Finding that perfect gift for the readers on your list isn’t as easy as it might seem. They love books, you get them books. But which books?
Why not books from local authors? In both the spirit of the season and the spirit of local commerce, you can support Colorado writers just as you support local bookstores. With that in mind, we reread our Colorado book news over the past year to stock this list with a wide range of volumes that make excellent candidates for gift-giving — or even for your own Colorado-specific shelves.
Whatever the occasion, whatever the book lover, there’s something for everyone here, just waiting to be wrapped, unwrapped and loved.
Chris Ransick, mummer prisoner scavenger thief
The late and much-missed former Denver poet laureate (2006-2010) gave us his final collection of poetry in 2019: mummer prisoner scavenger thief. Raise a glass to his memory, and read these final poems from one of Denver’s masters of the written word.
LS Hawker, The Throwaways
Award-winning Littleton author LS Hawker’s explosive crime thriller, The Throwaways, involves mysterious deaths, a murderous drug cartel and the framing of an innocent man. It’s “a twisty, emotionally rich drama,” according to Kirkus Reviews.
Mark Mayer, Aerialists
We interviewed Mark Mayer earlier this year about Aerialists, his debut collection of stories featuring the archetypes of classic circus characters, from the lion tamer to the strongman to the clowns. Mayer used to work at the Boulder Book Store, where he launched his book earlier this year to critical praise.
Brandi Homan, Burn Fortune
If you've ever de-tasseled corn — or if you even know what that means — then you owe it to yourself to check out Brandi Homan’s Midwest-in-the-1990s novel-in-fragments, Burn Fortune, full of gut-punch lines, believable drama and a fresh take on both form and story.
Keele Burgin, Wholly Unraveled
Boulder author Keele Burgin’s memoir, Wholly Unraveled, is the raw, intimate story of abuse and survival. In this era of #MeToo, it’s exactly the sort of message readers might need: Your voice matters.
Drew Goodman, If These Walls Could Talk
Fans already know that announcer Drew Goodman lives and breathes Rockies baseball; If These Walls Could Talk offers insight into the Rockies’ inner sanctum from a guy who’s been there — and loved every moment of it.
Senator Michael Bennet, The Land of Flickering Lights
Senator Michael Bennet, currently a presidential candidate, is a busy guy — but he had enough time this past year to come out with a book, The Land of Flickering Lights: Restoring America in an Era of Broken Politics. Bennet lifts the veil on the inner workings of Congress to reveal, as he puts it, “the pathological culture of the Capitol and the consequences for us all.”
Gary Reilly, The Legend of Carl Draco
The late Denver writer Gary Reilly left us too soon, but he also left a stack of finished but unpublished books for a grateful readership. Legend of Carl Draco is his latest, a mystery that local author Mario Acevedo calls “a twisted, kinetic escapade through darkness and danger.”
Chad Chisholm, Unique Eats and Eateries of Denver
Local author, photographer and travel writer Chad Chisholm dives fork-first into the rich history of Denver’s culinary scene in Unique Eats and Eateries of Denver. From campfire cookouts of yore to the culinary explosion of today, the Mile High City has a lot of delicious history to cover.
Kevin J. Anderson, Spine of the Dragon
Best-selling author Kevin Anderson’s Spine of the Dragon: Wake the Dragon #1 is a politically charged adventure of swords, sorcery, vengeance and the rise of sleeping giants. Anderson is the author of 56 bestsellers and nearly 150 books overall; a new series from him is definitely one to watch.
Wendy J. Fox, If the Ice Had Held
Denver author Wendy J. Fox’s novel If the Ice Had Held tells the story of the cold and lonely landscape of the Mile High City, with honesty and tenderness, from one woman’s perspective. It’s a book about harbored secrets and shared discovery, told in lyric style.
Ebony Flowers, Hot Comb
Hot Comb is lots of things: memoir, cultural and racial commentary, and comic book. It’s also “fresh and absolutely groundbreaking,” according to legendary cartoonist Lynda Barry. Which all means that Ebony Flowers is an important new voice.
Steven Wingate, Of Fathers and Fire
Steven Wingate’s magical-realism novel is inspired by his own upbringing in 1980s Colorado Springs. Interested in a coming-of-age novel with both magical realism and the “weaponization of Christianity”? Here’s your book.
Andrea Bobotis, The Last List of Miss Judith Kratt
Local writer and Lighthouse instructor Andrea Bobotis wrote a novel, The Last List of Miss Judith Kratt, that weaves the narrative present with flashback moments of a fateful evening in 1929, illuminating the dark corners of a family’s past — secrets that can last a lifetime and beyond.
R.L. Maizes, We Love Anderson Cooper
Kirkus called R.L. Maizes’s short story collection We Love Anderson Cooper “genuinely witty,” “vaguely weird” and, most important, “worth reading.”
Mark Pleiss, April Warnings
Mark Pleiss’s stories in April Warnings center on the Midwestern ritual of going into an underground tornado shelter, the disappearance of a young boy, and the mythic cultural undercurrent of aliens and cultists near the railroad tracks in the so-called American Heartland.
Hillary Leftwich, Ghosts Are Just Strangers Who Know How to Knock
Local literary dynamo Hillary Leftwich's new collection, Ghosts Are Just Strangers Who Know How to Knock, includes just about everything: a little poetry, a little flash fiction, some nonfiction…and a cover that’s hard to forget.
David Boop, Straight Outta Deadwood
We covered writer and editor David Boop’s first anthology a few years back; now he’s back with a new collection in the same weird Western vein. Follow a dusty trail to the unexpected with this all-new posse of great authors.
Denver Horror Collective, Terror at 5280’
Twenty-two tales of terror set in Denver and the surrounding Front Range, from local authors who know all too well the seedy, creeping, hair-raising dread of living at a mile high.
Kali Fajardo-Anstine, Sabrina & Corina
Kali Fajardo-Anstine called her debut collection, Sabrina & Corina, “a love song to Denver” when we interviewed her earlier this year. The book was a popular and critical success when it first launched; now that it’s been short-listed for the National Book Award, it’s clear that Fajardo-Anstine is only just getting started.
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