Category: Uncategorized

We are Water Virtual Book Club June 2021

You may have already heard that 2021 is predicted to be a year of extreme drought for much of Colorado and New Mexico. Up until these latest storms, Weld County was designated as abnormally dry to moderate drought conditions as cited on the National Integrated Drought Information System. While it’s better for us now, continued drought conditions are predicted for the future and both southern and western Colorado are still hurting. These situations help make us more aware of the importance of water and how we manage our relationship with this resource.

That brings us to the technology that we know as the irrigation ditch. This system along with check dams, small diversion ditches, and reservoirs are old and effective technologies. How old? Well, at Mesa Verde, one can see the remains of prehistoric reservoirs that were constructed and used between AD 750 and AD 1180. For more about the history of ditches and canals, you might want to check Historic Context for Irrigation and Water Supply: Ditches and Canals in Colorado by Michael Holleran.

 

Looking more specifically in the southwestern part of our State and jumping to the late 1840s, we can see the use of the acequias (ah-SAY-kee-uhs) which is the topic of an upcoming discussion hosted by We Are Water Project Team. Acequias are a form of community ditch that was brought by Hispanic settlers from New Mexico and they are still in use today. A unique aspect of this irrigation ditch system is that it has a cultural aspect as well as the physical aspect. The book, Enduring Acequias Wisdom of the Land, Knowledge of the Water, is the story of how the Río Embudo watershed in northern New Mexico has been the home of Juan Estevan Arellano and his ancestors. From this unique perspective, Arellano explores the ways people use water in dry places and makes a case for preserving the acequia irrigation system.

 

For those interested in reading the book, copies should be available by the time this article is printed.

Want to watch rather than read? You can learn about how acequia irrigation systems are an important part of history, communities, and families in Southern Colorado by watching this video brought to you by the Sangre de Cristo Acequia Association. El agua es vida!

Whether or not you decide to read the book or watch the video, please join us on Facebook at to learn more about acequias and to attend a conversation about acequias through the eyes of Eugene Jacquez from Chama, Colorado. The conversation will be held on Facebook Live on June 8, 2021 at 4pm MT.

The virtual book club about water in the Southwest is kindly brought to the High Plains Library District by our friends at the We are Water project.

2021 Writer In Residence Announcement

The High Plains Library District Foundation is proud to announce the 2021 Writer in Residence. Dr. Melanie Peffer was selected by a volunteer committee to serve as the Foundation’s sixth Writer in Residence.

Dr. Melanie Peffer is a writer, speaker, researcher, and educator originally from Pittsburgh, PA. She has lived in Greeley for the last five years.

Dr. Peffer is affiliated with the University of Colorado Boulder as a researcher in the Institute of Cognitive Science and teaches introductory biology as part of the Health Professionals Residential Academic Program. Over the last ten years, she has taught biology to a variety of audiences and researched how people learn and understand science, particularly biology. She also frequently writes on topics ranging from motherhood in STEM to science communication.

Dr. Peffer is author of the best-selling book, Biology Everywhere: How the science of life matters to everyday lifeBiology Everywhere is a journey through the science of life as told through our daily experiences. She was invited to speak on Biology Everywhere at TEDxCU in April 2021 and collaborated with TED-ED to produce a lesson based on Biology Everywhere.

She plans to spend her residency working on a children’s spin-off series. In the children’s book, we follow the path of a small child exploring the biology in their immediate environment in Weld County. The children’s book would target children in late elementary grades when children begin to read to learn (rather than learn to read). This is also an age when groups underrepresented in the sciences, such as girls, begin to feel less like a scientist and lose interest in the sciences.

Since the book series presents a child exploring their immediate environment, one shared by children living in Weld County, children will identify with the main character and be able to readily apply what they are learning to their lives. This increases the appeal of the content, fostering continued interest in reading, positive views about science, and a sense of belonging in our community.

When not writing, Dr. Peffer enjoys playing her flute and piccolo and enjoying all that Colorado has to offer in the great outdoors with her husband and son.

For more information about the Writer in Residence, as well as updates on Dr. Peffer’s project and her upcoming library programs, visit mylibrary.us/writer-in-residence.

Dr. Peffer's TED-Ed Talk

The Wild, Wild West – westerns

Butcher’s Crossing by John Williams 

William Andrews, a young fresh-faced Harvard student with stars in his eyes and Emerson in his pocket, joins a bison-hunting expedition in his quest to explore the American West. What could possibly go wrong, right? The transcendental experience hoped for is instead replaced by a grueling journey into an unforgiving wilderness marked by violence, brutality, cabin fever, cold and hunger. In this intelligent, beautifully written western, Williams dismantles the myths of modern America. 

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The Sisters Brothers by Patrick deWitt 

Forget the movie. Just forget it. The book is much, much better. It’s 1851, and Charlie and Eli Sisters are both brothers and assassins, boys grown to men in a savage and hostile world. You’ll come to appreciate the advent of modern dental hygiene and the efficacy of tooth powder in mid-19th century America. You’ll also escape with a deeper understanding of the deadly family ties that sometimes bind us. 

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The Assassination of Jesse James by the Coward Robert Ford by Ron Hansen 

A poetic, carefully researched meditation on early cult-celebrity, this historical novel details the final days of Jesse James. Robert Ford was a young upstart torn between dedicated worship and murderous jealousy, the “dirty little coward” who coveted Jesse’s legend. The powerful, strange, and unforgettable story of their interweaving paths—and twin destinies that would collide in a rain of blood and betrayal—is a story of America in all her rough, conflicted glory and the myths that made her. Oh, and like the book, the movie is excellent. 

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The Revenant: A Novel of Revenge by Michael Punke 

Brrrr….if you saw the movie, you likely stumbled out of a pre-COVID theater (ah, remember those days?) in a frigid adrenaline rush with a taste for raw bison liver. Not. Like the movie, the book is the true story (with modest embellishments) of fur trapper Hugh Glass and his near supernatural powers of physical endurance in an epic battle first for his life and then for justice. 

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Doc: A Novel by Mary Doria Russell 

Born to the life of a Southern gentleman, Dr. John Henry Holliday arrives on the Texas frontier hoping that the dry air and sunshine of the West will restore him to health. Soon, with few job prospects, Doc Holliday is gambling professionally with his partner, Mária Katarina Harony. In search of high-stakes poker, the couple hits the saloons of Dodge City. And that is where the unlikely friendship of Doc Holliday and a fearless lawman named Wyatt Earp begins. A great follow-up to this title is Russell’s Epitaph: A Novel of the O.K. Corral. 

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Deadwood by Pete Dexter 

Did the American TV producer David Milch read Pete Dexter’s Deadwood before creating the 2004 HBO drama of the same name? Milch claims he didn’t, but readers of Dexter’s 1986 novel might find that hard to believe. Legendary gunman Wild Bill Hickcock and his friend Charlie Utter have come to the Black Hills town of Deadwood fresh from Cheyenne, fleeing an ungrateful populace. Fueled by liquor, sex, and violence, this is the real wild west, unlike anything portrayed in the dime novels that first told its story. 

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The Son by Phillip Meyer 

Part epic of Texas, part classic coming-of-age story, part unflinching portrait of the bloody price of power, The Son is an utterly transporting novel that maps the legacy of violence in the American West through the lives of the McCulloughs, an ambitious family as resilient and dangerous as the land they claim. 

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Horseman, Pass By by Larry McMurtry 

What Western booklist would be complete without a title by Larry McMurtry? This novel became the basis for the film Hud, starring Paul Newman. In classic Western style McMurtry illustrates the timeless conflict between modernity and the Old West through the eyes of Texas cattlemen. When first published in 1961, Horseman, Pass By caused a sensation in Texas literary circles for its stark, realistic portrayal of the struggles of a changing West in the years following World War II. Never before had a writer managed to encapsulate its environment with such unsentimental realism. 

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The Ox-Bow Incident by Walter van Tilburg Clark 

Set in 1885, The Ox-Bow Incident is a searing and realistic portrait of frontier life and mob violence in the American West. First published in 1940, it focuses on the lynching of three innocent men and the tragedy that ensues when law and order are abandoned. The result is an emotionally powerful, vivid, and unforgettable re-creation of the Western novel, which Clark transmuted into a universal story about good and evil, individual and community, justice and human nature. 

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Blood Meridian by Cormac McCarthy 

An epic novel of the violence and depravity that attended America’s westward expansion, Blood Meridian brilliantly subverts the conventions of the Western novel and the mythology of the “wild west.” Based on historical events that took place on the Texas-Mexico border in the 1850s, it traces the fortunes of the Kid, a fourteen-year-old Tennessean who stumbles into the nightmarish world where Indians are being murdered and the market for their scalps is thriving. Not for the squeamish, but it remains an unparalleled classic—you won’t soon forget the character of The Judge. 

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True Grit – frontier westerns


True Grit by Charles Portis 

Well, duh…what Western booklist focused on the theme of “true grit” would this be without this classic?  True Grit tells the story of Mattie Ross, who is just fourteen when the coward Tom Chaney shoots her father down in Fort Smith, Arkansas, and robs him of his life, his horse, and $150 cash. Filled with an unwavering urge to avenge her father’s blood, Mattie finds and, after some tenacious finagling, enlists one-eyed Rooster Cogburn, the meanest available U.S. Marshal, as her partner in pursuit, and they head off into Indian Territory after the killer.  True Grit is essential reading, an undeniable American classic as eccentric, cool, funny, and unflinching as Mattie Ross herself. 

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News of the World by Paulette Jiles 

Five years after the end of the Civil War, Capt. Jefferson Kyle Kidd crosses paths with a 10-year-old girl taken by the Kiowa people. Forced to return to her aunt and uncle, Kidd agrees to escort the child across the harsh and unforgiving plains of Texas. However, the long journey soon turns into a fight for survival as the traveling companions encounter danger at every turn — both human and natural. Exquisitely rendered and morally complex, News of the World is a brilliant work of historical fiction that explores the boundaries of family, responsibility, honor, and trust.  BONUS: the movie has just been released in theaters, soon to be streaming (hopefully). 

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The Diary of Mattie Spenser by Sandra Dallas 

No one is more surprised than Mattie Spenser herself when Luke Spenser, considered the great catch of their small Iowa town, asks her to marry him. Less than a month later, they are off in a covered wagon to build a home on the Colorado frontier. Mattie’s only company is a slightly mysterious husband and her private journal, where she records the joys and frustrations not just of frontier life.  As she and Luke make life together on the harsh and beautiful plains, Mattie learns some bitter truths about her husband and the girl he left behind and finds love where she least expects it. This is an unforgettable story of hardship, friendship and survival. 

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O Pioneers! by Willa Cather 

No other work of fiction so vividly evokes the harsh beauty and epic sweep of the Nebraska prairies that Cather knew and loved. The heroine of O Pioneers!, Alexandra Bergson, is a young Swedish immigrant at the turn of the twentieth century who inherits her father’s windblasted land and, through years of hard work, turns it into a prosperous farm. Fiercely independent, Alexandra sacrifices love and companionship in her passionate devotion to the land, until tragedy strikes and brings with it the chance for a new life.  

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Lean on Pete: A Novel by Willy Vlautin 

Fifteen-year-old Charley Thompson wants a home, food on the table, and a high school he can attend for more than part of a year. But as the son of a single father working in warehouses across the Pacific Northwest, Charley’s been pretty much on his own. When tragic events leave him homeless weeks after their move to Portland, Oregon, Charley seeks refuge in the tack room of a run-down horse track. Charley’s only comforts are his friendship with a failing racehorse named Lean on Pete and a photograph of his only known relative. In an increasingly desperate circumstance, Charley will head east, hoping to find his aunt who had once lived a thousand miles away in Wyoming – but the journey to find her will be a perilous one.  Based on the book, the film is also outstanding. 

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Dancing at the Rascal Fair by Ivan Doig 

The central volume in Ivan Doig’s acclaimed Montana trilogy, Dancing at the Rascal Fair is an authentic saga of the American experience at the turn of this century and a passionate portrayal of the immigrants who dared to try new lives in the imposing Rocky Mountains.  Ivan Doig’s supple tale of landseekers unfolds into a fateful contest of the heart between Anna Ramsay and Angus McCaskill, walled apart by their obligations as they and their stormy kith and kin vie to tame the brutal, beautiful Two Medicine country. 

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Plainsong by Kent Haruf 

In the small town of Holt, Colorado, a high school teacher is confronted with raising his two boys alone after their mother retreats first to the bedroom, then altogether. A teenage girl—her father long since disappeared, her mother unwilling to have her in the house—is pregnant, alone herself, with nowhere to go. And out in the country, two brothers, elderly bachelors, work the family homestead, the only world they’ve ever known. From these unsettled lives emerges a vision of life, and of the town and landscape that bind them together—their fates somehow overcoming the powerful circumstances of place and station, their confusion, curiosity, dignity and humor intact and resonant. 

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Half-Broke Horses: A True-Life Novel by Jeanette Walls 

By age six, Lily was helping her father break horses. At fifteen, she left home to teach in a frontier town—riding five hundred miles on her pony, alone, to get to her job. She learned to drive a car and fly a plane. And, with her husband, Jim, she ran a vast ranch in Arizona. She raised two children, one who is Jeannette’s memorable mother, Rosemary Smith Walls, unforgettably portrayed in The Glass Castle. A spectacular memoir. 

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The Big Sky by A.B. Guthrie, Jr. 

Originally published more than fifty years ago, The Big Sky is the first of A. B. Guthrie Jr.’s epic adventure novels set in the American West. Here he introduces Boone Caudill, Jim Deakins, and Dick Summers: traveling the Missouri River from St. Louis to the Rockies, these frontiersmen live as trappers, traders, guides, and explorers. The story centers on Caudill, a young Kentuckian driven by a raging hunger for life and a longing for the blue sky and brown earth of big, wild places. Caught up in the freedom and savagery of the wilderness, Caudill becomes an untamed mountain man, whom only the beautiful daughter of a Blackfoot chief dares to love. 

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Train Dreams: A Novella by Denis Johnson 

This is the story of Robert Grainier, a day laborer in the American West at the start of the twentieth century—an ordinary man in extraordinary times. Buffeted by the loss of his family, Grainer struggles to make sense of this strange new world. As his story unfolds, we witness both his shocking personal defeats and the radical changes that transform America in his lifetime. Suffused with the history and landscapes of the American West, this novella by the National Book Award–winning author of Tree of Smoke captures the disappearance of a distinctly American way of life. 

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Shaken, Not Stirred – espionage/spy thrillers


A Spy in the Struggle by Aya de León 

Aya de León takes on issues of climate justice, corporate corruption, and government surveillance of marginalized activists in an electrifying story about a high-powered attorney who goes undercover to infiltrate a Bay Area activist group. 

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Casino Royale by Ian Fleming 

Of course, we gotta include James Bond, the original smooth operator, on this list.  In the novel that introduced James Bond to the world, Ian Fleming’s agent 007 is dispatched to a French casino in Royale-les-Eaux. His mission? Bankrupt a ruthless Russian agent who’s been on a bad luck streak at the baccarat table. Taut, tense, and effortlessly stylish, Ian Fleming’s inaugural James Bond adventure has all the hallmarks that made the series a touchstone for a generation of readers. 

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Vera Kelly is Not a Mystery by Rosalie Knecht 

When ex-CIA agent Vera Kelly loses her job and her girlfriend in a single day, she reluctantly goes into business as a private detective. Heartbroken and cash-strapped, she takes a case that dredges up dark memories and attracts dangerous characters from across the Cold War landscape. Before it’s over, she’ll chase a lost child through foster care and follow a trail of Dominican exiles to the Caribbean. Forever looking over her shoulder, she nearly misses what’s right in front of her: her own desire for home, connection, and a new romance at the local bar. 

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Agent Running in the Field by John le Carré 

Nat, a 47-year-old veteran of Britain’s Secret Intelligence Service, believes his years as an agent runner are over. But with the growing threat from Moscow Centre, the office has one more job for him – one that will take him down a path of political anger that will ensnare those closest to him. 

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The Last Tourist by Olen Steinhauer 

In Olen Steinhauer’s bestseller An American Spy, reluctant CIA agent Milo Weaver thought he had finally put “Tourists”–CIA-trained assassins–to bed.  A decade later, Milo is hiding out in Western Sahara when a young CIA analyst arrives to question him about a series of suspicious deaths and terrorist chatter linked to him.  Their conversation is soon interrupted by a new breed of Tourists intent on killing them both, forcing them to run.  As he tells his story, Milo is joined by colleagues and enemies from his long history in the world of intelligence, and the young analyst wonders what to believe. He wonders, too, if he’ll survive this encounter. 

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At Risk by Stella Rimington 

An ‘invisible’ is a terrorist who is an ethnic native of the target country, who can cross its borders unchecked and move about unnoticed – the ultimate nightmare. By the time they’re identified, it may be too late.  The intelligence operation that follows will test Liz to the limit. Who or what is the target? Where and who is the invisible? With each passing hour the danger increases.  But as Liz desperately sifts through the incoming intelligence, she finally realizes a truth that could prove deadly: her ability to get inside her enemy’s head is the only hope of averting disaster… 

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The Russian Pink by Matthew Hart 

When “The Russian Pink”—a stunningly large rose-hued diamond—makes a surprise appearance around the neck of Honey Li, the wife of surging presidential candidate Harry Nash, Alex Turner, an investigator for the Treasury Department’s diamond division and former C.I.A. agent, finds himself spiraling down a seemingly endless rabbit hole.  A diamond like that always carries secrets, but the web of mystery behind “The Pink” is more complex than Alex could ever imagine. 

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Opium Prince by Jasmine Aimaq 

Born to an American mother and a late Afghan war hero, Daniel Sajadi has spent his life navigating a complex identity. After years in Los Angeles, he is returning home to Kabul at the helm of a US foreign aid agency dedicated to eradicating the poppy fields that feed the world’s opiate addiction.  But on the drive out of Kabul for an anniversary trip with his wife, Daniel accidentally hits and kills a young Kochi girl named Telaya. He is let off with a nominal fine, in part because nomad tribes are ignored in the eyes of the law, but also because a mysterious witness named Taj Maleki intercedes on his behalf. Wracked with guilt and visions of Telaya, Daniel begins to unravel, running from his crumbling marriage and escalating threats from Taj, who turns out to be a powerful opium khan willing to go to extremes to save his poppies. 

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The Day of the Jackal by Frederick Forsythe 

It is 1963 and an anonymous Englishman has been hired by the Operations Chief of the O.A.S. to murder General de Gaulle. A failed attempt in the previous year means the target will be nearly impossible to get to. But this latest plot involves a lethal weapon: an assassin of legendary talent. Known only as The Jackal, this remorseless and deadly killer must be stopped, but how do you track a man who exists in name alone? 

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Untamed Shore by Silvia Moreno-Garcia 

Viridiana spends her days watching the dead sharks piled beside the seashore, as the fishermen pull their nets. There is nothing else to do, nothing else to watch, under the harsh sun. Three wealthy American tourists arrive for the summer, and Viridiana is magnetized. She immediately becomes entwined in the glamorous foreigners’ lives. They offer excitement, and perhaps an escape from the promise of a humdrum future. When one of them dies, Viridiana lies to protect her friends. Soon enough, someone’s asking questions, and Viridiana has some of her own about the identity of her new acquaintances. 

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Lethal Attraction – Read a romantic suspense


Verity by Colleen Hoover

Are you ready for a creepy romance experience you didn’t see coming? Check out this genre-bending romantic thriller. A handsome and mysterious man hires a struggling writer to finish his injured wife’s famous book series. As she learns more about the woman and starts developing feelings for her employer, she begins to discover that all is not as it seems. Don’t read this one before bed.

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A Bad Day for Sunshine by Darynda Jones

Get ready to turn up the heat with small town New Mexico Sheriff Sunshine Vicram and her fiery hot US Marshall old flame. A kidnapper is on the loose, drama and danger lurk around every corner…oh, and there is a rooster named Puff Daddy.

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When No One is Watching by Alyssa Cole

This is a social thriller with a twist, about a woman who joins forces with her handsome neighbor to offer historic walking tours of their rapidly gentrifying neighborhood, only to begin investigating what’s really happening to her Black neighbors who are seemingly moving out of the neighborhood for the suburbs. Twisty and timely, this book will leave you sweating.

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The Shape of Night by Tess Gerritsen

Gothic, atmospheric, romantic, and suspenseful, this book has a one-hundred-and-fifty-year-old sea captain ghost, the food writer who is renting his home, and a murder mystery. What is real?

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The Darkest Hour by Maya Banks

When an Ex-Navy SEAL learns that his wife, whom he believed is dead, is actually being held hostage in the South American jungle, he has no choice but to find and rescue her. Kiss kiss, bang bang!

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Phantom Evil by Heather Graham

We’re getting spooky up in here! The first book in the Krewe of Hunters series, this story is set in the perfectly atmospheric city of New Orleans. A renegade paranormal investigator and a police officer work together to solve a strange death, and maybe fall in love in the process? There is a lot of mystery, a hint of voodoo, a plethora of phantoms, and plenty of romance.

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Stalking Jack the Ripper by Kerri Maniscalo

Jack the Ripper. A lady fascinated by forensic science. An arrogant young man, brilliant at deduction. Murder. Mayhem. Kissing? Read this YA romantic murder mystery to find out!

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Rebecca by Daphne Du Maurier

While not TECHNICALLY a romance, Rebecca is a classic with some elements of romantic suspense—and it’s super eerie, too. The unnamed narrator falls in love with a mysterious widower and soon finds herself living at Manderley, his beautiful estate in the countryside. What could go wrong? Maybe the fact that Manderley still resounds with the sinister echo of his late wife?

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Mr. Perfect by Linda Howard

What do you do when the search for Mr. Right goes off the rails? When four best friends make a just-for-fun list of qualities they look for in the “perfect” man, they never expect it to go viral on the Internet (early 2000’s internet viral, anyway)…or result in one of their deaths. Linda Howard is a queen of romantic suspense, and this book does not disappoint.

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Say You’re Sorry by Karen Rose

As the only woman to have encountered the serial killer and live to tell about it, a beautiful talk-radio host is exactly the person the handsome FBI Special Agent needs to help him find this monster. But as the two get closer to each other, the killer has found a new target: them.

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Native Americans – Read a book about indigenous Americans


Black Elk Speaks by John G Neihardt

The transcribed tales of Nicholas Black Elk’s life among the Oglala Lakota in the late 19th century. Includes his personal history and stories of relationships with other Native American leaders. 

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Cheyenne Autumn by Mari Sandoz

The heartbreaking true story of the Northern Cheyenne’s 1878 attempt to return to their original homeland near what’s now Yellowstone National Park.

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Killers of the Flower Moon by David Grann

In the 1920s, the Osage Indians of Oklahoma struck oil and became extremely wealthy as a consequence. Shortly thereafter, the Osage were systematically murdered by persons unknown, leading to the launch of an FBI investigation into the incidents.

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The Heartbeat of Wounded Knee by David Treuer

This modern history of Native Americans challenges the idea that their culture has been destroyed by exploring the resilience and accomplishments of Native American people.

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Empire of the Summer Moon by S.C. Gwynne

The story of Quanah Parker, the last chief of the Comanche, and the 40-year struggle for the West.

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Encounters at the Heart of the World by Elizabeth A. Fenn

A new, mostly archaeological interpretation of the semi-sedentary Mandan people of the northern plains, about whom little has previously been known. 

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The Journey of Crazy Horse: A Lakota History by Joseph Marshal III

This biography of the famed strategist and leader Crazy Horse by Lakota author Joseph Marshall III peers behind the legends to find the man through research and oral history.

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Code Talker by Chester Nez

Biography of Ned Begay, a Navajo man who, along with his Navajo companions, was recruited by the US military for the use of conveying military info in the largely unknown Navajo language.

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Malinche, Pocahontas, and Sacagawea by Rebecca K. Jager

Narratives of the ways in which three iconic Native American women from different parts of the continent negotiated relationships with white settlers, based on evidence from anthropology, oral history, and ethnohistory.

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Highway of Tears by Jessica McDiarmid

Stories of the missing and murdered Indigenous women of North America that focuses on Canada’s Highway 16, where a billboard reads “GIRLS, DON’T HITCHHIKE. KILLER ON THE LOOSE.”

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Book ‘Em – Read a police procedural


Still Life by Louise Penny

Introduces Quebec’s Inspector Gamache as he investigates what at first appears to be a simple hunting accident. Upon a closer look, the brilliant Gamache begins to suspect something much more sinister.

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Darktown by Thomas Mullen

Set in a segregated Atlanta, this gripping mystery focuses on the city’s first Black police officers as they investigate the case of a murdered woman who was last seen in the company of other officers.

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Naked in Death by JD Robb

This futuristic series opener finds New York police officer Eve Dallas investigating a ruthless murder as she fights an attraction to the Irish billionaire who also happens to be one of her prime suspects.

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Two Days Gone by Randall Silvis

This darkly emotional mystery opens with the discovery of the murdered family of a popular college professor/bestselling author. Sergeant Ryan DeMarco is attempting to track down the missing author and reconcile his experience of the happy family man with the reality of the murders.

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Death at La Fenice by Donna Leon

Beautiful, historic Venice is generally light on crime. When an orchestra conductor is killed with cyanide during intermission, finding suspects isn’t Guido Brunetti’s problem. Narrowing them down is another matter.

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The Cold Cold Ground by Adrian McKinty

Detective Sean Duffy is a Catholic working in the overwhelmingly Protestant police department of Northern Ireland during the religious “Troubles” of the early 1980s. When two gay men are found murdered, one after the other, Duffy at first suspects a serial killer – but comes to believe the murders may have been politically motivated instead.

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Lost Hills by Lee Goldberg

When Eve Ronin arrests an abusive movie star during her off hours, she’s given a promotion to homicide detective as a reward for the positive press. Now she needs to prove herself with her first case – a blood-covered crime scene that can only have been the site of a murder, although the family is missing and no bodies are to be found.

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Raven Black by Ann Cleeves

When a teenaged girl is left strangled in the snow in Scotland’s Shetland Islands, the locals are quick to point the finger at a man who drew suspicion years earlier when another girl went missing. Detective Inspector Jimmy Perez investigates this new murder and is drawn deeper into local secrets than he ever wanted to be.

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The Chestnut Man by Søren Sveistrup

A mysterious killer in Denmark has been leaving mutilated bodies and small figurines made of chestnuts in the suburbs of Copenhagen. The detectives investigating the case are soon led to a connection between an earlier crime involving a government minister’s daughter – but the killer in that case is supposed to be dead.

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The Dime by Kathleen Kent

Betty Rhyzyk is the Brooklyn-born police detective now living in Dallas, Texas, where her height, attitude, and flaming red hair have her standing out from the crowd. The first book in this gritty new crime series moves Betty from the world of New York City crime to one dominated by cartels and the drug trade.

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Red Handed – Read a true crime book


Helter Skelter: The True Story of the Manson Murders by Vincent Bugliosi

The author served on the trial of Charles Manson in 1970, and details the investigation, arrest, and trial of Charles Manson and his followers for the murders of Leno and Rosemary LaBianca, Sharon Tate, and several others.

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The Man from the Train: The Solving of a Century-Old Serial Killer Mystery by Bill James

This compelling and suspenseful novel solves a 100-year-old case involving bludgeoning axe murders that happened from Iowa to Louisiana. Who solves this mystery? A baseball statistician who uses his analytical skills and unconventional sleuthing techniques.

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Death in the City of Light: The Serial Killer of Occupied Paris by David King

This book documents the efforts of a French chief detective to catch a doctor serial killer during World War II. In this engaging but disturbing book, you’ll discover the covert information network used to track this killer that was comprised of mobsters, resistance fighters, and nightclub owners.

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Lost Girls: An Unsolved American Mystery by Robert Kolker

This book details the lives and deaths of five women, prostitutes who advertised on Craigslist, who were victims of the Long Island Killer. With a lush writing style and haunting tone, the story will reveal how the most skillful psychopath since the Son of Sam went about his business.

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I’ll Be Gone in the Dark: One Woman’s Obsessive Search for the Golden State Killer by Michelle McNamara

In this very accessible and well-researched book details the rapes and murders of dozens of victims of the Golden State Killer. Written by the late author of TrueCrimeDiary.com, it also details the author’s efforts to find the killer and bring him to justice.

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We Keep the Dead Close: A Murder at Harvard and a Half Century of Silence by Becky Cooper

In this debut work, former staffer at the New Yorker, Becky Cooper, writes of the murder of a Harvard graduate student, Jane Britton, in 1969. She has insightful information on how the case was stymied by rumors and intuitional silence coupled with the realities of gender inequality during this period. True crime lovers will enjoy this suspenseful and intimate work.

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Killers of the Flower Moon: The Osage Murders and the Birth of the FBI by David Grann

This work presents the dozens of murders of wealthy Osage law enforcement officials, which at its roots uncovers the missteps of a fledgling FBI and one of the biggest conspiracies in American history. Readers will find this book disturbing in tone but rich in detail.

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The Ghosts of Eden Park: The Bootleg King, the Women Who Pursued Him, and the Murder That Shocked Jazz-Age America by Karen Abbott

This book details the life of George Remus, a German immigrant who quits practicing law and goes into the bootlegging business. Within two years, he becomes a multimillionaire and soon slips into Gatsby-esque lifestyle with his second wife Imogene. Not only will readers be swept up in the extravagance of Remus’ life, but also the murder that put him in the papers for different scandalous reasons.

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Ghettoside: A True Story of Murder in America by Jill Leovy

Ghettoside provides a gritty examination of the hundreds of murders that occur in Los Angeles each year, while also focusing on the killing of Bryant Tenelle and the dedicated detectives determined to bring his murderer to justice.

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Black Dahlia, Red Rose: The Crime, Corruption, and Cover-up of America’s Greatest Unsolved Murder by Piu Eatwell

This book draws on evidence from declassified police archives and redacted FBI files to form a revisionist theory of the Black Dahlia murders in 1947. This theory draws upon the corrupt workings of the LAPD, ruthless media, and the predators who targeted aspiring actresses.

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