Ten Colorado pounds to give as a 2021 gift


The holiday season is upon us, which means you’re probably starting to wonder how to show your love to family and friends through retail. Peace on earth? Too hard to wrap up. Good will towards men? Wow, one way to bring patriarchy there.

A book is one of the few gifts you can give that not only supports the arts, but also makes you look like a smarty-pants. After all, reading is fundamental. It leads to empathy and deeper thinking – two things we clearly need now. What is also needed these days is support for the arts, especially local arts. So if you receive a book as a gift, make it more personal by choosing one from a Colorado author.

Look no further than this list for some of the best options and bonus points if you buy these books as a local joint. Denver has plenty of them, and they’re all important to the community. There are Tattered Cover, BookBar, Capitol Hill Books, Westside Books, Mutiny and many more. Cross someone off your gift list while supporting local arts and local businesses? This is called a holiday trifecta.

What if we were elsewhere blanket.

Santa Fe Writer’s Project

What if we were elsewhere?
Wendy fox

Short stories are sometimes overlooked in the literary market, but every year there is a new one just waiting to wow the reader with pithy character-based journeys. In recent years, Colorado has seen great works come out of the state, like that of Kali Fajardo-Anstine Sabrina & Corina and RL Maize’s We love Anderson Cooper and 2021 brought us Wendy J. Fox’s What if we were elsewhere? Fox’s book consists of related stories that ask how a group of former employees of a recently closed company manages to move on and begin to rebuild their careers, lives and essential selves. Fox’s latest book, If the ice had held, also earned a place in the 2019 edition of this annual list.

Click to enlarge Cover of the commemorative route.  - MARIA WOLF

Commemorative tower blanket.

Maria wolf

Commemorative tower
Stephen Graham Jones and Maria Wolf
From the fertile mind of University of Colorado Boulder author and writing professor Stephen Graham Jones comes this “chaotic high-speed chase through the southwest.” Commemorative tower is part western, part road movie, part house thriller from the 80s and quintessentially American. Jones’ screenplay marries the art of Wolf to create a vibrant, violent story – one that just might be true.

Denver’s missing landmarks
Mark A. Grange
Denver historian and writer Mark A. Barnhouse gave us two books in 2021: this one, Denver’s missing landmarks, which is a vast memory of the spaces that Mile High City has lost in its history. From commercial buildings to stately homes and everything in between, it’s a stroll through the streets of Denver that you can only see in the mind’s eye. Barnhouse’s other book, Ragged cover bookstore: a rich history,
worth a look too.

Click to enlarge Guide cover - KNOPF

Peter Heller
Peter Heller isn’t just a great Colorado writer – he’s one of the modern literary faces of the state. Her books, even when they’re not set in Colorado, still feel a kinship with the state and its way of life. the last of Heller, Guide, takes place right here in Colorado. It’s full of fishing and mystery, adventure and murder. And if that doesn’t appeal to the fishing thriller in you, you may need to ditch your waders.

The Jewish Book of Horror
Josh schlossberg
Josh Schlossberg had a good year in 2021, and not just because he edited another terrifying and entertaining collection of locally grown horror. The Jewish Book of Horror, is just as good for cramming a bottom as it is on one of Hanukkah nights, thanks to the twisted creative minds of the Denver Horror Collective. Schlossberg’s recent novel, Malinae, was covered by Westword earlier this year and was recently named Novel of the Year by the Horror Writers Guild.

Click to enlarge A Certain Appeal blanket.  - GP PUTNAM'S AND SON

A certain attraction blanket.

GP Putnam’s and Sons

A certain attraction
Vanessa King
Do you have a friend who is completely into the burlesque? Or NYC? Or Pride and Prejudice? How about all three, brought together in a scintillating Big Apple translation of the classic Jane Austen story of Elizabeth and Mr. Darcy? This is what Colorado author Vanessa King creates in A certain attraction, which critics cannot speak of without using terms such as “sassy”, “sassy”, “sizzling” and “bewitching”. And these are only the ones that start with the letter S.

The limits of their home
Blake sanz
Blake Sanz teaches writing at the University of Denver, and his latest book, The limits of their home, won the Iowa Short Fiction Award. This linked collection explores how immigrant and indigenous characters are shaped by the absence of family and geography. With a prose that is both lyrical and accessible, this is a first collection that Editor’s Weekly calls “remarkable,” saying it “is filled with moments of culture shock and characters negotiating with the tenuous hold on land they call home. ”

Mourning mall
R. Alan Brooks and Sarah Trapl
Graphic novels, as a form, have a lot to offer the literary scene, and R. Alan Brooks of Denver has been working on form for some time now, with works including The burning metronome and Garden of Anguish. Now he’s back with artist Sarah Trapl to tackle the subject of loss and emptiness in our modern history. Their book Mourning mall is a beautiful take on a difficult subject – exactly what literature is supposed to accomplish.

Click to enlarge The cover of Cape Doctor.  - LITTLE, BROWN, AND COMPANY

The Cape Doctor blanket.

Little, Brown and company

The Cape Doctor
EJ Levy
Gorgeous. Reflexive. Heartbreaking. These are all words attributed to EJ Levy’s 2021 landmark novel The Cape Doctor, on the life of Dr James Miranda Berry, who was born an impoverished Irish girl in Cork and grew up to be an accomplished and acclaimed male doctor in Cape Town. It’s a story that took place a long time ago, but speaks directly to the environment of gender equality and recognition, which is at the forefront of our national discussion today.

The dead husband
Carter Wilson
Denver author Carter Wilson has been releasing thrillers after satisfying thrillers for years now and has won more than one Colorado Book Award along the way. So there’s a good chance her work already has a place on many Mile High shelves. His latest, The Dead Husband, is a “scary” story with “surgical precision”. It’s the kind of story that takes hold of you and doesn’t let go. You know, like it’s when your pungent upper lip aunt gives you a vacation hug.

Have any other suggestions for the perfect Colorado 2021 writers to give as a gift? Share them on [email protected]

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