Alta Journal contributing writers covered it all this year, inspiring and challenging our editors into pushing the magazine deeper into our mission of celebrating all things West. Just as no parent has a favorite child, no editor has a favorite story—but these articles were selected as some of the most effective work we’ve done in the past year. Each one of these selections is worth your time. We hope you enjoy reading them as much as we enjoyed bringing them to you.
“Alta’s 2022 Favorite Bookstores: By Region”
Alta contributors compiled a (very long) list of our favorite independent bookstores throughout the West, a list that has since been updated four times and continues to grow.
“Seven Minutes for Joan,” by Griffin Dunne
Didion’s nephew remembers the gift of directing the acclaimed documentary Joan Didion: The Center Will Not Hold.
“She Has a Name,” by Louise Farr
Veteran investigator Steve Rhods helped take down the Golden State Killer. But solving the identity of his first Jane Doe murder case has proved even more vexing and reveals a larger problem: Why does society so easily overlook missing women of color?
“‘The Ways of Fiction Are Devious Indeed,’” by Sands Hall
Sands Hall finds current relevancy—and outrage—in the accusations of plagiarism that have long haunted a classic of the West: Wallace Stegner’s Angle of Repose.
“California Is Hog Wild,” by Denise Hamilton
The state’s bursting at the seams with invasive pigs, to the dismay of biologists, conservationists, and farmers everywhere.
“Tupac in the Afterlife,” by Santi Elijah Holley
Twenty-five years after his murder, Shakur looms larger than ever as new fans connect his lyrics and legacy to Black Lives Matter, social inequity, and poverty.
“A Rat-Filled Casino,” by Ajay Orona
Drowsy apes and exorbitant prices were just the beginning. NFTs are stealing the spotlight and upending the art world. Their next trick: unlocking the metaverse.
“Lady Stardust,” by Ishmael Reed
This original poem was influenced by Ishmael Reed’s conversations with physicists and an ongoing curiosity about the universe.
“He Dreams About the Bunny Ranch,” by Allie Rowbottom
Allie Rowbottom’s heartbreaking short story contemplates how a couple handles dying and the grief that comes with it.
“Play It as He Lays,” by Will Self
The Academy Awards represents the last gasps of a morally decrepit version of Hollywood.
“The Dark Season,” by David L. Ulin
John Gregory Dunne’s Vegas is an epic of displacement.
“The Man That Got Away,” by Sam Wasson
Jim Bailey spent his career impersonating Judy Garland, leaving a biographer to ponder: Where did that leave him?