It’s no secret that the Tahoe/Truckee area is a haven for artists in all mediums: painting, photography, drawing, sculpting, metal and wood working, performing arts. The list would be incomplete without the literary arts, as the region has more than its share of authors in varying genres. Whether it’s poets or travel writers, novelists or children’s authors, one need only stop by Truckee’s Word After Word Books, the area libraries, or one of the region’s smaller artisan shops to stumble upon volumes by local authors or that feature Northern California. We’ve collected a few recently released titles to share with you, our readers.

Love for Beginners
By Jill Shalvis
Published by William Morrow
Released June 8
Paperback original, $16.99

What would you do if you had to start your entire life over — job, friends, love interest — everything? Would you do things the same, or would you switch things up? That’s the question facing Emma Harris in Love for Beginners by New York Times and USA Today bestselling author — and Truckee resident — Jill Shalvis. Awakening from a two-month coma, Emma discovers her fiancé and her BFF have fallen in love, she’s lost her job, and the life she knew is gone. It’s a triple whammy of bad luck that leaves Emma in the precarious position of having to start her life all over again — once she figures out what kind of life she wants. Love for Beginners, a stand-alone novel in the wildly popular Wildstone Series, has all the elements that fans of Shalvis have come to love: sunny optimism, humor, and witty dialogue, all wrapped in a warm and sexy contemporary romance.

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Who Needs a Forest Fire?
By Paula Henson
Illustrated by Sue Todd and
Emily Underwood
Published by Terra Bella Books
Released May 1
Print, $16.99; digital, $11.99

Who needs a forest fire? We do! But not the destructive mega-fires we know today. Who Needs a Forest Fire? is the debut children’s picture book from author Paula Henson, Los Angeles-based environmental educator, that tells the story of when California’s forest fires served the First Peoples, and how for thousands of years Native Americans have used fire as a tool to look after the forest floor like a garden. Fire kept the forest ecology strong. Children today see and learn about massive, devastating forest fire blazes, where firefighters are sent to battle the flames. The California Gold Rush brought masses of settlers and miners who knew nothing about how fire, nature, and people relied on each other. They saw fire as an enemy that had to be stopped. This led to dry, densely packed forests of small trees and brush creating the perfect conditions for major uncontrollable wildfires. A free teacher’s guide offers activities and resources that are in alignment with California state educational standards. The book was commissioned as part of the interpretive exhibit about humans and their relationship with fire: FORESTFIRE. Created by Llewellyn Studio, the project is a partnership between Nevada County Arts Council, Truckee-Donner Recreation and Park District, and University of California, Berkeley – Sagehen Creek Field Station, with Educational and Environmental Outreach by Sierra Watershed Education Partnerships.

The Ruins of Rough & Ready
By Clark Casey
Published by White Bird Publications, LLC
Released June 15
Paperback, $20; digital $7.99

In 1850, the Gold Rush town of Rough and Ready, California briefly seceded from the United States to avoid paying a mining tax. This raucus western comedy reimagines the three months when the town was a sovereign republic. Sprinkled with the hard-luck tales of pioneers and forgotten tidbits of early American history, this novel shines a light on the quirky characters who fueled the westward expansion. The town drunkard falls asleep in a cave and wakes up during an earthquake to find a giant gold boulder. To get the mineral to market, he enlists a ragtag group of failed miners and oddball mountain men, including a priest who tends bar and a sheriff who’s afraid of guns. The most dangerous bandits in California are poised to tear Rough and Ready apart. What will be the legacy of a forgotten independent nation inside of the United States? Clark Casey was born in New York and currently lives in Northern California. He is the author of Dawn in Damnation and Dead Indian Wars.

Why To These Rocks: 50 Years of Poetry from the Community of Writers
Forward by Robert Haas; edited by Lisa Alvarez
Published by Heyday Books
Released April 13
Hardcover; $28

A collection of more than 140 poems, Why To These Rocks is a compilation of works by members of the Community of Writers (formerly known as the Squaw Valley Community of Writers). Featuring writings by some of the country’s most prominent contemporary poets, this collection tells part of the story of the Community of Writers through work produced in Olympic Valley by both staff and participant poets of the group’s annual workshops. Inspired by or written in the High Sierra during the weeklong workshop, these poems were written through three self-explanatory lenses: Over the Mountains: Poems about Place; Scrupulous Mercy: Poems about Process; and After Surfacing: Poems Produced by the Process in the Place. Contributors include both workshop staff and participants, among them Kazim Ali, Don Mee Choi, Lucille Clifton, Toi Derricotte, Rita Dove, Cornelius Eady, Juan Felipe Herrera, Brenda Hillman, Cathy Park Hong, Forrest Gander, Major Jackson, Yusef Komunyakaa, Sharon Olds, Gregory Pardlo, Evie Shockley, Al Young, Kevin Young, C.D. Wright, Matthew Zapruder, and many more. The book also includes a never-before-published poem by Galway Kinnell. 

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