One Book One Community readers will travel to ‘Deep Creek’ through former Parkite Pam Houston’s memoir |

One Book One Community readers will travel to ‘Deep Creek’ through former Parkite Pam Houston’s memoir

Pam Houston’s memoir, “Deep Creek: Finding Hope in the High County” is this year’s One Book One Community read. Houston, an English professor at University of California Davis, is a former Parkite who worked at Dolly’s Bookstore.
Courtesy of Pam Houston

This year’s One Book One Community read will be Pam Houston’s memoir, “Deep Creek: Finding Hope in the High Country.”

Kirsten Nilsson, a Summit County Library librarian, and Dolly’s Bookstore Manager Michaela Smith cite a few reasons why they, along with County Library Director Dan Compton and Park City LIbrary librarian Kate Mapp, chose the book.

One reason is because the book is set in Creede, a small town nestled in the San Juan Mountains of Colorado that is not unlike Park City, Nilsson said.

Houston describes Creede as “the kind of place where if you happen to be in town for a couple days poking around, someone will invite you to a wedding.”

I think there is nothing like literature to unify people, especially now…” Kirsten Nilsson, Summit County Library librarian

The book addresses how the town and living on a 120-acre ranch helped Houston find some peace after experiencing some deep emotional and physical trauma during her childhood, Nilsson said.

Smith said another reason people may be interested in reading the book is because the award-winning Houston, a cofounder and creative director of the literary nonprofit Writing By Writers, is a former Parkite.

“While Pam was attending the University of Utah many years ago, she used to work here at Dolly’s,” she said. “So, it’s like she’s come full circle.”

The last reason for selecting “Deep Creek” for One Book One Community, an annual program that culminates with an author presentation in the fall, is because Houston had already given a presentation at the Summit County Library Kamas Valley Branch in January, according to Smith.

The event was sponsored by the Utah Humanities Center for the Book program, which is designed to promote and nurture the love of books, and explore issues through literature, in January, she said.

“That event was so well attended,” Smith said. “She is a great speaker, and the stories she tells are so compelling.”

This year’s One Book One Community presentation is scheduled for 7 p.m. on Sept. 10, at the Park City Library’s Jim Santy Auditorium, if the COVID-19 self-isolation protocols are lifted, Nilsson said.

The public can either purchase the book from Dolly’s Bookstore or check out an ebook from the Park City or Summit County libraries to get a jump on reading.

Dolly’s is open from 10 a.m. to 6 p.m. Mondays through Fridays, and the book can be purchased by visiting or by calling 435-649-0862.

The book can be shipped or picked up curbside, according to Smith.

Readers who want to digitally check out “Deep Creek” may do so by contacting the Summit County and Park City libraries at or, Nilsson said.

The book is available as an immediate ‘on-demand’ ebook, so it will always be available at any time for any amount of readers, according to Nilsson.

If the COVID-19 protocols are still in place, Nilsson believes Houston will find a way to at least do a virtual presentation.

“She’s the type of person who would bend over backwards to make things happen,” Nilsson said. “Not only is she super creative, she also teaches at UC Davis, and has been working with her students online. So I can see her doing something like that.”

Nilsson discovered a personal connection with Houston when the author stayed at her home during January’s visit.

In one part of the book, Houston rescues a baby elk named Willa, which reminded Nilsson of American novelist and writer Willa Cather.

Nilsson had written her masters thesis about Cather, so she asked Houston if the elk’s name was a reference to the writer.

“She said yes, and there was an immediate bond between us,” Nilsson said. “Pam then told me that her writing is influenced by Willa Cather, who also wrote about nature and land. And I totally felt that.”

Nilsson also enjoyed reading the book because it wasn’t written with a bitter tone, she said.

“I found it to be really personal, and I liked that it leaves the reader with a feeling of hopefulness,” she said.

One Book One Community program, which is designed to promote a love of literature while encouraging families, friends, and neighbors to share their experience while reading the same book, debuted in 2003, and has featured authors such as Camron Wright, Ruta Sepetys and David Oliver Relin.

Nilsson said the program is needed more than ever today.

“I think there is nothing like literature to unify people, especially now,” she said. “Although there are so many aspects of COVID-19 that have been really hard, I think everyone reading the same book at the same time, particularly this book which is about being helpful through hard times, gives us a feeling that we can make it through these trials.”

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