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Fall back in love with the written word with these Nevada-connected books

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As the pandemic lingers and stay-at-home stretches into the indefinite future, it’s time for new escapes. Sure, you could rewatch those old reality shows, but why not expand your mind? We’ve scoured the shelves—from a safe distance!—to bring you these new book finds. Best part: They all have a Nevada connection.

Howard Hughes: Power, Paranoia & Palace Intrigue by Geoff Schumacher ($30). Is there anything Geoff Schumacher can’t do? The longtime local journalist is now an executive at the Mob Museum and an author or editor of several books about Nevada, including Sun, Sin & Suburbia: A History of Modern Las Vegas. This year, the University of Nevada Press released a revised and expanded biography of the late, great and truly eccentric Vegas icon Howard Hughes. The hotel owner and famous germophobe would probably feel right at home during the COVID-19 lockdown.

Sandstone & Silver: An Anthology of Nevada Poets edited by Heather Lang-Cassera ($14). Support the home team with this anthology of 55 Nevada poets, each of whom contributed one poem. It’s published by local publisher Zeitgeist Press (with a cover illustration by local artist Logan Riley), and it was made possible by Clark County’s support of Poet Laureate programming. Notable poets include Angela M. Brommel, Bruce Isaacson, Claudia Keelan, Rodney J. Lee, Vogue Robinson and Elizabeth Quiñones-Zaldaña.

American Dream Houses by Emilee Wirshing ($10). Condoms break. Ghosts threaten. Droughts make lovers gasp. Houses are lost, their contents pawned out at yard sales. And a cemetery lies in wait, just off Boulder Highway, to collect the troubled and passionate souls that populate this deeply personal poetry collection by lifelong Nevadan and writing advocate Emilee Wirshing. Published by the Flagstaff, Arizona- and Las Vegas-based Tolsun Books.

The White Death: An Illusion by Gabriel Urza ($15). Scared of commitment? Read this short novella (the palm-size book is just 59 pages!) by native Nevadan and 2016 Black Mountain Institute fellow Gabriel Urza. It’s a perfect fiction for Las Vegans, because it surrounds the mystery of a late illusionist known as The Great Bendini.

The Desert Between Us by Phyllis Barber ($28). The Utah-based author presents a historical novel that takes place during the California gold rush. But the real action happens in St. Thomas, Nevada, where a love story takes place between a road builder and the Mormon third wife of a polygamist.

Coming attractions

The Brightest Place in the World by David Philip Mullins ($25, out June 3). A novel inspired by the PEPCON chemical plant disaster that took place in Henderson in May 1988.

The Desert Notebooks: A Road Map for the End of Time by Ben Ehrenreich ($26, out July 7). A nonfiction book by 2018 Black Mountain Institute fellow Ben Ehrenreich about climate change, the Mojave Desert and more.

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