Now that we are deep into the winter doldrums, reading is always a good pastime to keep the gloom at bay. So why not educate yourself this winter, and tuck into Washington Irving’s “Astoria, Or Anecdotes of an Enterprise Beyond the Rocky Mountains,” originally published in 1836 (tinyurl.com/IrvingAstor).
Irving, as it turns out, counted among his friends Astoria’s founder, John Jacob Astor, who regaled the writer with tales of expanding his fur trading business to the West Coast. “Finding that I took an interest in the subject,” Irving wrote in the book’s introduction, “(Astor) expressed a regret that the true nature and extent of his enterprise and its national character and importance had never been understood, and a wish that I would undertake to give an account of it.”
From there, Irving was off and running. And running. For over 900 pages — which should keep you occupied until spring.