January 12, 1996 at 05:00 AM EST

I’M READING Northwest Passage, by William Dietrich (The Final Forest). It’s about the Columbia River. The guy is so comprehensive and complete about this subject. I’ve also been looking at Apples, by Roger Yepsen. This is a small, elegant book with some history and remarks on their taste, texture, and aroma, with these beautiful watercolors. It’s really a lot of fun for me, since I’m working on a book about apples and apple orchards. Another book I’ve been looking at is The Face of Mercy, a photographic history of medicine at war, from the Civil War through Vietnam, with essays about medicine and warfare.

David Guterson is the author of the current best-seller Snow Falling on Cedars.

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