As part of Read Yourself Happy’s America…In Books feature, here are some of the best books set in Colorado.
The Shining by Stephen King
The Shining was the very first book that popped into my head when I was preparing for this article. Set in a remote hotel in the mountains of Colorado, this horror novel will keep you up at night.
Plainsong by Kent Haruf
This contemporary novel is set outside of Denver and deals with what it means to be family.
Kings of Colorado by David E. Hilton
Set in a reformatory, this novel follows 13-year-old William Sheppard after he stabs his father. It’s a coming-of-age story with horses and self-reflection.
Coyote Valley: Deep History in the High Rockies by Thomas G. Andrews
For our first non-fiction pick, this book examines the history of Colorado’s landscape, from the ice ages to today. If you’re a naturalist, you’ll love this book.
Rough Beauty: Forty Seasons of Mountain Living by Karen Auvinen
Karen Auvinen’s memoir is about her experience living in a primitive cabin in the Rocky Mountains. This is something that I frequently dream about but know that I would never actually do, so I’m glad that Auvinen did it so that I can live vicariously through her writing.
The Bookseller by Cynthia Swanson
This novel is set in Denver, CO in 1962 and follows Kitty Miller, who runs a bookshop. When she sleeps at night, she imagines a whole other life for herself, the one she’s always wanted. This book has magical realism qualities, and it’s one that I definitely want to read.
Centennial by James A. Michener
I feel like every state in this series is going to have a book by this author. This historical fiction focuses on the founding of Colorado and its influence on the surrounding area.
Cry Father by Benjamin Whitmer
This crime/noir novel is set in Colorado, and the author has been compared to Cormac McCarthy. The main character gets caught up in some fishy stuff but tries to do the right thing.
The Newcomers: Finding Refuge, Friendship, and Hope in an American Classroom by Helen Thorpe
This non-fiction book sounds like something America needs right now. It follows immigrant teenagers at a school in Colorado as they learn to speak English and discover American culture.
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