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A good page-turner is truly a gift that keeps on giving—whether the world you’re sending the recipient into involves fantasy, history, or even craft-beer cookery. And for those that want to give local this season, Colorado is home to a thriving writers’ scene that produces great reads spanning all genres. From a comic book series that follows post-apocalyptic Indigenous heroes on a quest to kill Christopher Columbus to a bucket list of treats to bake before you die, here are our picks for new and noteworthy local books to give this season.
Ski Bum by Colin Clancy
Utah-based author Colin Clancy began writing his debut novel, Ski Bum ($23), at the top of Copper Mountain over 15 years ago. On December 1, readers can finally get their hands on this coming-of-age tale of “hot tub poaching, illicit sledding, and living scrappy and poor in a place where rich people vacation,” according to the book’s description. Ten percent of preorder sales made before December 1 go to Protect Our Winters. Purchase online.
That's only $1 per issue!
Earthdivers by Stephen Graham Jones
Best-selling author and Blackfeet Native American Stephen Graham Jones is known for horror stories centering Indigenous voices. This past October, Jones launched a new comic book series, Earthdivers ($4 per issue), with art by Davide Gianfelice, which follows four Indigenous apocalypse survivors who must go back in time to save the world. The mission: Kill Christopher Columbus and prevent the creation of America. Purchase at local comic book stores or online.
Better Than Fiction by Alexa Martin
Romance writer Alexa Martin got her start writing fiction based on her life as an NFL wife. And after the success of Intercepted and its sequels, the Centennial State author’s newest book, Better Than Fiction ($17) follows protagonists Jasper and Drew, who meet-cute at a book signing and fall in love through exploring the local Denver scene. Purchase online or at local bookstores.
White Horse by Erika T. Wurth
This weeks-old debut novel ($28) from Denver author Erika T. Wurth follows an Indigenous female protagonist who is haunted by the spirit of her mother and followed by a monster while she seeks to uncover her past. Wurth is an urban Native of Apache, Chickasaw, and Cherokee descent, and weaves Stephen King–style horror with modern family relationships in this ghost-story thriller. Purchase at local bookstores.
50 Things to Bake Before You Die by Allyson Reedy
For the baker in your life, this book ($25) by local author (and frequent 5280 contributor) Allyson Reedy provides an extensive bucket list of recipes from celebrity bakers like Christina Tosi and Tieghan Gerard. Start with the S’more’s-inspired cover cake and keep the KitchenAid humming all season long. Purchase online or at local bookstores.
The Shortcut Book by Ruben Gonzalez
In The Shortcut Book ($20), best-selling author and former Olympic luge athlete Ruben Gonzalez shares the secrets to achieving 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 empowering read is a gift for any ambitious recipient. Purchase online.
Stormrise by Calvin B. Fisher
Ealier 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, set against the desolate backdrop of a post-apocalyptic world filled with deadly gas. Purchase online or at local bookstores.
The Craft Brewery Cookbook by John Holl
In The Craft Brewery Cookbook ($30), local beer aficionado John Holl inspires imbibers to make over 70 original recipes from independent breweries around the U.S. Part cookbook, part beer-pairing guide, this is a must-read for any hophead on your list. Purchase online or at local bookstores.
The Shark Book by Steve Jenkins
Young non-fiction aficionados should check out the line-up of colorful, science-themed books from Boulder’s Steve Jenkins. His numerous works—many of which are co-written with his wife, Robin Page—take kids from the ocean depths in The Shark Book ($19) to the highest peaks in The Top of the World ($8). Purchase at local bookstores. —Courtney Holden
The Sizzle Paradox by Lily Menon
In The Sizzle Paradox ($17) Mountain-based writer Lily Menon spins a tale of Lyric and Kian: roommates, friends, and fellow grad students who are studying sexual chemistry in romantic partners. When they offer to help each other in their own love lives, they find new discoveries about each other along the way. Purchase online or at local bookstores.
Angels in the Wind: A Mile High Noir by Manuel Ramos
Winner of the Colorado Book Award and the Chicano/Latino Literary Award—and 2021 inductee into the Colorado Authors’ Hall of Fame—Manuel Ramos released Angels in the Wind ($19) in spring 2021. The book follows felon-turned-private-eye Gus Corral (in this fourth novel featuring the protagonist) as he solves a thrilling crime mystery set between Denver and Eastern Colorado. Purchase at local bookstores.
Cheap Land Colorado by Ted Conover
In the nonfiction tome Cheap Land Colorado ($30), Pulitzer Prize–Finalist Ted Conover describes life off the grid by homesteaders in the San Luis Valley using his signature immersive reporting. Having spent five years living on and off in one of Colorado’s most desolate areas, the resulting tale is one of empathy and compassion for those living on the edge of civilization. Purchase at local bookstores.
The Little Book of Whiskey Cocktails by Bryan Paiement
This useful book for the liquor enthusiast in your life ($15) explores the stories of whiskey-making around the world and recipes for all mixology abilities. Sipping a classic or contemporary creation (we like the Paper Plane) pairs well with diving into the book’s interesting trivia—like exploring the difference between “whiskey” and “whisky.” Purchase online or at local bookstores.