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A good page-turner is truly a gift that keeps on giving, whether the world you’re sending the recipient to involves fantasy, history, or even artisanal cooking. And for those who want to give local this season, Colorado is home to a thriving writer’s scene that produces great reads spanning all genres. From a comic book series that follows post-apocalyptic Native heroes on their quest to kill Christopher Columbus to a list of treats to bake before you die, here are our picks of notable new local books to give away this season.
Utah-based author Colin Clancy has begun writing his first novel, ski bum ($23), at the top of Copper Mountain over 15 years ago. On Dec. 1, readers can finally get their hands on this coming-of-age tale about “hot tub poaching, illicit sledding, and scruffy, impoverished living in a place where the wealthy vacation.” , according to the description of the book. Ten percent of pre-order sales made before December 1 go to Protect Our Winters. Online purchase.
Best-selling author and Blackfoot Native American Stephen Graham Jones is known for his horror stories centered around Indigenous voices. Last October, Jones launched a new comic book series, land divers ($4 per issue), with art by Davide Gianfelice, which follows four Indigenous survivors of the apocalypse who must go back in time to save the world. The mission: kill Christopher Columbus and prevent the creation of America. Buy at local comic stores or online.
Romance writer Alexa Martin started writing fiction based on her life as an NFL wife. And after the success of Intercepted and its sequels, the latest book from the Centennial State author, better than fiction ($17) follows protagonists Jasper and Drew, who meet at a book signing and fall in love while exploring the local Denver scene. Buy online or at local bookstores.
This week-old ($28) debut novel from Denver author Erika T. Wurth follows a Native female protagonist who is haunted by the spirit of her mother and followed by a monster as she seeks to uncover her past. Wurth is an urban native of Apache, Chickasaw, and Cherokee descent, and weaves Stephen King-esque horror with modern family connections in this ghost story thriller. Shop at local bookstores.
For the baker in your life, this book ($25) by a local (and frequent 5280 contributor) Allyson Reedy provides a long list of recipes from famous bakers like Christina Tosi and Tieghan Gerard. Start with the S’more’s inspired cover cake and keep the KitchenAid buzzing all season long. Buy online or at local bookstores.
In The Book of Shortcuts ($20), bestselling author and former Olympic luge athlete Ruben Gonzalez shares the secrets to reaching your goals as quickly as possible, becoming a stronger leader, and creating a better life for yourself along the way. Good for CEOs, young adults, and anyone looking to get ahead, this thought-provoking read is a gift for any ambitious recipient. Online purchase.
Earlier this fall, Denver-based author Calvin B. Fisher released the second book in The Northfield Saga series: Stormrise ($23). The book follows protagonist Mark Northfield as he meets a mysterious new ally while imprisoned, against the desolate backdrop of a post-apocalyptic world filled with deadly gas. Buy online or at local bookstores.
In The Craft Brewery Cookbook ($30), local beer aficionado John Holl inspires drinkers to create more than 70 original recipes from independent breweries across the United States. Buy online or at local bookstores.
Young non-fiction buffs should check out Boulder’s range of colorful science-themed books from Steve Jenkins. His many works, many of which are co-written with his wife, Robin Page, take children from the depths of the ocean into The book of sharks ($19) to the highest highs of top of the world ($8). Shop at local bookstores. —Courtney Holden
In The Sizzling Paradox ($17) Mountain writer Lily Menon tells the story of Lyric and Kian: roommates, friends, and fellow graduate students studying sexual chemistry in romantic partners. When they offer to help each other with their own love lives, they discover new things about each other along the way. Buy online or at local bookstores.
Winner of the Colorado Book Award and the Chicano/Latino Literary Award – and 2021 inductee into the Colorado Authors Hall of Fame – Manuel Ramos has published Angels in the wind ($19) in Spring 2021. The book follows criminal-turned-detective Gus Corral (in this fourth novel featuring the protagonist) as he solves a thrilling crime mystery between Denver and eastern Colorado. Shop at local bookstores.
In the non-fiction tome Cheap Land Colorado ($30), Pulitzer Prize finalist Ted Conover, captures the off-grid life of San Luis Valley farmers through his immersive reporting. After spending five years living on and off in one of Colorado’s most desolate areas, the resulting story is one of empathy and compassion for those living on the edge of civilization. Shop at local bookstores.
This helpful book for the alcohol lover in your life ($15) explores the histories of whiskey-making around the world and recipes for all mixology abilities. Sipping on a classic or contemporary creation (we love the paper airplane) pairs well with diving into the book’s interesting trivia, like exploring the difference between “whisky” and “whisky.” Buy online or at local bookstores.