Colorado Springs Reading Program Selects Book Inspired by Destruction of Small Colorado Town | Arts & Entertainment

Colorado Springs Reading Program Selects Book Inspired by Destruction of Small Colorado Town | Arts & Entertainment

This year’s All Pikes Peak Reads selection offers more than just good fiction. It also offers a lesson in Colorado history.

“Go As a River” by Shelley Read is the featured book in Pikes Peak Library District’s annual community reading program.


The Pikes Peak Library District’s new All Pikes Peak Reads selection is “The Girls Who Stepped Out of Line: Untold Stories of the Women Who Changed the Course of World War II,” by Maj. Gen. (Ret.) Mari K. Eder. The nonfiction books are accompanied by the traveling exhibit “Americans and the Holocaust,” from the U.S. Holocaust Memorial Museum in Washington, D.C. The 1,100-square-foot interactive exhibit examines the American response to Nazism, war and genocide in Europe in the 1930s and 1940s. The exhibit opens in September at East Library.

“We haven’t done a fiction book in years,” said PPLD Senior Librarian Heidi Buljung. “It’s historical fiction, so it opens your eyes to a lesser-known part of Colorado history. It’s great that it wraps true historical events into a story about a young woman’s life.”

Read, a graduate of Doherty High School who now lives on the Western Slope in the Gunnison Valley, was inspired by the devastation of the small ranching town of Iola in Gunnison County. In the mid-1960s, the Blue Mesa Dam and Reservoir project flooded the town, forcing hundreds of families to relocate.


It is often said: in vino veritas, or in wine, lies the truth.

The novel introduces readers to Victoria Nash, a 17-year-old who runs her family’s household on their Iola peach farm and has a life-changing chance encounter with a drifter who has been forced from his tribal land. Following a tragedy, Victoria flees her home and seeks refuge in the surrounding mountains, where she struggles to survive as the Gunnison River threatens to engulf her town and home.

The film rights for the 2023 book have been sold.


Historian and author Mark Lee Gardner will receive the Frank Waters Award, children’s author Donna Guthrie will receive the Golden Quill Award, and Jim and Mary Ciletti, owners of the bookstore Hooked on Books, will receive the Best Friend Award at the Friends of Pikes Peak Library District Annual Literary Awards luncheon on June 1.

The book is now available at all PPLD locations, and also in eBook and eAudio formats. Read will give a free presentation and do a meet and greet and book signing on October 5th at Library 21c.

To complement the book, PPLD is offering free activities in September. Author David Primus will give a talk on the history of the Gunnison Valley before the Blue Mesa Reservoir was completed; El Paso County CSU Extension will offer a class on canning water; and a local chef will teach people how to make peach crumble. More information is available online at

Contact the author: 636-0270