PoMo” pink… For what it’s worth I am more of a SciFi person…

Kathy B:   The Wind is Not a River transports the reader to another time and place—but one that resonates with today’s issues.  The disruption of war,  government censorship, refugees, individuals separated from their families—the book touches on these all too familiar themes.  The heart of the story for me, at least, is John Easley’s determination to go home to his wife Helen, and her determination to do whatever it takes to find him.  Their story shows just how far we will go for the people we love.

Betsy A: I read this year’s WR title, The Wind is not a River, by downloading it to my Kindle since there always is a high demand for the print copies and I couldn’t get one to check out. It’s great that the book is available instantly without needing to put it on hold.  I’ve always enjoyed historical fiction and found it well-written with believable characters. Until reading it I was unaware that a WWII battle with the Japanese had taken place on American soil. I also didn’t know that Alaskan natives were rounded up by the Japanese soldiers and transported to an internment camp in Japan. A gripping tale.

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Marie B: I read mysteries and thrillers almost exclusively, so I went into The Wind is Not a River feeling a little like I had a homework assignment.  Much to my delight, though, I was immediately drawn in by the story!  I found it well-written and captivating.  It’s a good story, and perfectly paced.  My husband enjoyed it as much as I did, so it definitely has appeal for a wide range of readers.

Natasha V: ‘The Wind is Not a River’ so firmly intrigued my attention that I endured two sleepless nights catapulting toward the final chapter. This is not my sort of book—I hardly expected to travel beyond the first page. I still don’t know why it’s such an interesting read: the style is harsh, the setting stark and shocking things are mentioned casually. However, the story is gripping and the character have a quality of irresistible realness.

A few of us are reading titles from years past:

ingredientsJocelyn R: I’ve always been a fan of novels that feature food and cooking, so I chose to read The School of Essential Ingredients by Erica Bauermeister. I really enjoyed the way this novel was put together, with each section telling the story of a different student in the class.


index (1)Jamie W: I like The Highest Tide by Jim Lynch. It stands out in my mind as my favorite Whidbey Read thus far. The story has a 13 year old non-conformist as a main character who discovers a giant squid in the tidal flats of Puget sound. This wonderful and enchanting coming of age story is entertaining as well as educational with the tidal flats  brought to vivid life.


westI (Ruth G.)  chose to read West of Here, by Jonathan Evison, (in eBook format) which was the 2013 pick . Evison does all the work, so the reader can sit back and enjoy, as he folds his research almost invisibly into the story line. Evison’s characters are the same flawed, dogged, and irrepressible ones that inhabit his other books. Plus, how many other books labelled “great American novel” and “historical epic” make you laugh as you read them? And so refreshing to read something set in this time period that gives women and Native Americans equal time in the story, as strong characters, as fully realized as the men.


If you haven’t decided what to read for this challenge, never fear.  Try our quiz to find the Whidbey Reads title that matches your interests.  For those who like to judge a book by its cover, (c’mon, admit it) click on any of the images below to choose a pick from past years.  And for those who’ve finished already, log in your reading already! How else are you going to rack up points and win Reader of the Year?



Happy reading! Let us know how it’s going for YOU by adding a comment below.

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One response to “16 in ’16: Whidbey Reads feedback”

  1. […] Reading!  I’ll check back with you on March 23 to see how everyone is doing with their Whidbey Reads pick. Remember, when you complete this […]

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