Reading the West 2014 – Winning Titles

Posted May 30, 2015

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Adult Fiction

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9780385352093_807b8
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THE PAINTER: A Novel
by Peter Heller

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Penguin Random House/Knopf
Hardcover $24.95
978-0-385-35209-3
Adult Fiction
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Peter Heller, the celebrated author of the breakout bestseller THE DOG STARS, returns with an achingly beautiful, wildly suspenseful second novel about an artist trying to outrun his past.
Jim Stegner has seen his share of violence and loss. Years ago he shot a man in a bar. His marriage disintegrated. He grieved the one thing he loved. In the wake of tragedy, Jim, a well-known expressionist painter, abandoned the art scene of Santa Fe to start fresh in the valleys of rural Colorado. Now he spends his days painting and fly-fishing, trying to find a way to live with the dark impulses that sometimes overtake him. He works with a lovely model. His paintings fetch excellent prices. But one afternoon, on a dirt road, Jim comes across a man beating a small horse, and a brutal encounter rips his quiet life wide open. Fleeing Colorado, chased by men set on retribution, Jim returns to New Mexico, tormented by his own relentless conscience.
A stunning, savage novel of art and violence, love and grief, THE PAINTER is the story of a man who longs to transcend the shadows in his heart, a man intent on using the losses he has suffered to create a meaningful life.
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Peter Heller is the author of the bestselling novels THE DOG STARS and THE PAINTER. He holds an MFA from the Iowa Writers’ Workshop in both fiction and poetry. An award-winning adventure writer and a longtime contributor to NPR, Heller is a contributing editor at Outside magazine, Men’s Journal, and National Geographic Adventure, and a regular contributor to Bloomberg Businessweek. He is also the author of several nonfiction books, including KOOK, THE WHALE WARRIORS, and HELL OR HIGH WATER: Surviving Tibet’s Tsangpo River.  He lives in Denver, Colorado.
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Adult Nonfiction

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9781476710846_e7ab5
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BADLUCK WAY:
A Year on the Ragged Edge of the West
by Bryce Andrews

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Simon & Schuster/Atria Books
Paperback $15.00
978-1-476-71084-6
Adult Nonfiction/Biography/Environmentalists & Naturalists
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In this gripping memoir of a young man, a wolf, their parallel lives and ultimate collision, Bryce Andrews describes life on the remote, windswept Sun Ranch in southwest Montana. The Sun’s twenty thousand acres of rangeland occupy a still-wild corner of southwest Montana—a high valley surrounded by mountain ranges and steep creeks with portentous names like Grizzly and Bad Luck. Just over the border from Yellowstone National Park, the Sun holds giant herds of cattle and elk amid many predators—bears, mountain lions, and wolves.
In lyrical, haunting language, Andrews recounts marathon days and nights of building fences, riding, roping, and otherwise learning the hard business of caring for cattle, an initiation that changes him from an idealistic city kid into a skilled ranch hand. But when wolves suddenly begin killing the ranch’s cattle, Andrews has to shoulder a rifle, chase the pack, and do what he’d hoped he would never have to do.
Called “an elegant memoir” by the Great Falls Tribune, BADLUCK WAY is about transformation and complications, about living with dirty hands every day. It is about the hard choices that wake us at night and take a lifetime to reconcile. Above all, it celebrates the breathtaking beauty of wilderness and the satisfaction of hard work on some of the harshest, most beautiful land in the world.
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Bryce Andrews was born and raised in Seattle, Washington. At his earliest opportunity, he headed east across the Cascade Mountains in search of the American West. After earning an undergraduate degree in Environmental Studies and Writing from Whitman College, he worked a series of jobs that eventually landed him on the Sun Ranch, a large spread in Montana’s Madison Valley. There, on the edge of a vast wilderness that included Yellowstone National Park, he did the hard work of ranching and wrote extensively to keep sane through the ice-bound doldrums of winter. Since then, with the exception of a short stint in graduate school at the University of Montana, he’s made his living by raising cattle and restoring land in the remote and rural valleys of Southwest Montana. Bryce Andrews’s essays and short work have been published in High Country News, Big Sky Journal, Camas Magazine, and Backpacker. BADLUCK WAY is his first book.
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Children’s

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9780544232693_d9b42
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DIRT BIKES, DRONES,
AND OTHER WAYS TO FLY
by Conrad Wesselhoeft

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Houghton Mifflin Harcourt – HMH Books for Young Readers
Hardcover $17.99
978-0-544-23269-3
Children’s Fiction, Ages 12 And Up
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Video gamer and daredevil dirt bike rider Arlo Santiago is recruited by the U.S. military at White Sands to pilot drone missions in Pakistan. When the game becomes all too real, how will Arlo reconcile his duty with the violent death that haunts his family?
Seventeen year-old dirt-bike-riding daredevil Arlo Santiago catches the eye of the U.S. military with his first-place ranking on a video game featuring drone warfare, and must reconcile the work they want him to do with the emotional scars he has suffered following a violent death in his family. ADIOS, NIRVANA author Conrad Wesselhoeft takes readers from the skies over war-torn Pakistan to the dusty arroyos of New Mexico’s outback in this young adult novel about daring to live in the wake of unbearable loss.
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Conrad Wesselhoeft decided to become a writer after reading A TALE OF TWO CITIES in the seventh grade. Coincidentally, both that novel and Wesselhoeft’s first attempt at writing fiction share the same opening line: “It was the best of times, it was the worst of times.” He is the author of ADIOS, NIRVANA and DIRT BIKES, DRONES, AND OTHER WAYS TO FLY, two contemporary young adult novels from Houghton Mifflin Harcourt. He lives with his standard poodle Django (the ‘D’ is silent) in West Seattle.
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