The Bookworm of Edwards shares 2014’s best books | VailDaily.com

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The Bookworm of Edwards shares 2014’s best books

EDWARDS — Christmas lights are being hung, halls are being decked and jingle bells are found along the way. This is a wonderful time when the year comes to a close and we gather those we love around a fire, reminiscing over all that has come to pass. The stories of love, heartache, hardship and victories paint the picture of what the past 12 months have held.

We at The Bookworm have reminisced over our own favorite stories from the year. Ours may differ a little in the sense that most of our stories are about friends we've made through the pages of our favorite books. We've worked very hard to put together a list of the best ones this year.

"There's no question that long nights and log fires put us in the mood for reading," said Nicole Magistro, owner of the bookshop. "A lot of discussion has gone in to whittling down an entire year of books into a list of the 10 best."

We want to share with you the stories that have touched our hearts. So as you look for a book to cozy up with next to the fire after a long day on the hill, these are the stories we loved this year.

Best Novel: "All the Light We Cannot See," by Anthony Doerr

This book has a growing consensus amongst our staff as the favorite book of the year. Longtime bookseller, Lisa Ekelman, would certainly agree.

"Set in Paris during WWII, this novel brings to life two memorable literary characters," said Ekelman. "Marie-Laure, a young girl who goes blind at age six, and a German orphan boy who is a radio wunderkid. It's a richly told story of art, architecture, marine science and human resilience."

Best Colorado Story: "The Painter," by Peter Heller

"It is simply a must read," said Ekelman. "A contemporary novel of fly-fishing, rural life, art, love and life choices. Ultimately, a poetic and wonderful book about the redemptive power of forgiveness."

The story follows Jim Stegner fleeing from his haunting past in New Mexico to make his home in the mountains of Colorado. He spends his days painting and fly fishing, lavishing the peace he has found. Then one day, when a shock encounter begins to unravel the life he's made, and he finds himself fleeing back to the past that waits for him.

Best Outdoor Book: "America's Great Hiking Trails," by Karen Berger and Bart Smith

Beautifully illustrated and meticulously detailed, this is every hiker's dream book. It follows the 11 of America's historic long-distance trails including the Continental Divide Trail running through Montana to New Mexico. A wonderful coffee table book, Berger and Smith detail specific needs for hikers, while inspiring them with breathtaking photography and flawless storytelling. This is a perfect bucket list for hikers of all ages.

Best History: "In the Kingdom of Ice," by Hampton Sides

A thrilling tale based on a true story of a crew commissioned to reach the illusive North Pole. They set off in high hopes but become shipwrecked and marooned in the middle of snow, ice, and solitude. Ekelman says this is "a masterpiece of narrative nonfiction. Sides is a writer that brings history alive. This true polar adventure story celebrates the American spirit!"

This page turning story of the will for survival will certainly spark your love for adventure and heroism.

Favorite Picture Book: "Sleepover with Beatrice and Bear," written and illustrated by Monica Carnesi

"This charming picture book will win your heart," said Franny Gustafson, children's director at The Bookworm. Beatrice has befriended Bear, and they spend their spring, winter and summer in games and fun. All of that changes when winter comes along and Bear needs to hibernate. Beatrice sees this as the perfect opportunity for a sleepover. "She packs her bag, including a toothbrush and her favorite blanket, and heads over to Bear's cave," said Gustafson. "But the entire winter is a LONG time to have a slumber party. Beatrice finds the perfect way to share the winter with Bear (without hibernating with him). Bright colors and simple text make this sweet friendship story a treasure."

Best Cookbook: "Plenty More," by Yotam Ottolenghi

Another wonderful book to have in your home this season is Ottolenghi's newest cookbook "Plenty More." The Bookworm staff distinguishes this cookbook as one truly based on the inspiration behind the dishes. Based out of London, Ottolenghi translates the craze for produce-specific recipes he has seen in the U.K. to the rest of the world in his new book. From appetizers to desserts, catch the same inspiration we have found as you prepare your holiday dishes.

Favorite Book for Families:

"365 Days of Wonder," by R.J. Palaccio

Gustafson said, "This uplifting companion to the bestselling novel, "Wonder," contains a precept (or words to live by) for each day of the year. The 365 precepts celebrate goodness, hopefulness, kindness, strength and joy. This is the perfect book for families to share during the holiday season and can be enjoyed by all ages, even if you haven't read "Wonder." It is a heartwarming and encouraging gift for families to spend the year together. Each page is uplifting with quotes from the book and thoughts to live off. Gather the family around and grow together with this wonderful collection of hope.

Favorite Teen Read:

"We Were Liars" by E. Lockhart

"This is a suspenseful and beautiful story of greed, secrets, mystery and true love," said Gustafson. The story follows Cadence Sinclair, heir of the Sinclair name. She and their cousins spend their summers on their private island. The bliss of security is struck after Cadence's mysterious accident. She knows nothing is the same after, but has no recollection of anything leading up to the fall. As she tries to put back the pieces of that fateful night, the lies fall away and the truth is finally revealed. As Gustafson says, "The twist at the end will leave you breathless."

Best Book Club Book: "Invention of Wings," by Sue Monk Kidd

Following the lives of a young girl, Sarah and her new handmaid, Handful, Kidd explores the tension and the tenderness in such a relationship. Spanning across 35 years of these two intertwined lives, we see heartache, dreams reached and crushed, and above all, we see the fight for women in their time. Passionate bookseller and mother of two, Karin Barker says, "This story evokes powerful questions and holds the perfect stage for intentional, fruitful discussions."

Best Storytelling: "Station Eleven," by Emily St. John Mandel

Another plot full of unforeseen circumstances unravels in the novel by Mandel. This story will take you in and out of time, through relationships and into the spotlight of fame. With a twist of post-apocalyptic flare, this novel integrates Shakespeare, Star Trek, comic books and modern technology into a love letter to the modern world.

Sarah Taylor is a manager at the Bookworm of Edwards. Email comments about this story to cschnell@vaildaily.com.