The reading season

 

After the summer's whirl of activity, after the mountains have been hiked and the rivers have been run and the garden has been weeded for what we hope to God is the final round, it's a good time to kick back with a book. Fall invites a slower pace, gives us lazy afternoons by the woodstove to lose ourselves in words. This autumn's crop of great new reads includes offerings from much-loved authors, like T.C. Boyle Stories II, a wicked-funny story collection from the California master, and the latest from Ivan Doig, Sweet Thunder, about the further adventures of Morrie Morgan from The Whistling Season. For fans of now-deceased mystery writer Tony Hillerman, his daughter, Anne Hillerman, has written Spider Woman's Daughter, continuing the saga of Navajo sleuths Leaphorn and Chee. And lesser-known authors have produced some intriguing titles. In the novel In Calamity's Wake, Canadian writer Natalee Caple imagines Calamity Jane's abandoned daughter on a quest to find her notorious mother. Oregon author Don Waters' Sunland is an authentic and comical novel set in Tucson and the Sonoran Desert. From Chicano noir author Ito Romo comes The Border Is Burning, haunting stories that take place along the chaotic, often violent border between the U.S. and Mexico. Love and Terror on the Howling Plains of Nowhere: A Memoir is itinerant writer Poe Ballantine's exploration of a murder in Nebraska and of his High Plains town. The endless wolf wars are chronicled by Aimee Lyn Eaton in Collared: Politics and Personalities in Oregon's Wolf Country. We're proud to note new books by HCN contributors, too: Jared Farmer's Trees in Paradise: A California History, Kathie Durbin's posthumous Bridging a Great Divide: The Battle for the Columbia River Gorge, and a memoir from Bryce Andrews, Badluck Way: A Year on the Ragged Edge of the West.

We're also keeping an eye out for some important works that won't be out till spring: The Crusades of Cesar Chavez, described as the "first complete and impartial biography" of the labor leader, by Miriam Pawel, and Poison Spring, an exposé of the Environmental Protection Agency by E.G. Vallianatos, a former agency insider.

Below are some of our top picks, listed alphabetically by author. If a book is currently available, no publication month is shown.

FICTION

Rain Dogs Baron R. Birtcher, The Permanent Press

T.C. Boyle Stories II T.C. Boyle, Viking Adult, October

In Calamity's Wake Natalee Caple, Bloomsbury, October

Return to Oakpine Ron Carlson, Viking

Killing Custer: A Wind River Mystery Margaret Coel, Berkley, September

Sweet Thunder Ivan Doig, Riverhead

The Best of McSweeney's Dave Eggers, McSweeney's Publishing, November

The Book of Jonah Joshua Max Feldman, Raincoast Books, February 2014

Kuessipan Naomi Fontaine, Arsenal Pulp Press, October

Spider Woman's Daughter Anne Hillerman, Harper, October

Road to Nowhere and Other New Stories from the Southwest D. Seth Horton, Brett Garcia Myhren, editors, University of New Mexico Press

The Shadows of Owls John Keeble, University of Washington Press, October

Where They Bury You Steven W. Kohlhagen, Sunstone Press

Desert Death-Song: A Collection of Western Stories Louis L'Amour, Skyhorse Publishing, October

The Thicket Joe R. Lansdale, Mulholland Books

Crow-Blue Adriana Lisboa, Bloomsbury Publishing PLC, October

If I'd Known You Were Coming Kate Milliken, University of Iowa Press, November

The Wives of Los Alamos TaraShea Nesbit, Bloomsbury, February 2014

Doomed Chuck Palahniuk, Doubleday, October

The Sky Manifest Brian Panhuyzen, ECW Press, October

This Darksome Burn: A Novella Nick Ripatrazone, firthFORTH Books, Queen's Ferry Press, October

The Border Is Burning Ito Romo, University of New Mexico Press

Even a Street Dog: Las Vegas Stories John L. Smith, CityLife Books

Raw: A Love Story Mark Haskell Smith, Grove Press, Black Cat, December

Father Junípero's Confessor Nick Taylor, Heyday

Goat Mountain David Vann, Harper Collins

Sunland Don Waters, University of Nevada Press, October

Let Him Go Larry Watson, Milkweed Editions

Grand Tally Robert Wolf, Ruskin Press, January

 

NONFICTION, BIOGRAPHY, MEMOIR

Into the Night: Tales of Nocturnal Wildlife Expeditions Rick Adams, editor, University Press of Colorado, October

Badluck Way: A Year on the Ragged Edge of the West Bryce Andrews, Simon & Schuster, Atria Books

Love and Terror on the Howling Plains of Nowhere: A Memoir Poe Ballantine, Hawthorne Books

Rough Breaks: A Wyoming High Country Memoir Laurie Wagner Buyer, University of Oklahoma Press

Accomplishing NAGPRA: Perspectives on the Intent, Impact, and Future of the Native American Graves Protection and Repatriation Act Sangita Chari, Jaime M.N. Lavallee, Oregon State University Press, November

Bridging a Great Divide: The Battle for the Columbia River Gorge Kathie Durbin, Oregon State University Press, November

Collared: Politics and Personalities in Oregon's Wolf Country Aimee Lyn Eaton, Oregon State University Press, October

Animal Stories: A Lifetime Collection Max Evans, University of Oklahoma Press

Trees in Paradise: A California History Jared Farmer, W.W. Norton & Company, October

Desert Rims to Mountains High Richard F. Fleck, Westwinds Press

Nobody's Horses: The Dramatic Rescue of the Wild Herd of White Sands Don Höglund, Simon & Schuster, Atria Books

Touching the Wild: Living with the Mule Deer of Deadman Gulch Joe Hutto, Skyhorse Publishing, November

Between Urban and Wild: Reflections from Colorado Andrea M. Jones, University of Iowa Press, November

Starting from Loomis and Other Stories Hiroshi Kashiwagi, University Press of Colorado, October

Continental Quotient: Stories from Both Sides of the Divide Kristen Lodge, Homebound Publications, October

Meander Scars: Reflections on Healing the Willamette River Abby Phillips Metzger, Oregon State University Press, October

Notes from the San Juans: Thoughts about Fly Fishing and Home Steven J. Meyers, Westwinds Press

Even Cowboys Carry Cell Phones Teresa Milbrodt, editor, University Press of Colorado, Western Press Books

Almost White: Forced Confessions of a Latino in Hollywood Rick Najera, SmileyBooks

The Crusades of Cesar Chavez Miriam Pawel, Bloomsbury, March 2014

Vacationland: Tourism and Environment in the Colorado High Country William Philpott, University of Washington Press

Death Valley National Park: A History Hal K. Rothman, Char Miller, University of Nevada Press

New Mexico: A History Joseph P. Sánchez, Robert L. Spude, Art Gómez, University of Oklahoma Press, October

Renewable: The World-Changing Power of Alternative Energy Jeremy Shere, St. Martin's Press, November

A Bushel's Worth: An Ecobiography Kayann Short, Torrey House Press

Poison Spring E.G. Vallianatos, Bloomsbury, April 2014