February 26  |  Our Communities


10 Books by Colorado Authors That Should Be On Your Reading List

As the precautions related to COVID are extending into 2021, it looks like we’ll be hunkering down at home for a little while longer. But if you’ve already watched your entire Netflix queue twice and have run out of board games to play, you might be looking for something new to do. Luckily, Colorado authors are here to save the day with several amazing backlists that will keep you occupied for weeks on end.

That’s why we rounded up a few must-reads from Colorado authors and compiled them all in a list. There’s something on here for the thrill-seeker, the poetry-enthusiast, the sci-fi obsessed and more. Wherever your adventures take you, these books are sure to enhance your experience!

 

The Only Good Indians by Stephen Graham Jones

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Author photo courtesy of NAJ CO, CC BY-SA 4.0 via Wikimedia Commons

Stephen Graham Jones is a Blackfeet Native American author of experimental fiction, horror fiction, crime fiction and science fiction currently living and teaching in Boulder! While his more recent work is often classified as horror, Jones is celebrated for applying “literary” stylings to speculative genres, as well as productiveness, having published 22 books in just 50 years. 

While picking just one of his 22 books is hard, we highly recommend The Only Good Indianshis most recent novel. This 2020 horror novel follows four Native American men as they are haunted by a hunting trip from their past.

 

Lord of the Butterflies by Andrea Gibson

Andrea Gibson is an American poet and activist from Calais, Maine, who has lived in Boulder since 1999. They first got into poetry after attending an open mic night in Denver, where Gibson was inspired to become a spoken word poet. The majority of their work focuses on gender identity, gender norms, politics, social reform and the struggles of the LGBTQIA+ community. 

Gibson’s most recent book, Lord of the Butterflies, was a Goodreads Choice Finalist of 2019, a Gold Medal Winner in the Independent Publisher Book Awards, and a winner in The Eric Hoffer Book Award 2019 Poetry Category. The book itself is a collection of masterful poems, offering artful and nuanced looks at gender, romance, loss and family. 

 

Clockwork Angels by Kevin J. Anderson

Kevin J. Anderson

Author photo courtesy of Gage Skidmore, CC BY-SA 3.0  via Wikimedia Commons

Currently residing in Monument, Colorado with his wife and author Rebecca Moesta, Kevin J. Anderson is a well-known science fiction author. He has written spin-off novels for Star Wars, StarCraft, Titan A.E. and the X-Files. He is also the co-author of the Dune prequel series. To date, he has published more than 140 books, 50 of which have been on U.S. and international bestseller lists, and has more than 23 million books in print worldwide. 

For sci-fi lovers and music lovers alike, Clockwork Angels is a novel based on the album by Rush, a popular rock band—the drummer and lyricist of which has been friends with Anderson for more than two decades. In this unique novel, Anderson takes the themes of Rush’s songs and turns them into a very entertaining, elegantly written story of a boy on the cusp of manhood, living in a seemingly perfect society, who discovers that some dark truths lurk just beneath his world’s perfect surface. 

 

The Eagle Catcher by Margaret Coel

Boulder resident, Margaret Coelis the New York Times bestselling author of the award-winning Wind River mystery novels set among the Arapahos on Wyoming’s Wind River Reservation. They are so popular, in fact, that Coel even has her own official day here in Colorado—December 8thIn addition to her mystery novels, Coel also writes short stories, history books and articles for publications such as the New York Times and American Heritage. 

The Eagle Catcher is the first in the Wind River Series, following Father John O’Malley and lawyer Vicky Holden as they try to clear the name of a young man who was arrested for a murder they don’t believe he committedTheir journey takes them across the high plains of the Wind River Reservation to Arapaho homes and community centers, eventually taking them to the past, when the Arapahos were first forced from their homes and sent to the reservation. 

 

Intercepted by Alexa Martin

Alexa Martin is a writer and stay-at-home mom, currently living in Colorado with her husband and their four children. Over the past few years of her career, Martin has focused on romance novels, particularly the Playbook Series, a series of four football-inspired modern romances based on the eight years her husband was an NFL player. 

If you’d like to get started with Martin’s books, you’ll definitely want to start at the beginning! Intercepted is the first novel in the Playbook Series, following “perfect girlfriend” Marlee Harper who goes through a breakup with her star-NFL player before breaking up and falling for the new quarterback (and old fling!), Gavin Pope. 

Bed of Coals by Joseph Hutchison

Joseph Hutchison, Colorado Poet Laureate 2014-2019, has published more than 17 books, including a translation of flash fictions by Mexican author, Miguel Lupián. He has also co-edited two successful anthologies and written countless short stories. He currently lives in the mountains southwest of Denver, where he grew up, and teaches at the University of Denver’s University College directing three programs: Professional Creative Writing, Arts & Culture Management, and Global Community Engagement. 
Hutchison’s Bed of Coals, is a poetic sequence that tells the story of emotional crisis and recovery at the unsparing hand of Eros. The story traces hero Vander Meer’s journey toward balance and wholeness in ways that reflect his struggle: shifting points of view and mercurial mood-swings. 

Dark Matter by Blake Crouch

Blake Crouch

Author photo courtesy of Gage Skidmore, CC BY-SA 3.0, via Wikimedia Commons

While Blake Crouch was born in Statesville, North Carolina, he currently resides in Colorado, where he writes very popular science fiction and speculative fiction. He is best known for his Wayward Pines trilogywhich was adapted into the 2015 television series Wayward PinesAnother of his books, Good Behavior also premiered as a television series in November of 2016. Currently, Crouch is working on a screenplay of another one of his wildly successful novels, Dark Matter, for Sony Pictures. 

Dark Matterone of Crouch’s most notable works, is an action-packed rollercoaster adventure of time and space travel and parallel universes. It follows a man named Jason Dessen as he is abducted on his way home on a chilly Chicago evening. When he wakes, he finds himself strapped to a gurney, surrounded by strangers in hazmat suits who seem to know him and a family who is no longer his. As he struggles to adjust to the world he’s woken up in, he wonders if it is this world, or the other, that’s the dream.

 

Plainsong by Kent Haruf

Before Pueblo native Kent Haruf became a writer, he worked in a number of different places — a chicken farm in Colorado, a construction site in Wyoming, a rehabilitation hospital in Denver, a hospital in Pheonix, a presidential library in Iowa, an alternative high school in Wisconsin and as an English teacher with the Peace Corps in Turkey. While Haruf passed away in 2014, his books continue to capture readers all over the world
Haruf’s novel, Plainsong, was published in 1999 and instantly became a U.S. bestseller. Set in the fictional town of Holt, Colorado, Plainsong tells the interlocking stories of some of the inhabitants and their personal strugglesSmooth, melancholy and beautifully written, The New York Times called it, “a novel so foursquare, so delicate and lovely, that it has the power to exalt the reader.”

 

When Dimple Met Rishi by Sandhya Menon

Currently living in the foggy mountains of Colorado with her adorable cat and dogSandhya Menon is the New York Times bestselling author of several novels with lots of kissing, girl power and swoony boys. She writes mostly YA contemporary fiction but has recently branched out into adult romance with her most recent novel, Make Up, Break Up, published under her pseudonym, Lily Menon. 

The first book in her very successful Dimpleverse series is When Dimple Met Rishi, which was released in 2017. This young adult rom-com follows two Indian-American teens whose parents conspire to arrange their marriage. 

 

My Bad: A Mile High Noir by Manuel Ramos

Manuel Ramos is a retired lawyer and the author of 10 published novels and one short story collection. Throughout his time living in Colorado, he received the Colorado Bar Association’s Jacob V. Schaetzel Award, the Colorado Hispanic Bar Association’s Chris Miranda Award, the Spirit of Tlatelolco Award, and many others. His fiction has also garnered awards, including the Colorado Book Award, the Chicano/Latino Literary Awardthe Top Hand Award from the Colorado Authors League, and have even been Edgar finalists. While he mainly focuses on Chicano noir crime fiction, his books are also love stories, political dramas and mordant cautionary tales. 

My Bad: A Mile High Noir is one of Ramos’ most popular works, following ex-con Gus Corral who is fresh out of jail and intent on keeping his nose clean. That is, until he starts working as an investigator for his attorney, Luis Montez. Thrown into a mystery involving fake business partners, suspicious characters, shadowy figures, money laundering and drug smuggling—Corral must successfully navigate all the clues, and a Rocky Mountain blizzard, to keep himself and Montez alive. 

 

Happy Reading!

What books by local authors are on your bookshelf? Let us know in the comments below!


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