Nevada Reads

Nevada Reads Returns with 2019 Book Selections

Honesty, identity, and family legacy themes run deep through the 2019 book selections for our Nevada Reads program. This year Nevada Reads features powerful storytelling through two books—Heavy: An American Memoir by Kiese Laymon, and Don’t Skip Out On Me, a novel by Nevada author Willy Vlautin. Throughout 2019 Nevada Humanities will offer book clubs, discussion groups, and community partnership-led initiatives all across Nevada that feature discussions around these selected books. Watch this page for a Nevada Reads event near you.

Nevada Reads is a statewide book club that invites Nevadans to read selected works of literature and then come together in their communities to share the ideas and perceptions inspired by the books they have read. Nevada Reads offers avenues for discussion of topics of importance to the people of Nevada. Delve into the 2019 Nevada Reads books:

Heavy: An American Memoir by Kiese Laymon. Scribner

In Heavy, Kiese Laymon writes eloquently and honestly about growing up a hard-headed, black son to a complicated and brilliant black mother in Jackson, Mississippi. From his early experiences of sexual violence, to his suspension from college, to his trek to New York as a young college professor, Laymon charts his complex relationship with his mother, grandmother, anorexia, obesity, sex, writing, and ultimately gambling. By attempting to name secrets and lies he and his mother spent a lifetime avoiding, Laymon asks himself, his mother, his nation, and us to confront the terrifying possibility that few in this nation actually know how to responsibly love, and even fewer want to live under the weight of actually becoming free.
A personal narrative that illuminates national failures, Heavy is defiant yet vulnerable, an insightful, often comical exploration of weight, identity, art, friendship, and family that begins with a confusing childhood—and continues through 25 years of haunting implosions and long reverberations. Heavy, shortlisted for the Andrew Carnegie Medal and the Kirkus Prize, was named one of the Best Books of 2018 by the New York Times and other publications. It was also named Audible’s Audiobook of the Year.

Born and raised in Jackson, Mississippi, Laymon is the Ottilie Schillig Professor of English and Creative Writing at the University of Mississippi, and is the author of the novel Long Division and a collection of essays, How to Slowly Kill Yourself and Others in America. He is also the author of the memoir Heavy: An American Memoir.

Don’t Skip Out On Me by Willy Vlautin. Harper Perennial

A moving story about a young man’s search for belonging, Don’t Skip Out On Me is an understated yet powerful exploration of identity and loneliness pulled from deep within America’s soul.
Horace Hopper has spent most of his life on a Nevada sheep ranch, but dreams of something bigger. Mr. and Mrs. Reese, the aging ranchers, took him in after his parents abandoned him, treating him like the son they always wanted. But Horace, ashamed of not only his half-Paiute, half-Irish heritage but also the fact that his parents didn’t want him, feels as if he doesn’t truly belong on the ranch, or anywhere. Believing that he needs to make a name for himself, Horace leaves behind the only loving home he has ever known for Tucson, where he aims to prove his worth as a championship boxer. Horace struggles to adapt to his new life in the city, and grows more and more isolated, withdrawing into himself as he struggles with the pain of his boxing injuries and his loneliness.

Born and raised in Reno, Nevada, Vlautin started playing guitar and writing songs as a teenager and quickly became immersed in music. It was a Paul Kelly song, based on Raymond Carver’s Too Much Water So Close to Home that inspired him to start writing stories. Vlautin has published five novels: The Motel Life (2007), Northline (2008), Lean On Pete (2010), The Free (2014), and Don’t Skip Out On Me (2018).

Educated by Tara Westover. Random House
Tara Westover was 17 the first time she set foot in a classroom. Born to survivalists in the mountains of Idaho, she prepared for the end of the world by stockpiling home-canned peaches and sleeping with her “head-for-the-hills bag.” The family was so isolated from mainstream society that there was no one to ensure the children received an education, and no one to intervene when Westover’s older brother became violent. Then, lacking any formal education, Westover began to educate herself. She taught herself enough mathematics and grammar to be admitted to Brigham Young University, where she studied history, learning for the first time about important world events like the Holocaust and the civil rights movement. Her quest for knowledge transformed her, taking her over oceans and across continents, to Harvard and to Cambridge. Only then would she wonder if she’d traveled too far, if there was still a way home.

Westover is an American author. Born in Idaho to a father opposed to public education, she never attended school, and was seventeen the first time she set foot in a classroom. After that first encounter with education, she pursued learning for a decade, graduating magna cum laude from Brigham Young University in 2008 and subsequently winning a Gates Cambridge Scholarship. She earned an M.Phil. from Trinity College, Cambridge, in 2009, and in 2010 was a visiting fellow at Harvard University. She returned to Cambridge, where she was awarded a Ph.D. in history in 2014.


Nevada Reads is a program of Nevada Humanities and is made possible with support from Nevada State Library, Archives, and Public Records; the Institute of Museum and Library Services; and the National Endowment for the Humanities. Those interested in reading the 2019 Nevada Reads books and participating in the scheduled programming are encouraged to request the books at their public library or purchase them now.





Nevada Humanities Presents Author Julie Buntin
Nevada Reads Author Tours Northern Nevada in May


Nevada Humanities proudly welcomes author Julie Buntin at a series of events throughout Northern Nevada during the month of May.
Ms. Buntin is the author of Marlena: A Novel, which focuses on themes of belonging, poverty, coming-of-age, and the national opioid epidemic
Marlena is
the 2018 pick for Nevada Readsa statewide, public book club. 


The following events, which feature Ms. Buntin and Marlena: A Novel, will take place in Northern
Nevada. Some events are part of Nevada Humanities’ Pop-Up Salon and The Salon series that feature a
panel discussion with topics relevant to the humanities in Nevada and include audience discussion and
light refreshments. All events are free and open to all. 


Tuesday, May 15, 2018
12 -1 pm
Julie Buntin in Conversation
Brown-bag lunch talk
Nevada State Library, Archives & Public Records
100 N. Stewart Street, Carson City
775-684- 3360


Tuesday, May 15, 2018
5:30 – 6:30 pm
Julie Buntin in Conversation
Douglas County Public Library
1625 Library Lane, Minden
775-782- 9841


Wednesday, May 16, 2018
Pop-Up Salon: Nevada Reads with Julie Buntin
5:30 – 6:30 pm
Great Basin College Library, McMullen Hall
1500 College Parkway, Elko
775-738- 8493


Moderated by journalist Lori Gilbert, the evening will feature a conversation with author Julie Buntin, as
she discusses her first novel, Marlena, which focuses on themes of belonging, poverty, coming-of- age,
and the national opioid epidemic. The evening includes a Q + A and book signing following the Pop-Up


Friday, May 18, 2018
The Salon: Nevada Reads with Julie Buntin
6:00 – 7:30 pm
Sundance Books and Music
121 California Ave, Reno
775-786- 1188


Moderated by Dr. Katherine Fusco, assistant professor in the English department at the University of
Nevada, Reno, the evening will feature a conversation with author Julie Buntin. Ms. Buntin will discuss
her first novel, Marlena, focusing on themes of belonging, poverty, coming-of- age, and the national
opioid epidemic.

In addition to these public events, Julie Buntin will visit several high schools to discuss her work and writing process. 

Julie Buntin grew up in northern Michigan. Her debut novel, Marlena: A Novel, was a finalist for the

National Book Critics Circle’s John Leonard Prize, longlisted for The Center for Fiction’s First Novel Prize,
and named a best book of 2017 by over thirteen venues, including The Washington Post,
NPR, and Kirkus Reviews. Her writing has appeared in The Atlantic, Vogue, The New York Times Book
Review, Guernica, and other publications. She currently lives in Brooklyn, New York, and is the Director
of Writing Programs at Catapult.




Love a good read? Nevada Reads—a new conversational book club from Nevada Humanities—has not one but two excellent selections for the top of your 2018 “must read” list.


Marlena: A Novel by Julie Buntin


Dreamland: The True Tale of America’s Opiate Epidemic by Sam Quinones


Nevada Reads is a new statewide book club that invites Nevadans to read selected works of literature and come together in their communities to share the ideas and perceptions inspired by the books they have read. Nevada Reads offers avenues for safe discussion of topics of importance to Nevadans.


Get involved! All across Nevada in 2018 you will have the opportunity to join in Nevada Reads book clubs, discussion groups, and/or community partnership-led events that focus conversation around these two books. 


Don’t miss out! Pick up a copy of these books, and watch this space for all details about upcoming Nevada Reads opportunities near you. Join in the statewide Nevada Reads conversation today!