Perhaps the purest meditation on Utah's natural beauty is Edward Abbey's Desert Solitaire, which describes his seasons as a ranger in Arches National Park outside of Moab. Those interested in probing the natural history of the region even further should consider John McPhee's Basin and Range, which explores the ancient terrain of Utah. Visitors looking for classics can also turn to Louis L'Amour classics Silver Canyon and The Tall Stranger. If you're interested in Utah's emergence as the setting for John Wayne westerns, consider Buzz Bissenger's 2009 Vanity Fair piece "Inventing Ford County."
Much of the writing about Utah centers on the Mormon Church. Wallace Stegner's Mormon County traces the migration of the Mormons across the inhospitable midwest to the dry lands between the Rockies and the Sierra Nevada. Jon Krakauer's Under the Banner of Heaven explores Mormon fundamentalism by focusing on a brutal murder allegedly undertaken in the name of divine revelation. The fiction that explores Utah's primary religion focuses on polygamy. David Ebershoff's The 19th Wife traces the efforts of one of Brigham Young's wives to end polygamy. The Lonely Polygamist and The Chosen One offer more contemporary takes on Mormonism from the perspective of a teen assigned to become the wife of her sixty year old uncle and a midlife crisis of the husband of four wives, respectively. HBO's tv series Big Love explores the life of a modern-day polygamist who lives in suburban Salt Lake City with his seven children and three "sister-wives".
There's plenty of interesting non-fiction as well. Norman Mailer's Pulitzer Prize-winning The Executioner's Song tells the story of Gary Gilmore, a product of Utah's prisons who insisted on dying for his crimes and became the first person executed in the United States since reinstitution of the death penalty. Spiral Jetta chronicles a recovering art historian's road trip to explore the art of the great American southwest, including Robert Smithson's famous Spiral Jetty on the northeastern shore of the Great Salt Lake.
If you'd prefer to watch a movie, Hollywood's fascination with Utah's landscape isn't limited to classic westerns. James Franco brings Aron Rolstan's heroic tale of survival to the big screen in 127 Hours. (GQ chronicled Rolstan's actual story in its 2003 essay "Men of the Year: Survivor.") John Travolta and Christian Slater crash a stealth bomber in the Utah desert in Broken Arrow. And you can watch a young Indiana Jones (River Phoenix) growing up in Utah in Indiana Jones and the Last Crusade.