Emily Calkins of the King County Library System offers binge-able titles that will keep you entertained through January. Find these digital titles and more at kcls.org, or check out a hard copy with one of KCLS’ contactless pickup services. Find a participating location near you at kcls.org/contactless.
Outlawed by Anna North
In this alternate history, women who can’t have children are accused of witchcraft and hanged. After a year of marriage and no baby, 18-year-old Ada flees her home to protect herself. She joins up with the notorious Hole-in-the-Wall gang, run by the mysterious Kid. In her slow-burn Western, author Anna North includes women, queer characters, and people of color — groups that have often been left out of the genre. Stagecoach robberies and women’s health might seem like an unusual combination, but this novel combines them seamlessly to ask questions about gender, power, and freedom.
How Much of These Hills Is Gold by C Pam Zhang
Two orphaned siblings wander the American West seeking a place to bury their father, who is a Chinese immigrant coal miner. The children navigate strange landscapes and even stranger relationships in this lyrical novel.
Doc by Mary Doria Russell
Decades before the infamous shootout at the O.K. Corral, Doc Holliday was a young dentist and gambler in Dodge City. This fictionalized biography explores his friendship with the Earp Brothers and his relationship with sex worker Kate Harony.
EMILY CALKINS is the readers’ services program coordinator for KCLS, where she specializes in connecting readers with stories, authors, and each other. She also is the co-host of KCLS’ podcast, The Desk Set. As a reader, she likes flawed characters, atmospheric world-building, and anything with a slow-burn romance.