Crack open one of these books based in Reno to see the Biggest Little City through the eyes of some acclaimed authors. From mysteries to short stories, writers have found inspiration on the banks of the Truckee and the hustle and bustle of downtown. If you’re looking for a new read, then check out these books based in Reno to add to your list.

Fiction Books Based In Reno-Tahoe


With “Battleborn,” University of Nevada, Reno graduate Claire Vaye Watkins made a splash on the literary scene. Her 2012 book of short stories set in Reno won The Story Prize, among other awards. In 2012, the National Book Foundation named her a “5 under 35” honoree.

“City of Trembling Leaves”

A semi-autobiographical novel by Walter Van Tilburg Clark, “The City of Trembling Leaves” takes readers into the world of Reno in the early 20th century. His descriptions of the Biggest Little City ring with evident fondness, as Clark grew up in Reno, son of a University of Nevada president. Fair warning, at more than 600 pages, it’s a heft read, but it’s worth it.

“Roughing It”

In this book, Mark Twain coined the famous description of Lake Tahoe as “surely the fairest picture the whole world affords.” Another semi-autobiographical piece, “Roughing It,” follows the travels of young Mark Twain through the Wild West from 1861 through 1867 and his adventures on the Comstock.

Owen McKenna Tahoe Mysteries series

With 17 books so far, the Owen McKenna Tahoe Mysteries series can keep you entertained and engaged for weeks. Written by Todd Borg, the books follow McKenna, a former homicide inspector in San Francisco who moved to South Lake Tahoe after a tragic event. Borg published the most recent Tahoe Mystery, “Tahoe Deep,” in 2019.

To pick up a copy of one of these books based in Reno-Tahoe, visit Sundance Books and Music, which offers online and in-person purchasing options.

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