What the staff at Out West Books suggest for your next great read

Each week as part of SunLit – the literature division of Sun – we provide employee recommendations from bookstores across Colorado. This week, the staff from Out West Books in Grand Junction is recommending the films “The Meadow,” “Eclipse,” and “The Dog Stars.”

dog stars

Written by Peter Heller
antique books
May 2013


from the publisher:

Haig’s wife is gone, his friends have died, and he lives in a hangar at a small deserted airport with his dog Jasper, and a mercurial human being with a gun named Bangle.

But when his 1956 Cessna radios randomly over the radio, the sound ignites hope deep down that a better life exists outside of its tightly controlled surroundings. Risking it all, he flies past the point of no return and follows his own broken path, only to find something better and worse than anything he could hope for.

From Marya Johnston, owner of Out West Books: The dystopian novel by author Peter Heller is set from Denver, Colorado, and after Haig takes off to find the source of the transmission, western Colorado. Heller’s descriptions of the landscape are excellent and worth reading for that alone, as far as I’m concerned. This book reminds us of Neville Schutt’s On the Beach, one of my all-time favorites, but the local language of Dog Stars is a lot more fun…at least for us in this part of the world.


Written by Dalton Trumbo
Eco Point Books
USD 20.64
February 2018


from the publisher: In this remarkable novel by award-winning Hollywood screenwriter Dalton Trumbo, Shale City is the setting for a scathing examination of the excesses of the American West. Filled with lively characters, vivid description, and sarcastic dialogue, this fast-paced story traces the rise and fall of John Abbott, a wealthy local businessman and mayor in the 1920s and 1930s. As a generous philanthropist, Abbott was heralded as a hero by townspeople when times were good. But as the stock market crashes and the Great Depression hits, the city turns on Abbott when his fortunes fade. The exposed is the dark side of small town life.

From Marya Johnston, owner of Out West Books: Originally published in 1935 by Dalton Trumbo, screenwriter of “Exodus,” “Spartacus,” and “Roman Holiday,” this book is a show-stopping around town. This long, out-of-print book has been republished with proceeds going to the Mesa County Library.

It was hard to find older editions of this book as the residents of Grand Junction were scandalized by depicting actual city dwellers. New editions of the book have an inside-cover list of the characters in the story along with the names of the real person they’re based on… including some not-so-flattering characteristics. No wonder the people of Grand Junction were upset! If you’ve ever lived in a small town, this book will reinforce the idea that “the more things change, they stay the same.” Trumbo’s book, “Johnny Got His Gun,” was an early anti-war book and won a National Book Award in 1939. The book also refers to Colorado.


by James Galvin
April 1993


from the publisher: In discrete revelations associated with the complexity of a spider’s web, James Galvin depicts the hundred-year history of a meadow in the barren mountains on the Colorado/Wyoming border. Galvin describes the seasons, the weather, the wildlife, and the few people who don’t own this terrain but do. In doing so, it reveals an experience that is part of our heritage and legends. For Lyle, Ray, Clara and App, the struggle to survive on an independent family farm is a series of total failures and unclaimed successes that illuminate the western character. “The Meadow” evokes a sense of place that can only be achieved by someone who knows him intimately.

From Marya Johnston, owner of Out West Books: “The Meadow” should be on every Coloradan’s bookshelf. It’s a very beautiful and descriptive prose that makes it clear that Galvin is more known for his poetry…but when he’s writing a book, it’s amazing.

“The real world goes like this: the Neverssummer mountains are like a jumble of broken glass. The snowfields are slowly crying. Chambers Lake, surrounded by trees, gratefully holds the drip into its tin cup, and the mountains give their own reflection in return. This is the real world, indifferent burden-free.”

You’ll get a taste of every page of this story about a family’s struggle to keep their farm. “The history of the meadow goes like this: no one owns it, and no one will ever own it.” The earth changes, people change, and James Galvin is for it.

This week’s book comes from:

outside western books

533 Main Street – Grand Junction


As part of the Colorado Sun Literature section – sunlit – we feature selections for employees from bookstores across the state. Read more.


Leave a Comment