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

Each week as part of SunLit – the literature section of The Sun – we feature staff recommendations from bookstores across Colorado. This week, the staff at Out West Books in Grand Junction recommends Rock Art, Spirits of the Stone, and The Lost World of the Old Ones.

Rock Art: A Vision of a Disappearing Cultural Landscape

By Jonathan Bailey
Johnson Books
October 2019


From the publisher: A plea for conservation told through 200 stunning photographs by Jonathan Bailey and 19 essays written by prominent archaeologists, anthropologists, artists and members of local tribal councils. It highlights the many threats these sacred places face and provides valuable insight into how we can care for this land responsibly.

From Marya at Out West Books: I have a degree in archeology, which I don’t often use as a bookseller – unless it’s curating books like Jonathan Bailey’s Rock Art. Well! I used my degree! This is more than a coffee table photo book. Yes, Jonathan’s photography is stunning and includes many panels of lesser-known petroglyphs and pictographs, but it’s the essays by writers like REBurrillo, Greg Child, and Fort Lewis professor Andrew Gulliford that make this a book that will you should read it slowly and digest it.

In addition to emphasizing protection, which to most of us seems like a no-brainer, the essayists in Rock Art make it clear how absolutely invaluable these sites are to science and history, and how important it is that each of us understand and protect them.

Spirits of Stone

By Garry and Ming Adams
Canyon of the Ancients Visitor Ranch
45 dollars

To buy Contact Out West Books

From the publisher: This book is a tribute to the ancient artists and their creations in stone. These magical images continue to mystify and inspire us with their power and beauty. We hope this book will promote more awareness of the unique treasures the ancients left behind and help us understand the importance of preserving their legacy.

From Marya at Out West Books: This is a coffee table book. Filled with stunning photographs of pictographs, petroglyphs, ruins and canyons from southwestern Colorado and eastern Utah, this book is itself a call for conservation. Gary and Ming Adams own the Canyon of the Ancients Guest Ranch in McElmo Canyon near Cortez, and it strategically places them in the heart of the ancient art of the Colorado Plateau. Their love of the area and its ancient wonders shines through this beautiful visual gallery of places worth protecting.

The Lost World of the Ancients: Discoveries in the Ancient Southwest

By David Roberts
WW Norton
April 2016


From the publisher: In this thrilling story of intellectual and archaeological discovery, David Roberts recounts the past twenty years of his remote exploits in search of spectacular prehistoric ruins and rock art panels known to very few modern travelers. His adventures span Utah, Arizona, New Mexico, and southwestern Colorado and illuminate the mysteries of the Ancestral Puebloans and their contemporary Mogollon and Fremont neighbors, as well as the more recent Navajo and Comanche.

From Marya at Out West Books: David Roberts’ The Lost World of the Ancients and its companion book, In Search of the Ancients: Exploring the Anasazi World of the Southwest, are favorite books here at the store. In The Lost World, David explores a more recent approach to science, emphasizing that archeology is not about “things,” the artifacts unearthed in excavations, because the archeology of things is the archeology of loss. It seems true that once something is “discovered”, it disappears or is vandalized. The desecration of tombs in Egypt is a prime example. A personal example would be: hiking in what is now Bear’s Ears in the early 1980s, I could barely walk without stepping on pot shards. Now the scraps are few.

In part, this book is about David accompanying archaeologists from the Utah Museum of Natural History as they surveyed Range Creek shortly after rancher Waldo Wilcox took over the canyon, which was barely touched by modern man. It’s also about much more than artifacts and ruins. Roberts spends some time with Stephen Lekson, professor at CSU, and his Chaco Meridian theory. I love this book full of its larger than life characters and thought provoking premise. Dig an object? Leave the arrowhead in place? How did that blanket end up in the Telluride museum?


Out West Books

533 Main St., Grand Junction


As part of The Colorado Sun’s literature section – SunLit – we’re featuring staff picks from bookstores across the state. Read more.

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