Paul Daniello is reading Mornings in Jenin by Susan Abulhawa for Step 9.
Karin Edwards is reading Enos A. Mills historical sign on Highway 7 by Namaqua Chapter Daughters of the American Revolution for Step 7.
Karin Edwards is reading Ceremony by Leslie Marmon Silko for Step 3.
Karin Edwards is reading Yellow Dirt by Judy Pasternak for Step 9.
Elsa Toskey is reading All We Can Save: Truth, Courage, and Solutions for the Climate Crisis by Ayana Elizabeth Johnson for Step 4.
Elsa Toskey is reading Salmon: A Fish, the Earth, and the History of a Common Fate by Mark Kurlansky for Step 9.
Elsa Toskey is reading Underbug: An Obsessive Tale of Termites and Technology by Lisa Margonelli for Step 8.
David Picariello is reading Secrets of Mary Magdelane by Dan Burstein and Arne J. De Keijzer for Step 3.
Kay Antunez de Mayolo is reading The Forgotten Botanist - Sara Plummer Lemmon's Life of Science and Art by Wynne Brown for Step 9.
Nick Mustoe is reading Natural Rivals by John Clayton for Step 9.
Summer Reading with High Country News

What are you reading?

Submit your book picks below for each step of the #HCNSummerReading challenge.

I am reading by for

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Input your email to track your progress and get updates on the contest*:

*This does not sign you up for newsletters from High Country News. To receive HCN's email newsletters, visit our sign up page.

Read with High Country News

For the second year, High Country News is running a summer reading challenge. The aim is to spark some joy through a bit of structure and a few gentle nudges to read topics, genres or forms you might not otherwise seek out.

This year, the prompts were written by Melissa Chadburn, HCN’s contributing editor for books, culture and commentary, Poetry Editor Paisley Rekdal and Contributing Editor Michelle Nijhuis — an all-star lineup to kick off your reading season!

Book picks

Browse the books submitted by HCN readers for this year’s summer reading challenge! If you use the links below to purchase a book at, High Country News may receive a small commission. Or, you can choose to support your local bookstore with your purchase. There are also links to WorldCat, which can help you find that title in a library near you.

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How to play

1. Download or view the full path with reading prompts included.

2. Follow the path, reading something inspired by each prompt. (Loose interpretations of the prompts are encouraged!)

3. As you go, submit your book picks using the form above — and check to see how other HCNers are interpreting the prompts through their picks.

4. If you make it all the way to the end of the path, congratulations! Let us know at But even if you don’t, we hope you enjoy the journey.

Upcoming events

Check back for updates as upcoming events are confirmed.

Ben Goldfarb, Crossings

August 31

HCN Correspondent Ben Goldfarb’s latest book, Crossings: How Road Ecology Is Shaping the Future of Our Planet, looks at the ways roads have impacted wildlife — far beyond harms like roadkill. Roads interrupt migrations, contaminate waterways, spread invasive species and even chase away songbirds through traffic noise, but the new science of road ecology is also researching solutions.

Vauhini Vara, This Is Salvaged

September 28

Vauhini Vara — author of The Immortal King Rao, a finalist for the 2023 Pulitzer Prize in Fiction — explores the intricacies of relationships in her latest story collection: This is Salvaged. A young girl reads the encyclopedia to her elderly neighbor, who is descending into dementia. A pair of teenagers seek intimacy as phone-sex operators. A competitive sibling tries to rise above the drunken mess of her own life to become a loving aunt. One sister consumes the ashes of another.

Past events

Gloria Dickie, Eight Bears

Gloria Dickie is an award-winning journalist who’s currently a global climate and environment correspondent at Reuters News Agency — as well as a former High Country News intern! In Eight Bears: Mythic Past and Imperiled Future, she embarks on a globe-trotting journey to examine the stories of the eight remaining bear species.


Fire Weather at Powell’s in Portland

Catch HCN Contributing Editor Michelle Nijhuis in conversation with John Vaillant, author of The Tiger, at 7 p.m. Wednesday, June 7, at Powell’s City of Books in Portland to talk about his latest work: Fire Weather: A True Story from a Hotter World. If that sounds familiar, it’s because Michelle spoke with John for a Q&A about Fire Weather in HCN’s June issue. If you’re local, stop by to catch the conversation in person.


Jane Cates from Littleton Colorado has submitted 9 picks.

Chris Seeholzer from Sedona, AZ has submitted 9 picks.

Georgeanne Hanna from Prescott Valley, AZ has submitted 9 picks.

Karin Edwards from Estes Park has submitted 9 picks.

Madison Fowler-Niblock from Eugene, OR has submitted 6 picks.

Steve Bremner from Manitou Springs Colorado has submitted 6 picks.

Zoë Plakias from Bellingham, WA has submitted 5 picks.

Amy Brunvand from Salt Lake City, Utah has submitted 5 picks.

Sara Amish from Golden, CO has submitted 4 picks.

Gretchen King from Gunnison, Colorado has submitted 3 picks.


Browse books that High Country News has covered recently.