"To read is to voyage through time." - Carl Sagan
April 2023
Book News

Women's History at NCL

Although Women’s History Month was in March, any time of year is a good time to read about some of the women who made history in our part of the Rocky Mountains.
Here are six of our favorites, followed by four more books that are set in Colorado and the Nederland/Boulder area.

And, finally, last but not least, we preview

four (non-historical) books that are on-order.


The Magnificent Mountain Women

By Janet Robertson

Boulder resident Jan Robertson chronicles the stories of three dozen women who, from the 1850s to the 1980s, ventured into the Colorado Rockies pursuing their own aims largely independent of male guidance or assistance, including the first female climbers like Isabella Bird, pioneering sportswomen like Marjorie Perry and sisters Harriet and Agnes Vaille, Katherine Garetson, and gutsy female botanists like Hazel Schmoll, a resident of Ward. Many of these women merited their own biographies, and some of them are featured in this booklist.
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Doc Susie

By Virginia Cornell

Cornell owned and edited the Winter Park Manifest newspaper and managed a Winter Park ski lodge before she spent three years researching and writing Doc Susie’s story. Dr. Susan Anderson was a physician of the early twentieth century, and she practiced in Fraser, Colorado, just a harrowing train ride over Corona Pass from Nederland in those days. Doc Susie recovered her own health in Fraser, and then she ventured forth on snowshoes, horseback, or in cabooses to save the lives of lumberjacks, miners, ranchers, railroaders, and their families. So desperate were they for medical attention that they didn’t care that she was a mere woman.
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Homesteading Big Owl

By Katherine Garetson

This little book is Garetson’s own account of proving her homestead near the base of Longs Peak. “Smitten by the mountains, but of limited means, Katherine hit upon the idea of homesteading as a way to acquire mountain property of her own. In those days it was unusual enough for a man to stake out and prove up his claim to a homestead…for a woman to do it was extraordinary. But do it Katherine did.” It wasn’t easy, and because the U.S. Forest Service contested her claim, it took her five years, from 1914 to 1919, instead of three.
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Separate Lives: The Story of Mary Rippon

By Silvia Pettem

As a pioneer woman educator, Mary Rippon received wide acclaim for her teaching, but in order to keep her job, she hid her husband and child behind a curtain of secrecy. This true story follows Mary from the small midwestern farm where she was born to the great centers of culture in Europe. In January of 1878, after years of education in Germany, France, and Switzerland, the soft-spoken twenty-seven-year-old woman was welcomed at the newly opened University of Colorado in the small frontier town of Boulder. The growth of her lengthy career paralleled the growth of the university where she worked her way up from the first female faculty member to the university's first female professor, eventually chairing the department of German language and literature.
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Tomboy Bride

By Harriet Fish Backus

Around the turn of the 20th century, twenty-year-old Harriet Fish hopped on a train in Oakland and headed to Denver to begin a new life with her fiancee George Backus. After the young couple was married, they excitedly began their new lives together. Their first journey took them about the town of Telluride near the Tomboy Mines at 11,800 feet where they made their first home. Harriet Fish Backus writes about her life as an assayer's wife and true pioneer of the West with heart-felt emotion and vivid detail. Share her amusing and often challenging experiences in the high San Juan Mountains; on the coast of northern British Columbia; in the heart of Idaho; and in Leadville, Colorado, the city in the clouds.
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The Last of the Wild West Cowgirls: A True Story

By Kay Turnbaugh

When cowgirl Goldie Griffith was married at Madison Square Garden in 1913 during a Buffalo Bill Wild West show, she had no idea that her new husband was wanted for murder in Texas. One of America’s first professional female athletes, she was a boxer, fencer, and a wrestler. She also was an actor in the new western flickers, or movies, that were becoming wildly popular across the country. Goldie also worked on what is now the famous Caribou Ranch in Colorado, trained dogs for the war, and opened a number of restaurants in Nederland to support herself and her young son. She was present at many significant early day western events and knew many of the people who helped the American West become important to our history.
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The Dog Stars

By Peter Heller

Hig survived the flu that killed everyone he knows. His wife is gone, his friends are dead, he lives in the hangar of a small abandoned airport in Erie, Colorado, with his dog, his only neighbor a gun-toting misanthrope. In his 1956 Cessna, Hig flies the perimeter of the airfield or sneaks off to the mountains (guess where?) to fish and to pretend that things are the way they used to be. But when a random transmission somehow beams through his radio, the voice ignites a hope deep inside him that a better life--something like his old life--exists beyond the airport. Risking everything, he flies past his point of no return--not enough fuel to get him home--following the trail of the static-broken voice on the radio. But what he encounters and what he must face--in the people he meets, and in himself--is both better and worse than anything he could have hoped.
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The Mirror

By Marlys Millhiser

On the eve of her wedding in 1978, Shay Garrett peers into the antique mirror in her family's longtime home, the famous Victorian Gingerbread House on Pearl Street in Boulder, Colorado, and falls unconscious only to wake in the body of her own grandmother Brandy on the eve of her wedding -- in 1900... and she takes a memorable trip by horse-drawn wagon up Boulder Canyon to Nederland. This is a fun jaunt through Nederland and Boulder at the turn of the century.
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By Sandra Dallas

During World War II, a family finds life turned upside-down when the government opens a Japanese internment camp in their small Colorado town. After a young girl is murdered, all eyes turn to the newcomers. Rennie has just turned thirteen, and until this time, life has been predictable and fair. But the winds of change are coming and with them, a shift in her perspective and a discovery of secrets that can destroy even the most sacred things. Part thriller, part historical novel, Tallgrass is a riveting exploration of the darkest—and best—parts of the human heart.
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The Stand

By Stephen King

Stephen King's The Shining was famously set in Colorado at the Stanley Hotel in Estes Park, but The Stand also takes place in Colorado. In 1985, after an accident at an army laboratory lets loose a virus that kills nearly the entire U.S., the survivors cross vast, horrifying wastelands to band together in Boulder, Colorado, and Las Vegas, facing off to decide the fate of the human race. 
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If you’re interested in reading more fiction set in Colorado, you might also want to check out these authors, just a few of the many who write about Colorado: Kent Haruf, John Dunning, Mary Hallock Foote, Gary Hart, David Mason, Dalton Trumbo (Eclipse), Kent Nelson, Barbara Nickless, and Sybil Downing


A PEEK AHEAD: what's on-order

Meet Me at the Lake

By Carley Fortune

A random connection sends two strangers on a daylong adventure where they make a promise one keeps and the other breaks, with life-changing effects.
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Witch King

By Martha Wells

A remarkable story of power and friendship, of trust and betrayal, and of the families we choose, Witch King is Martha Wells's first new fantasy in over a decade, drawing together her signature ability to create characters we adore and identify with, alongside breathtaking action and adventure, and the wit and charm we've come to expect from one of the leading writers of her generation. 
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The Talent Code: Unlocking the secret of skill in sports, art, music, math, and just about anything

By Daniel Coyle

Daniel Coyle, a revered journalist, spent years investigating the possible origins of skill. Whether it is sports, language, mathematics, or science, Coyle asserts the biology and myelin are the two biggest factors in producing success. Based on his findings, Coyle presents an easy, foolproof program that will allow listeners to develop their own path toward success.
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The Longmire Defense

By Craig Johnson

Deep in the heart of the Wyoming countryside, Sheriff Walt Longmire of Absaroka County is called to a crime scene like few others that he has seen. This crime brings up issues that go back to Walt’s grandfather’s time in Wyoming, as the revelations he learns about his grandfather come back to offer clues and motives for Walt’s investigation. Filled with back-country action, and with the great cast of characters that readers have come to love with the Longmire series, this new book will be sure to satisfy both long-time readers and those new to the series.
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