Good Reads - Fiction
Western Landscapes: Stories from the Rocky Mountain States
Anaya, Rudolfo - Albuquerque -
New Mexico, a city built on the confluence of Anglo,
Hispanic, and Native American cultures, the complexities
of the Southwest are illuminated when old secrets are exposed.
A dying woman's request to see the son she was forced
to give up twenty years earlier, opens the door to the
past and begins a young man's search for his place
among the disparate cultures of Albuquerque.
Berger, Thomas - Little
Big Man - 1964,
Return of Little Big Man - 1999, 432p.
Jack Crabb, at
the spry age of 111, recounts tales of the great wild
from the 1850's through the
1893 Chicago World's Fair. A white man raised by
Cheyenne Indians, Jack Crabb, Little Big Man, managed to
be present for most of the great events of the second half
of the 19th century. Horse-stealing forays, the Sand Creek
Massacre, riding with Custer at Little Bighorn, Wild Bill
Hickok's last days, and traveling with Buffalo Bill's
Wild West Show, Jack did it all, knew 'em all, and
ain't shy tell'n all.
Black, Michelle - Never
Come Down - 1996,
Darcy Close's plans for a quick trip to see the
ghost town she recently inherited, Leap Year, Colorado,
change when she stumbles onto a mysterious letter and a
handsome jack-of-all-trades. Breathtaking vistas and a
quaint Victorian house aren't the only surprises
waiting for Darcy in Leap Year. Who could ignore the handsome
Evan Allister, or the curious letter chronicling the hardships
and family secrets of life in Leap Year in the 1870's?
Both send Darcy scrambling for answers.
Castillo, Ana - So
Far from God - 1993,
In a small New Mexico village, Sophia, abandoned
by her deadbeat, but very handsome, husband, does her
raise four unusual daughters: Esperanza, the radical; Caridad,
the beauty; Fe, the stable one; and La Loca, the baby of
the family (whose resurrection and familiarity with the
unseen brings its own notoriety). With God's help,
or not, Sophia is determined to take life's obstacles
in stride as her family bumps from one calamity to the
Coldsmith, Don - Trail
of the Spanish Bit - 1980, 180p.
a Spanish Conquistador and his horse are adopted by a
southwestern tribe, the ways of the native nomadic
people are changed forever. At first sight, Coyote is unsure
what to think of the god that falls off of the mysterious
elk-dog. After the god removes his shiny mask, however,
Coyote feels quite sure it is, in fact, not a god but a
man, from a far off, and quite furry tribe. Coyote and
his tribe slowly adopt the stranger, and many of his new
ways influence their daily lives. (First book in the Spanish
Bit Saga series)
Dallas, Sandra - The
Diary of Mattie Spenser: A Novel - 1997, 229p.
A diary, discovered in the panel of
an old trunk, details the secret hardships and hopes
of a young pioneer woman.
Mattie could not have expected the life she was to face
when Luke Spenser asked her to marry him and travel to
a homestead on the plains of Colorado Territory. The homestead
is a shock, exactly three trees on the entire acreage,
and their new home just a tarp over the wagon until the
soddy can be built. Mattie Spenser's diary eloquently
recounts the first years of a marriage on a Colorado homestead
Doig, Ivan - Ride
with Me, Mariah Montana - 1990, 324p.
a wry eye, and a touch of sentiment, Jick McCaskill chauffeurs
his photographer daughter, Mariah, and no good
ex-son-in-law, columnist Riley Wright, around the State
of Montana in his Winnebago while the pair chronicle Montana's
centennial summer. Although chaperoning and chauffeuring
take a lot of energy, Jick can't help an occasional
glimpse to the past, as the three traveling companions
examine the present and ponder the future.
F/GARCIA y ROBERTSON
Garcia y Robertson, R. - American
Woman - 1998,
Sarah Kilory, American Woman, views the transformation
of the American West, as both a woman of strong medicine
and a modern white woman of the 1870's. American
Woman, second wife to Sioux warrior Yellow Legs, chronicles
the changing frontier, as she, Yellow Legs, and first wife
Raven journey along the spine of the continent from Yellowstone
and the Dakotas to Texas, witnessing the introduction of
the iron horse, the demise of the buffalo, and the disintegration
of many Native American nations.
Hawkes, G.W. - Surveyor - 1998, 250p.
John Soupe and Paul
Merline, hired after the Korean War to survey northern
New Mexico, have been charting the region
in relative isolation for almost thirty years. They've
mapped its skeleton, marked the rivers, and explored the
caves. Events, however, encroach on their long-time friendship
and self-imposed isolation, when outsiders invade "their" desert,
and threaten to invite the rest of the world.
Hyson, Dick - The
Calling - 1998, 422p.
Diggin' fence posts, fixin' windmills, and
milkin' cows, along with ridin' fences, brandin' cattle,
and breakin' horses, Cross S ranch hand Frank Dalton
has the cowboy's calling. Now it's time to
pass along the day-to-day details of a cowboy's life,
in 1950's cattle country of New Mexico, to greenhorn,
R.C. As if that wasn't enough, both are drawn to
unravel a puzzle that threatens a neighbor's ranch,
while trying to win the hearts of some very special ladies.
Jones, Robert F. - Deadville:
A Novel - 1998,
A Western thriller, Deadville chronicles the events
which defined the life of eighty-five-year-old Dillon
Having fled the Pennsylvanian coal mines in 1833, Dillon
and his brother, Owen, head for the Rocky Mountains, "seeking
the riches of the west." Instead of riches, however,
their discovery of Los Padres Perdidos, a deserted Spanish
gold mine, spins the brothers' lives onto paths of
vengeance and loss.
Littell, Robert - Walking
Back the Cat - 1996,
Parsifal slipped into the southwest U.S. and waited.
The Berlin Wall fell. The Cold War ended, and he waited.
some fifteen years later, he's been activated as
a KGB assassin. His contact says the orders are from a
new "Resident," one with a mission. Parsifal
doesn't question his orders, at first, but what could
the KGB have against Apaches in New Mexico? Where are the
orders really coming from? To find answers, he'll
have to uncover the identity of the new "Resident." He'll
have to... walk back the cat.
Mapson, Jo-Ann - Loving
Chloe: A Novel - 1998,
The relationship which weaves around Chloe Morgan,
Hank Oliver, and Junior Whitebear forms a complex bond
passion, faith, and love. When Chloe arrives on Hank's
doorstep in Cameron, Arizona, pregnant and with a lifetime
of baggage, she is unsure of anything except her faith
in Hank. This fragile relationship is shaken when Junior
Whitebear delivers Chloe's baby, and a new bond emerges.
Against the stark northern Arizona landscape Chloe, Hank,
and Junior struggle to form lives in which each can survive.
Preston, Douglas and Lincoln Child - Thunderhead - 1999,
Armed with a letter and satellite images, archaeologist
Nora Kelly leads a high-powered team through the nightmarish,
isolated canyons of southeastern Utah, in search of the
most important archaeological site in North America, the
ancient Anasazi city of Quivira, legendary city of Coronado's
quest. Nora believes she has proof of Quivira's existence
in a letter, written by her father before he disappeared
in those same canyons. A letter which describes his discovery
of Quivira; a letter someone, or something, wants and is
ready to kill for.
Proulx, Annie - Close
Range: Wyoming Stories - 1999, 283p.
collection of eleven short stories eloquently depicting
the harsh isolation of those whose lives revolve around
the Wyoming landscape.
Silko, Leslie Marmon - Gardens
in the Dunes: A Novel - 1999, 479p.
Separated by the Indian relocation
policies of the early 1900's, two sisters, the last of the small Sand Lizard
Tribe, are drawn to find their way back to each other and
their traditional life among the terraced gardens of the
Arizona desert. Indigo's travels with an American
couple take her east, through the glorious gardens of New
England and Europe, while Sister Salt wanders the Southwest
in hope of reuniting with her sister. Though the sisters
are set on divergent paths, each follows the whisper of
the dune gardens to return home.
Smith, Diane - Letters
From Yellowstone - 1999,
During the summer of 1898, a small group of naturalists,
on a shoestring budget, set out to catalogue the wonders
of the natural world within the borders of Yellowstone
National Park. Professor Howard Merriam's expedition
faces challenges from the start, not the least of which
is the fact that botanist A.E. Bartram turns out to be
an Alexandria instead of an Alexander. Letters from members
of the expedition describe the habits and habitats of life
in the park, from insects and plants, to the park's
human inhabitants, bringing Yellowstone, at the turn of
the last century, to life.
Watson, Larry - Montana
1948 - 1993, 175p.
The summer of
1948 drifted by in typical fashion for twelve-year-old
David Hayden, swimming, fishing, riding horses, shooting
beer cans, and exploring the wilds surrounding Bentrock,
Montana, until the parched winds of mid-August blew in.
Allegations of abuse of young Indian women by David's
Uncle Frank strain David's world as he watches his
family grapple with fundamental questions of loyalty and
Welch, James - Indian
Lawyer - 1990, 349p.
Calf is a success story. A former basketball star, Stanford
Law graduate, and successful young lawyer
in a prestigious Helena, Montana, law firm, with a shot
at Congress. Not bad for a boy raised by grandparents on
a remote Blackfeet reservation in Montana. But blackmail
threatens everything Yellow Calf has worked for. As he
moves to protect himself, and those who are close to him,
Yellow Calf has to decide which world he chooses to live
and succeed in.
Wheeler, Richard - The
Buffalo Commons - 1998,
The end of the 20th Century finds competing interests,
governmental agencies, environmentalists, and old-time
ranchers, vying for the high plains of Montana.
One of the few ranch families left, Cameron Nichols' family
has ranched in Montana for generations. As the end of the
20th Century approaches, the Nichols, tied so closely to
the land, face the loss of not only their ranch, but also
their heritage. The family is faced with hard choices,
fight for their heritage and land, or give in to the various
interests competing for the plains of Montana.
Prepared by Terri A. Williams, January 2000