Nevada Roundup

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 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 »

Las Vegas Review of Books: Best Books of 2012

The good folks over at the Las Vegas Review of Books, a wonderful site that does not share its interesting commentary often enough, have written about the best books of 2012.  Both editors of this site have pretty intensive day jobs, so it is understandable that their updates are so rare, but we love the idea of their site and what they are trying to do.  Take a look at their reviews here.

Reno’s Mad Men

There will be an excellent presentation Thursday evening at 6:00PM at the Nevada Museum of Art called “Reno’s Mad Men,” which will be in conjunction with their terrific exhibit on vintage Nevada neon. The University of Nevada Oral History Program will be playing interviews with some of Reno’s top mid-century image-makers, including Roy Powers, Mark Curtis, Sr., and Bill Harrah, with photos, panelists who knew them, and classic cocktails to follow. More information here.

Nevada Roundup

Read Again Bookstore opening in Reno this Saturday

Claire Vaye Watkins’ book, Battleborn, a finalist for the Story Prize

E-Book reader help available at Washoe County libraries

Book briefs in the Las Vegas Review-Journal

Book signings and events in Las Vegas this week, Jan. 13-19

Stephens Press Celebrates Nevada’s 150th Birthday

The Las Vegas Review-Journal just announced that the publishing house associated with its parent company, Stephens Press, will help us all celebrate Nevada 150th birthday with the publication of Nevada: 150 Years in the Silver State. Since this announcement, we have spoken to Stephens Press Publisher Carolyn Hayes Uber and the project editor Geoff Schumacher to find out more. The book, which will probably be in the form of a coffee table-type book, will profile all 17 Nevada counties and its metropolitan areas, the natural beauty and landmarks of the state like Red Rock Canyon National Conservation Area and Lake Tahoe, and the state’s entertainment, gaming, mining, ranching and other important industries. During our brief talk, Geoff said that it would be more than a historical approach to the state, stating that the book would be about the state’s great future as well. We love Stephens Press, and really appreciate what they are doing for the sate and its literature. We can’t think of a press more deserving or more capable of doing such a wonderful job with this important book.

Zephyr Books in Reno to Close

Zephyr Books, a wonderful Reno used and rare bookstore, has recently announced that it is closing.  While this will be a sad loss for the northern Nevada literary community, the owners have earned their retirement, and they are offering deals to their valued customers.  See their announcement below:

Zephyr Books at 1501 South Virginia Street will be closing June 1, 2013 due to the retirement of the owners Ivye and Lee Johnson.

We want to thank all of our valued customers for their faithful support of our business through the years.

For those of you holding gift cards and trade credit cards we encourage you to redeem your credits before June 1.

Our local customers will be offered substantial discounts on the bookstore stock until the store closes. Discount offers will be posted in the store and on our website at

We will no longer be purchasing or trading for general stock books, however, we will continue to purchase selected rare and collectible books.

More details will be available on the Zephyr Books Website.

A Literary Christmas at UNR’s Mathewson-IGT Knowledge Center

The folks at UNR’s Mathewson-IGT Knowledge Center have outdone themselves (and as far as they can tell, everyone else) this year with a twist on the traditional Christmas tree — a 14-foot book tree made entirely of green and gold reference books.

It took staffer Alden Kamaunu and his helpers six hours and more than 600 books to create the display. Last year’s book tree was about half that size, and as far as UNR research librarians can tell, this year’s tree may be the largest of its kind in the world. Check out the time-lapse video of its construction below, and check out the full article.


Mark Maynard’s “Grind” launches, rounds out a notable year in Nevada lit

Looking back at 2012, it’s not a stretch to say that northern Nevada seems in the midst of a literary renaissance. No fewer than five standout novels and short story collections have been published this year from northern Nevada authors, or from Nevada authors with strong literary connections to the northern part of the state. We started the year with Tupelo Hassman’s Girl Child, and Ben Rogers’ The Flamer, then marched steadily through summer with Christopher Coake’s You Came Back, and Claire Vaye Watkins’ Battleborn.

Each of these has received national press and recognition, and, alongside numerous other books sprouting from the region this year, have helped to re-energize the northern Nevada literary community and put it back on the map as a growing epicenter for great literature. Now we wrap up the year with the December 25 launch of Mark Maynard’s debut short story collection, Grind –– an eavesdropping of sorts on the everyday characters that inhabit Reno, both on its streets and in its imagination. Maynard’s collection, like Watkins’, explores what it’s like to be fundamentally Nevadan, which is to say whirling at the crossroads of several different, often conflicting cultures and environments.

Sundance Bookstore in Reno is hosting a book launch celebration for Grind on Thursday, December 6, at 6:30. For more information on both the book and the event, visit Sundance online.

Two Documentaries at the Nevada Museum of Art Saturday, December 1

Mike Branch wears many hats: he is a Professor of Literature and Environment at the University of Nevada, Reno, a great author and friend of The Nevada Review, and an all around grand purveyor arts and culture in northern Nevada.  He sent over a recent announcement about a set of documentaries he is hosting this weekend at the Nevada Museum of Art.  See his whole note below, and support this great event:

I’ve been collaborating with my English 102 students to plan, budget, promote, and host a double-feature documentary film screening at the beautiful theater in the Nevada Museum of Art. The screening will take place on Saturday, December 1, starting at 1:00. Each of the films is about the human urge to make art by painting on walls, though the walls in question are separated by 30,000 years.

The 1:00 film is Werner Herzog’s remarkable 2010 work The Cave of Forgotten Dreams, documenting the discovery and study of 30,000-year old cave paintings, which are among the earliest examples of human art we have. Here is the link to purchase tickets directly from the museum:

The 3:00 film is Exit through the Gift Shop, the fascinating 2010 documentary by the world-renowned street artist Banksy. In addition to being a surprising and engaging film, it also documents the rise of urban street artists whose illegal public art eventually turned them from criminals into millionaires.

Or, if you are interested in both films, a discounted, double-feature ticket is available at this link.

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