Nevada Gov. Steve Sisolak recently issued a request that Nevadans stay home and read books. OK, he really just asked us all to stay home to combat the surging coronavirus. But we might as well make the best of it by reading some great new books. Here’s the latest batch of Nevada-related selection, ready to carry you through the lockdown. What else were you gonna do, make sourdough bread?
• The Battle to Stay in America: Immigration’s Hidden Front Line by Michael Kagan (University of Nevada Press, $28). As the director of UNLV’s Immigration Clinic, legal scholar and writer Michael Kagan has an intimate view of how immigration policy affects lives. He tells the stories of immigrants and activists in Las Vegas while also explaining the all-too-human consequences of the current laws.
• Dark Days, Bright Nights: Surviving the Las Vegas Storm Drains by Matthew O’Brien (Central Recovery Press, $19). With his 2007 book Beneath the Neon: Life and Death in the Tunnels of Las Vegas, the journalist told the story of an oft-overlooked and unfortunate population. In his latest book, O’Brien tells the stories of 36 people who lived in the storm drains and attempted to build a better life for themselves. Though some don’t succeed, O’Brien offers many uplifting tales of recovery in this oral history.
• Comanche by Brett Riley (Imbrifex Books, $25). The debut novel by CSN English professor Brett Riley is a ghostly Western mystery that Booklist calls a “deliciously twisted tale.” Riley is an award-winning screenwriter, so you know he knows how to spin a yarn.
• Of Bone, of Ash, of Ordinary Saints: A Nevada Gospel by Gailmarie Pahmeier (WSC Press, $16). Reno’s inaugural poet laureate—and a Nevada Writers Hall of Famer—Pahmeier delivers the love letter to Nevada we all need right now. David Lee, the former Utah poet laureate, says the book is “delight-laden and unforgettable.”
FOR YOUNG READERS
• Snowshoe Thompson: Sierra Mailman and Sarah Winnemucca: A Princess for the People by John L. Smith (Keystone Canyon Press, $7). The veteran Las Vegas journalist and author turns his pen toward Nevada history with his first two entries in the Fields of Silver and Gold series. In these books, Smith introduces young readers to Northern Paiute advocate, writer and speaker Sara Winnemucca along with outdoor adventurer Snowshoe Thompson, who trekked through the wilderness in order to deliver the mail from back East.
LAS VEGAS WRITES PROJECT
• A Valley of Light and Shadow: Las Vegas Writers on Good and Evil by various authors (Huntington Press, $14). In its 11th year, the Las Vegas Writes anthology gets a new editor: author and teacher Jarret Keene. This anthology brings together 14 Las Vegas writers as they grapple with the unique bounds of morality in a place called “Sin City.” Contributors include New York Times contributors Brittany Bronson and Krista Diamond; artist Fawn Douglas; poet Elizabeth Quiñones-Zaldaña; West Las Vegas’ Poets’ Corner founder Keith A. Brantley; UNLV literature professor Beth C. Rosenberg; nudist Tim Chizmar; journalist Glenn Puit and more.
• Blurring the Lines of Race and Freedom: Mulattoes and Mixed Bloods in English Colonial America by UNLV professor Dr. A.B. Wilkinson (University of North Carolina Press, $35).
• Prayers From the Far Quarter by Southern Nevada librarian Roger DeBlanck (Blue Cliffs Books, $14).
• Jumping the Broom: The Surprising Multicultural Origins of a Black Wedding Ritual by UNLV professor Dr. Tyler D. Parry (University of North Carolina Press, $28).