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October 15, 2012

Issue Summary: Our annual Books and Essays issue features essays about finding our place in the West by Craig Childs, Hannah Nordhaus and Sarah Gilman, author profiles, and many reviews of new books.

Feature

Vagabond writer Craig Childs on 20,000 years of wanderlust
Vagabond writer Craig Childs on 20,000 years of wanderlust
The author traces the paths of peoples that have wandered the earth for centuries, from Alaska to the Southwest.
The soul in Suite 100: A ghost story
The soul in Suite 100: A ghost story
The author considers family lore and legends, including a ghost story about her great-grandmother in New Mexico.
The fossil record: How my family found a home in the West
The fossil record: How my family found a home in the West
The Gilman clan didn't go on normal vacations; their fossil-addicted parents trundled them across the West looking for the shells of long-extinct sea creatures.

Editor's Note

The place where you are
The place where you are
These days, most Westerners aren't born. We're made.

Current

Best of the West: Our favorite books
Best of the West: Our favorite books
Western authors and HCN staffers share their most-loved writing about the region.
Fall books offer journeys of the mind
Fall books offer journeys of the mind
New Western fiction and nonfiction for fall 2012.
Western literary journals give voice to story and place
Western literary journals give voice to story and place
A number of literary journals offer different perspectives on the West.

Uncommon Westerners

Already gone: a profile of Muscogee (Creek) poet Joy Harjo
Already gone: a profile of Muscogee (Creek) poet Joy Harjo
The author of She Had Some Horses and In Mad Love and War discusses her new memoir, Crazy Brave.
Inside the orchard: A conversation with novelist Amanda Coplin
Inside the orchard: A conversation with novelist Amanda Coplin
The Portland, Ore., based writer talks about the role of landscape in her writing and her debut novel, The Orchardist.
Existential nomad: A profile of author Ruben Martinez
Existential nomad: A profile of author Ruben Martinez
The author asks questions about life in the desert West -- who belongs there, and what belongs to whom.
The West in my blood: A profile of Eddie Chuculate
The West in my blood: A profile of Eddie Chuculate
The Native American author writes fresh but familiar stories.
Three Nevada fiction writers make their debut
Three Nevada fiction writers make their debut
New authors Tupelo Hassman, Ben Rogers, and Claire Vaye Watkins discuss how Nevada inspired their fiction and the themes of their work.

Essays

Student essay: The view from the East
Student essay: The view from the East
It took going east -- to Maine -- for the author to understand the West.
Student essay: Lost and found in the sagebrush
Student essay: Lost and found in the sagebrush
Wandering in the underappreciated sagebrush sea.
Student essay: How I became a Westerner and why it doesn't matter
Student essay: How I became a Westerner and why it doesn't matter
I'm a Westerner by birth, but family and community matter more than location.

Book Reviews

The true believer and the skeptic: A review of River Republic and A Ditch in Time
The true believer and the skeptic: A review of River Republic and A Ditch in Time
Two optimistic new books discuss aging water infrastructure in the West.
Suffering and freedom in a microcosm: A review of San Miguel
Suffering and freedom in a microcosm: A review of San Miguel
T.C. Boyle's new novel focuses on the lives of two California families living on San Miguel island.
The wild without and within: A review of Wilderness
The wild without and within: A review of Wilderness
Lance Weller's debut novel traces the path of a Civil War veteran in the Pacific Northwest.
An epic tale of true crime in the West: A review of Hard Twisted
An epic tale of true crime in the West: A review of Hard Twisted
C. Joseph Greaves bases his novel on a long-ago murder in Utah.
Celebrating what remains: A review of The Dog Stars
Celebrating what remains: A review of The Dog Stars
Award-winning adventure writer Peter Heller sets his debut novel in apocalypse-stricken Colorado.
A tribute to solitude and community: A review of Tributary
A tribute to solitude and community: A review of Tributary
Colorado resident Barbara K. Richardson crafts a novel about a pioneer girl finding her own salvation in Mormon Utah.

Dear Friends

Finding funk in Western Colorado, sadistic races, corrections
Finding funk in Western Colorado, sadistic races, corrections
High Country News gets visitors from all around, searching for homes and going on adventures.

Letters

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