Dr. Alicia Barber is the author of the excellent history, Reno’s Big Gamble, which we reviewed in our first issue. For years she helmed the University of Nevada, Reno’s Oral History Program, and has since moved on other work in the area. You should follow her blog, which details her work, Reno history, and more. Take a look here.
The great Reno band, Richmond Fontaine, fronted by great Nevada author Willy Vlautin, has been quiet for some time now but recently released an update to fans. Included:
- Their amazing album, “Winnemucca” is being released on vinyl. This is one of their greatest albums, if not their best. Take a listen to “Winner’s Casino” here.
- The band will soon be inducted into the Oregon Music Hall of Fame.
- The movie adaptation of Willy’s excellent novel, The Motel Life, will be released on November 8th.
- And, his new novel, The Free, is coming out next February
- There is plenty more news, so go to their Website to learn more.
I have been eagerly awaiting my review copy of the great Don Waters‘ forthcoming novel, Sunland. I’ve known Don since I was in high school, and think that his short story collection, Desert Gothic, is not only an extraordinary work, but also one of the books that will one day be seen as contributing to the rebirth of Nevada literature–along with Willy Vlautin’ The Motel Life, Claire Vaye Watkins’ Battleborn, H. Lee Barnes’ Car Tag, and a handful of others. Speaking of Watkins, this is what she says about Sunland:
“I deeply envy the readers about to embark on their first trip to Sunland. Don Waters’s novel is a zany adventure, a borderland thrill ride through the super-saturated Sonoran desert led by a rakish tour guide. A witty riot from first page to last!”
A pretty decent endorsement from one of the state’s best writers. That certainly won’t be the last of its kind for this excellent writer. Anyway, like I said I’ve been excited about this book for a long time now, at least since Don told me a little bit about it a few years back. Based on that conversation, I couldn’t faithfully recount the plot of the book, but the publisher’s copy language is now floating around the web. Here’s the description:
Sid Dulaney, in his mid-thirties, between jobs and short on funds, has moved back to Tucson to take care of his beloved grandmother. To hold down the cost of her prescriptions, he reluctantly starts smuggling medications over the border. His picaresque misadventures involve the lovable eccentrics at her retirement village, Mexican gang threats, a voluptuous former babysitter, midnight voicemails from his exasperated ex-girlfriend, and, perplexingly, a giraffe. This first novel by the winner of the Iowa Short Fiction Award proves Waters is an important new voice in American fiction. A big, rollicking, character-filled novel, Sunland is an entertaining and humane view at life on the margins in America today.
Waters is an important new voice in American fiction. Check out his story, “With the Saints on Battle Mountain,” in the Fall 2010 issue of The Nevada Review, or his story, “Española,” which can be read online here. Or check out this Nevada-centric interview with him here.
This is going to be a great book. I can’t wait to read it.
- “Nothing New or Novel”: Women in Nevada Politics Before 1919 by Dana R. Bennett
- Excerpts from Rants from the Hill Michael P. Branch
- World War II Homefront In Nevada: Excerpts from the University of Nevada Oral History Collection
- Excerpt from Everyday Las Vegas: Local Life in a Tourist Town by Rex J. Rowley
- Poetry: “Ten Poems” by Delinda Braun
- Fiction: “The Midweek Trainer” by Matthew Reed
- Fiction: “New Days of the Wolf” by Josh Woods
- Fiction: An excerpt from The Woodsman Gary T. Cage
- Interview: Susan Skorupa Mullen, Reno Gazette-Journal
- New and Noteworthy: Recently Published from the University of Nevada Press
- Writer’s Essay: “The Ethics of the Book Review” by Caleb S. Cage
- Book Reviews
- Tahoe Trap by Todd Borg
- You Came Back by Christopher Coake
- The Gold Rush Letters of E. Allen Grosh and Hosea B. Grosh by Ronald M. James and Robert E. Stewart
- Rethinking Public Sector Compensation: What Ever Happened to the Public Interest? By Thom Reilly
- Base Camp Las Vegas: Hiking the Southwestern States by Deborah Wall
- Battleborn by Claire Vaye Watkins
Former Nevada Governor Bob Miller, Nevada’s longest-serving governor in history, has published his autobiography, Son of a Gambling Man, with Thomas Dunne books, a division of St. Martin’s Press. Miller’s memoirs span from his childhood in Chicago through his years in the U.S. Air Force, as deputy district attorney in Clark County, as Nevada’s lieutenant governor, to his notable ten-year tenure as our state’s governor.
Through those years and posts, Miller battled the ghosts of his father’s legacy in Las Vegas and the myriad twists, turns, challenges, and pitfalls of a life in politics — particularly those unique to a life in Nevada politics.
From Kirkus Reviews:
Chicago native Miller was just 10 years old when his illegal bookmaker father got the opportunity to run “a legal (but posh) gambling resort in…Las Vegas.” The Sin City of the 1950s bore no resemblance to the sprawling metropolis it would become: “Las Vegas spread out like boiling water on a flat surface, the streets almost swallowed by the desert.”
Son of a Gambling Man is on sale now at bookstores and online. Miller will be signing the book at Barnes and Noble in Reno on March 25 at 7pm.
The Reno Gazette-Journal has a great piece up on their Website about the great-grandson of the famous Wizard of Oz author, who lives in North Las Vegas, and his efforts to keep the legacy alive. Here is an interesting part:
Since 1989, Roger Baum has carried on his great-grandfather’s legacy, publishing 15 of his own Oz books, with a 16th — “The Oz Enigma” — expected to arrive in March. His first book, “Dorothy of Oz,” also is in production to become an animated film starring Lea Michele, Dan Aykroyd and Kelsey Grammer, among others.
Read the whole article here.
Carson City author wins awards for his book.
Sierra Nevada College Presents Tracy Ross for a reading and a workshop. The free reading is open to the public and will be held from 7-9pm on Friday, February 8. Visit here to register.
Why do cowboy poets have mustaches?
Bookmark: Signings and events in Las Vegas.
Las Vegas Book Briefs for Feb. 5-11.
Clark County resident “Rudy” writes a book.
The Squaw Valley Institute will host farmer and writer Joel Salatin on Feb. 13. Go here to learn more Mr. Salatin, who was featured in the documentary Food, Inc.
A local Carson City author is releasing a new book loosely based on her life called Bits and Pieces
The University of Nevada Press is proud to announce that their book Atomic Comics: Cartoonists Confront the Nuclear World, by the late Ferenc Morton Szasz, has been chosen by Choice magazine as one of the Outstanding Academic Titles published in 2012. More info on the book here.
Great Basin College is hosting an art exhibition looks at Chinese culture called “Celestial Grammar: Words and Forms of Loss and Longing,” which will open this week and remain installed through March 19.
Sierra Nevada College presents Kelly Groom in their Writers in the Woods Series. According to their announcement: “Groom has received critical acclaim for her memoir I Wore the Ocean in the Shape of a Girl, including Best Memoir of 2011 by Library Journal, and being chosen as an Oprah.com O Magazine selection and featured in Best American Poetry 2010.” Go here to register and for more information.
The Las Vegas review-Journal always runs great pieces on literary culture in souther Nevada. Be sure to check out the latest book briefs, book events and signings, and their Literary Las Vegas section.
And art on local Reno architecture, here.
Ten Questions on The Gold Rush Letters of E. Allen Grosh and Hosea B. Grosh, Edited by Ronald M. James and Robert E. Stewart, Published by the University of Nevada Press.
Who were the Grosh brothers?
E. [Ethan] Allen and Hosea B. [Ballou] Grosh were two young men drawn, like thousands of others, to the California Gold Rush. An astounding 300,000 men came to California between 1848 and 1855.
Two things were unusual about these brothers. One, unlike many forty-niners, they were well educated. (Their father, the Reverend Aaron B. Grosh, was a prominent Universalist minister, a leader in the Odd Fellows and a co-founder of The Grange). Most of the letters from the brothers are to their father, and they are full of lively observations, just what you would expect from two men 24 and 22 who have left home to see the world.
Two, they stayed in California, and persisted in looking for wealth–most would-be miners, disappointed and broke, moved on quickly. Despite many setbacks, Allen and Hosea remained cheerful and optimistic, always convinced that their latest plans would finally succeed.
Tell us about the book.
Historians have long known and written about the Grosh brothers, for they were among the earliest prospectors in the Great Basin, what was then Utah Territory, where later the Comstock Lode was found. After discovering evidence of both silver and gold in the area, the brothers died tragically young, before they could investigate further. Their family, hoping for a share in the fabulous wealth of the Comstock, gathered every scrap of evidence and preserved it. The Gold Rush Letters publishes the collection, transcribed and well-annotated, making them available to the general public for the first time.
Why are the letters significant?
One, the collection is complete; there are no gaps; the family preserved every letter they wrote. This book tells a complete story: from the first letter home, saying “We sail tomorrow” to Allen’s last, “We have had a very narrow escape of it”, written two days before he died.
Two, they were lively writers, interested in the politics of their time, the new and raw state of California, and all else young men could see and care about. The letters are astonishingly readable and fascinating. This is not dry history; these read like postcards from a friend.
Three, they were among the earliest explorers in the Great Basin and what became Nevada. This is important primary source material, now made readily available to future historians and writers. Read the rest of this entry »