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Deep Creek: Finding Hope in the High Country

4.38  ·  Rating details ·  1,268 ratings  ·  273 reviews
Beloved writer and teacher Pam Houston explores what ties her to the earth in essays as lucid and invigorating as mountain air.

“How do we become who we are in the world? We ask the world to teach us.” In her travels from the Gulf of Mexico to Alaska, Pam Houston explores what ties her to the earth—her 120-acre homestead in the Colorado Rockies most of all. Here, elk calves
Hardcover, 288 pages
Published January 29th 2019 by W. W. Norton Company
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4.38  · 
Rating details
 ·  1,268 ratings  ·  273 reviews

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Oct 26, 2018 rated it it was amazing
A balm for the soul, a visit with an old friend, a love song to the Earth. This book was all that and more. Cowboys Are My Weakness was a touchstone for me when I was in my mid-twenties, and this book served as a reminder of the fiery, uncertain young woman I once was and an illustration of how far I’ve come to be comfortable in my own life since then. I’m grateful to writers like Pam Houston who put themselves out in the world to provide gentle guidance to so many readers they likely will never ...more
Diane S ☔
Feb 10, 2019 rated it really liked it
Shelves: lor-2019, 5000-2019
Thoughts soon.
Oct 11, 2018 rated it it was amazing
It took me awhile to write this review because I am still getting over the excitement of reading a new book from Pam Houston. Her writing was moving and I felt like I could see her ranch and all of the places she described so beautifully. This is an important book about being a woman, an environmentalist, and a writer. Her voice is so refreshing and it will be the perfect read for welcoming 2019.
Feb 10, 2019 rated it it was amazing
I love this book with my entire heart. Read this book if:

... you’ve ever fallen in love with a piece of land, especially in the Colorado mountains
... the fate of this planet has ever brought you to tears
... you love animals more than humans (at least sometimes)
... you’ve survived things you should never have had to survive
... you are a brave woman, or not so brave just yet but you want to be
... you loved Cheryl Strayed’s “Wild,” Thoreau’s ”Walden,” Terry Tempest Williams’ “Refuge” or any the o
Heather Fineisen
Feb 01, 2019 rated it really liked it
I love Pam Houston for the way she loves. Be it cowboys, her animals, writing or in this volume her ranch. Houston is at her best here, in love with the land. Her essay on the fire that devastated the surrounding area was interesting if a bit too detailed and off balance with the rest of her writings. Not disappointed, I love my own animals a little bit more. And myself.
Vivek Tejuja
Feb 07, 2019 rated it really liked it
Pam Houston’s Deep Creek has to be read, actually savoured with enough time on your hand. It cannot and shouldn’t be rushed with. This book is about home and place and what is their meaning to someone who has spent half her life travelling around the world. More than that though, it is about the places we inhabit, the landscapes we belong to, the daily rituals of living and caring for people around you. Deep Creek is all about celebrating nature, and above that survival not only in the wildernes ...more
Sara Cutaia
Nov 07, 2018 rated it it was amazing
Pam Houston's writing is the most comforting and encouraging writing that tackles the horrors and pains of this world that I've ever read. With prose that sings, she takes you through the years that she's lived on her 120-acre ranch in Creede, Colorado, and relays the joys and terrors she's experienced while there. Hers is a story of resilience, and it was even before she had to take care of ranch animals, and deal with elevation, and survive winters and fires at 9000 ft., but the ranch taught h ...more
Nov 19, 2018 added it
Shelves: literature, 2018
9,000 feet above sea level is a Place, a ranch, surrounded by mountains on most sides. It has allowed a Jersey Girl nursing a myriad of wounds to heal, grow, and love. This poignant ode to Place, to nature, to natural beauty, and ultimately optimism - is a pushback against cynicism and meanness. It provides the same inevitable hope that comes with the first shoots of grass in the pasture. It champions the idea that there is safety in saving - in reaching out, in trusting to everyday grace.
Feb 11, 2019 rated it it was amazing
Shelves: non-fiction
I LOVE to read books about farming/farms because I have a fantasy about that life (mostly that I would be really good at it and love every minute of it) and they always leave me feeling like time is slipping away and I have to DO IT NOW and I spend the next five days looking at farm properties that can't meet my requirements and making plans to buy one anyway because I WILL LEARN HOW TO USE A HAMMER! (It's kind of exhausting...)

I can't say I love travel books but since I can't travel myself, I
Tina Humphrey Boogren
An exquisite love letter to Colorado and the Earth. So beautiful.
Oct 07, 2018 rated it it was amazing
Any book that brings me to tears on multiple occasions deserves all the stars.

I expected a lot. It packed way more wallop.
Feb 23, 2019 rated it it was amazing
Shelves: 2019
I had to get over myself to enjoy this book. I was actually really kind of jealous, because Pam is living out one of the dreams I had as a little girl. I wanted to be a writer, live in a cabin like Thoreau, get published, and be famous. But mostly I wanted to worship nature by living off the land. "What can she say that I couldn't?" I thought, huffily, and a maybe a litter bitter, as I sat in my comfy arm chair in a stick-built ranch-style house in a typical subdivision in small town America, my ...more
Stephany Wilkes
Feb 24, 2019 rated it it was amazing
Memoir, yes, but as much a memoir of climate, planet, and place as it is about the author and her ranch. I loved the levels of story here: home as a planet, as a ranch, as safety in changing conditions that maybe aren't really safe for anything, anymore. The timing and material in this book are so important: We're in the earliest years of living through the dramatic and severe consequences of climate changes we've been warned about for decades. How we feel, talk, and write about what's happening ...more
Feb 26, 2019 rated it it was ok
Shelves: read-women-2019
Perhaps because I have been reading some really amazing things lately, this fell flat. Clearly, I am in the minority. Everyone has their cup of tea, this just isn't mine
Feb 25, 2019 rated it really liked it
In this revealing memoir and meditation on wilderness and place Pam Houston lays bare her soul and her love for her little piece of paradise- 120 acres at 9,000 feet near the headwaters of the Rio Grande in South Central Colorado. Sadly to pay for living the dream she is often away from it for at least half the year teaching and conducting seminars on writing. Perhaps these necessary absences increase her ardor for the place. But paradise is a misnomer. It’s a tough place to live in the winter a ...more
Jun 15, 2019 rated it really liked it
"Could a person mourn and be joyful simultaneously? I understood it as the challenge of the twenty-first century. Maybe it was simply what being a grown-up meant."

I will read anything Pam Houston writes...and I have, following her through the cowboy affairs of her 20s , where I first encountered her stories, to the globe-trotting, adrenaline-searching autobiographical fiction of her 30s and 40s. In all of this, Mother Earth and her four-legged creatures have been primary characters in Houston's
Mar 14, 2019 rated it really liked it
I actually haven't read any of Pam Houston's other books but I picked this one up because this kind of Nature Feelings Memoir is extremely my jam. (I mention this because throughout the book she talks about people telling her how much some of her other books have mean to them.)

Anyway this is a really beautiful memoir if this kind of thing is your jam, like if you want to cry about a woman writing about crying about narwhals, fuckin pick this up already.
Despite, and considering, the abuse she suffered growing up, Houston's embrace of life, and the many challenges she encourages, is inspiring. Foremost, her insights about finding joy in her love of nature even whilst grieving the damage to the natural world, is balm for my soul and a helpful guide. It was with regret that I finished this book.
Kristin Boldon
May 23, 2019 rated it it was amazing
Shelves: memoir, 2019, borrowed
I love this book so much. So beautiful, sad, thoughtful, loving, painful. The earth, animals, abuse, nature. "I finally realized _I_ could be the cowboy."
Jessica Klahr
May 13, 2019 rated it it was amazing
This book was everything I hoped for and more and the audiobook rendition was incredible. Walking around with Pam as she read these essays felt like spending time with an old friend, if that friend is way more experienced and well-traveled than you. I thought she wove stories from her childhood, to tales of her writing life and life on her ranch seamlessly. She really took the time to slow things down, especially when describing scenes of nature of her animals and I appreciated it. I was a littl ...more
Feb 18, 2019 rated it it was amazing  ·  review of another edition
Shelves: would-read-again
Blown away by this lovely book. It reads like the best, engaging fiction but has the oomph and meaningfulness of memoir. Houston is such a lovely writer. I am surprised and delighted that I am just discovering her now. Of course, this is not a book for everyone. It’s not perfect. Yet, within the first chapter, it burrowed inside my head and inside my heart.

Read it for the section on saying goodbye to her dog (which beautifully takes us by the hand and leads readers into the book’s thread of env
Feb 23, 2019 rated it it was amazing
I just finished Deep Creek: Finding Hope in the High Country and as I turned the last page, I thought, “I am so glad I read this book.” I’m a Colorado native, and though I grew up on the front range, far away from Creede where most of Houston’s love letter to her ranch is set, but reading her writing made me homesick in the best kind of way. I loved this book.
Feb 12, 2019 rated it it was amazing
I wouldn't have thought it possible to get so emotionally invested in a place I've never been to, but if anything happens to this Colorado ranch I would be devastated. I sometimes struggle with memoirs/biography type books as they often get bogged down with too many date/time/place details and this book really stays away from that. It's beautifully written and makes me want to sell my house and all my possessions and move out to the wilderness; or at least spend a lot more time outdoors.
Nov 07, 2018 rated it really liked it
This is a book I wouldn't normally pick up. It is a memoir, outdoorsy, and about subjects I don't give any care about. However, I heard Pam Houston speak and after her enigmatic talk I knew I had to read this book. I hadn't read anything else of hers--in fact, I didn't know she was a fiction author until I read this book. And it was wonderful.

I learned so much more than I every thought I would about the mountains in my home state. I know, I'm from Colorado but I very much dislike the outdoors. I
Nov 12, 2018 rated it it was amazing
Deep Creek is Pam Houston’s invitation to her ranch home in the high country of Colorado. She bravely invites the reader into the world she has made for herself. From an old homestead, Houston has created a refuge, a home of natural beauty, with animals both wild and domestic. Here Houston can create and refuel from her teaching and journeys around the world. This is also the place where she can become the person she was always meant to be…even when she was unsure where her journey would take he ...more
Apr 19, 2019 rated it liked it
Shelves: memoir
Some of the essays and writing in this memoir is poignant and gripped my attention, especially Houston's descriptions of her childhood and how her connection to the ranch and the security it gave her to overcome the childhood trauma. All those parts of the book are 4, 5 star in my books.

The books is a set of essays about her childhood, living on her ranch and what it means to her. And then fire, outdoor travels, etc.

But other chapters were 2 star for me. Some were likely made more frustrating
Feb 21, 2019 rated it it was amazing  ·  review of another edition
Oh my goodness this book is wonderful. I would have given it 10 stars if I could. She made me laugh, she made me cry, she made me go back and re-read sections... I had requested the library buy the ebook version of this and they did and that is what I read. But she also made me go and buy my own copy because I am pretty sure I will be returning to this book again and again. So far the best book I have read this year, and I think it will be hard to beat. I am writing a longer review for the Madre ...more
Feb 04, 2019 rated it it was amazing
I've been reading Pam Houston's books, articles, basically anything she has written since 1992. Perhaps it is our mutual affinity for wild places, our love of Colorado, that she is close in age to me and so her journeys of self-discovery seem to parallel mine -- whatever the reason, I eagerly await anything she writes.

But this book, Deep Creek, more than all the others, touched me in ways I cannot articulate. It may be this moment in history, or this moment in my own lifetime. Each chapter is i
Ellen Hartman
Jun 03, 2019 rated it it was amazing
I've been holding onto my copy of Pam Houston's Cowboys are my Weakness for my entire adult life. I don't know how or why I went to her reading at the The Elliot Bay Book Company in Seattle, but I did and I went home with a signed book. I absolutely loved those stories.

Other that that, the random chance of buying a collection of stories written by a young woman about women finding their way in the world at a time when I was also a young woman on my own all the way across the country from my hom
May 18, 2019 rated it really liked it
Shelves: favorite-books
I loved this book! I'd give it 4.5 stars...The images she paints with her writing-makes me close my eyes and easily be able to see her ranch, animals, her hopes and fears.

Deep Creek is a one of a kind collection of essays about Houston's experience connecting to her ranch in Creede, Colorado and how that has helped heal her from her traumatic childhood and past. Houston writes in prose form, and is so easy to connect with and understand.

Read this book!!!...but it has to be read when you have e
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Around the Year i...: Deep Creek, by Pam Houston 1 8 Apr 27, 2019 06:20AM  

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Houston is the Director of Creative Writing at U.C. Davis. Her stories have been selected for the Best American Short Stories, the O. Henry Awards, the Pushcart Prize, and the Best American Short Stories of the Century. She lives in Colorado at 9,000 feet above sea level near the headwaters of the Rio Grande.
“How do we become who we are in the world? We ask the world to teach us. But we have to ask with an open heart, with no idea what the answer will be.” 2 likes
“It's hard for anybody to put their finger on the moment when life changes from being something that is nearly all in front of you to something that happened while your attention was elsewhere.” 2 likes
More quotes…