Fall Guide 2013

Our autumnal guide to media focuses on books, movies and music with local connections.

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Every year, the Reno News & Review focuses on “media” in our fall guide. Our conceit is, “Evenings are getting cooler, wouldn't you like to just curl up in bed with a good tablet and read or watch movies or listen to music?”

Well, let's be logical about this. Autumn is actually one of the most beautiful seasons in northern Nevada: Evenings and nights are comfortable, the days have that crisp bite, colors are changing. It's just a great time to be outside.

But we know how you are: You start building a pile of books next to the bed for those cold winter nights. You're probably sticking mental Post-its onto the back of your mind for the movies you'll watch in front of the roaring fire in November. And who buys music seasonally? You're probably like us, watching every Tuesday to see who has released new music.

We're just here to help with the planning.

Bedside Books

by D. Brian Burghart

Here are some books by local authors that should be residing in the pile next to your bed for that moment when the internet goes down. All of these books have connections to students and professors from the University of Nevada, Reno.

Waiting for the Cars

by Howard Goldbaum and Wendell W. Huffman

You probably heard about how we did a 3-D issue for our Biggest Little Best of Northern Nevada. In a way, Waiting for the Cars was the inspiration for that. This almost 500-page book features around 218 of Alfred A. Hart’s stereoscopic images of the Central Pacific Railroad between 1865 and 1869. Many readers will be familiar with the concept of stereoscopes, those old glasses into which a card with two very similar images would appear as one three-dimensional image when viewed through the glasses (sort of like those old View-Master toys we had when we were kids). This book uses that old technology, filtered through new digital technology, to create breathtaking images of that bygone era, but instead of looking through one of those wooden stereoscopes, you use the red and blue-lensed glasses included with the book. Somehow, Hart was able to capture the majesty of the railroad, one of the greatest technological achievements of the 1860s, and Howard Goldbaum, a university of Nevada, Reno journalism professor, was able to translate the medium into the modern era without losing the “historicity” of Hart’s work. Both are pretty amazing achievements. It’s available at Sundance Books and Music, but while I couldn’t find this book on Amazon, it’s available at www.waitingforthecars.com.

Robert Laxalt: The Story of a Storyteller

by Warren Lerude

If Nevada ever had a First Family, it was the Laxalts. Paul Laxalt was a U.S. senator who frequently got mentioned as a great friend to Ronald Reagan. His brother, Robert, is a towering figure in literature in this state, frequently mentioned in the same breath as Mark Twain and Walter van Tilburg Clark as one of the greatest writers Nevada has ever produced. Pulitzer-prize winning editor and 30-year fixture at the Donald W. Reynold’s School of Journalism Warren Lerude tells the story primarily from the collection of Laxalt’s papers at the UNR Archives and Special Collections, although the biography contains a distinct revenant of the 50-year friendship between Laxalt and Lerude, going into details in some places that would seem impossible except that the words went from Laxalts lips to Lerude’s ears. Actually, you’ve got to hand it to Lerude, it’s the details that probably didn’t come from the special collection that brings this story to life: war details, conversations, the price of a National Geographic in June 1966 (eight dollars a year or one dollar a copy), and this book represents an incredible amount of research and nose to the grindstone writing. This will undoubtedly go down as the premier biography of Bob Laxalt, but I’m at a loss to think of another lifelong Nevadan who has gotten a better scholarly treatment. At Sundance Books and Music or Amazon.com: ISBN-10: 1935709364

Viral Nation

Shaunta Grimes

I’m just like that person I described in the introduction to this Fall Guide: I squirrel away books that I’m planning to read sometime if the creek don’t rise. This is one of those. I met the author last semester in a speculative fiction class, and I was pretty impressed by her honest to goodness book deal (not to mention her dedication to the craft she expressed in the class.) I’ll be honest. Even though I’m an unwilling academic (or perhaps especially because), I secretly prefer books that hardly inform my mind at all, but take my imagination to places it wouldn’t go on its own: magical fantasies, graphic novels, lesbian porn. My job makes me spend way too much time in the “real” world. Viral Nation falls into the Young Adult genre of fiction. It’s the story of a young autistic woman who lives on an Earth on which the population has been all but destroyed by a disease. The hero is also a time traveler. The world is run by an evil corporation. It’s the protagonist’s lot to try to expose the corporation’s hidden agenda, save her brother, save the world, and leave room for a sequel. Viral Nation is an easy, fun read, good to turn the brain off to, and a great reason to escape to places the workaday life won’t take you. At Sundance Books and Music or Amazon.com: ISBN-10: 0425265137

Mending the Moon

Susan Palwick

Since I restarted and then put on hiatus our books feature Western Lit, I’ve been highly impressed by the novels that have been written and published by teachers and former students from Nevada’s college system. Christopher Coake, Clair Vaye Watkins and Mark Maynard all produced books that I’d call “literature,” a sort of step above fiction, and yet the authors are still living. It’s a new and different way of viewing Reno’s authorial curriculum vitae. Now, Susan Palwick, whom I had as a teacher in the aforementioned speculative fiction class, is known primarily as a writer of science fiction and fantasy. In fact, She’s considered a top writer of the genre, but Mending the Moon is a departure from that. In fact, while it incorporates comic books and the way fantasy inhabits our lives, it falls under that heading of “literature,” although I’ll bet some science fiction purists would have issues with it. There are parts of this novel that are hard to read, not because they’re fantastic, and that turns people off, but because rape and murder are too real, and that turns some people off, too. But we all know the feeling we get when we answer the phone to the words, “I have terrible news.” At Sundance Books and Music or Amazon.com: ISBN-10:0765327589