DENVER (KDVR) – There are likely plenty of books left to crack open on your ever-expanding home bookshelf, but why not add a few that actually carry relevance to the city and state that you may now call home?
Here are a few bits of locally-based literature that will bring some regional culture to your discussion palate while also making your brain say, “Thank you for the long overdue workout.”
Cry Father (2014)
Partially taking place in the San Luis Valley, this book is written around the complex impacts a father can have on a son, and vice versa. The main character, while doing what he can to come to grips with the loss of his child, heads west towards his remote home in southern Colorado.
“Whitmer offers dark literary fiction delving into incalculable loss mirrored by the vagaries of father-son relationships,” reads one review from Kirkus.
Throughout his journey, he bumps into Denver drug dealers, a coworker who’s amid a kidnapping plot and a former rodeo cowboy whose situation seems to mirror the one he had with his own son.
Freak Power: Hunter S. Thompson’s Campaign for Sheriff (2015)
Daniel Joseph Watkins
The person who penned “Fear and Loathing in Las Vegas, and other American Stories,” Hunter S. Thompson, also played a role in Aspen’s political history after he left the 1968 Democratic Convention in Chicago disgusted.
According to Goodreads, Thompson returned to Aspen to find authorities acting in a similar fashion to those who were seen abusing the protesters outside of the convention he had just left. This led to his decision to run for the elected position of Aspen’s sheriff so that he could make the mining town less conservative and more welcome to, as he put it, the freaks.
This book follows that period in Thompson’s life and depicts the mayhem surrounding his run for office.
Butcher’s Crossing (1960)
The year is 1870 and a Harvard dropout has decided to head west in search of why he chose to complete such an act, a trek that has landed him in Butcher’s Crossing in Kansas.
There, the main character meets another who’s searching for financial stability and has an interesting lead on a job that involves the immense herds of buffalo roaming in a valley in the Rockies.
Goodreads outlines how the book unravels into the historical impacts of the buffalo slaughter that hit this area before the turn of the 20th century, and the impact it had on the individuals who executed this massive overhunting tragedy.
James A. Michener
The author, known for his prolific output when it comes to regionally focused epochs, put this book together while living in his Capitol Hill apartment in the early 1970s, according to Colorado Virtual Library.
This fictional novel is based on history and takes place primarily in the Greeley area. It highlights the long-running struggles of the Arapahoe nation and other tribes who were impacted by westward expansion, including the Sand Creek Massacre.
The book’s latter half also touches on the cattle industry, which the Colorado Virtual Library says is probably based on the Monfort Companies. This is the same Monfort family to which Colorado Rockies owner Dick Monfort belongs.
On the Road (1957)
“Here I was in Denver … I stumbled along with the most wicked grin of joy in the world, among the bums and beat cowboys of Larimer Street,” reads a passage of Kerouac’s generation-depicting book, describing the main character’s pleasure at being among those in the “Beat generation,” according to Visit Denver.
This book only took three weeks to write back in 1951 and is believed to be autobiographical in nature, outlining the hindered maturing of main character Sal Paradise and the reckless Dean Moriarty as they traverse the country from east to west in search of themselves, according to Brittanica.
Taking place in Shale City, this piece of fiction details the small-town life of John Abbot as his patriarchy over the city is challenged by the arrival of the Great Depression.
According to Echo Point Books, Trumbo drew heavily on his childhood in Grand Junction and many of the characters are based on those who he lived alongside during that time. Trumbo would eventually be blacklisted as part of the McCarthy-era Red Scare.
The Shining (1977)
This list would be incomplete if this classic novel turned Kubrick film wasn’t mentioned.
According to Brittanica, this book set in Colorado in the 1970s was written by King after he spent a stay in the Stanley Hotel in Estes Park.
If you haven’t seen the movie iteration then why not read it first and see what had Stanley Kubrick so upset about Stephen King’s input during the film’s production. Cinema Blend had plenty to say about the relationship between the two men, including a crashed car in the film that was meant to be a nose-snubbing from Kubrick toward King.
So in conclusion, your reading list may have just gotten a smidge larger, but now it has some books pertinent to your day-to-day life here in the Centennial State.