Gift Guide: 5 books to help readers of all ages escape to Colorado |

Gift Guide: 5 books to help readers of all ages escape to Colorado

Books are some of the most classic holiday gifts to give and receive. As scores of people have philosophized over the centuries, books provide an opportunity to escape into another world. There’s a reason people like to physically escape to Vail for a vacation, so who says we can’t do that in a book as well.

Here are five books released in 2020 that will help any reader escape to Colorado.

“Lyrics For Rock Stars,” by Heather Mateus Sappenfield

Longtime local Sappenfield’s first collection of short stories came out this fall, sharing 20 years of the author’s writing. After quitting her job as an English teacher at Battle Mountain High School to pursue a master’s degree in creative writing, Sappenfield started several of the short stories now published in “Lyrics for Rock Stars.” She became well-known for writing young adult titles, and recently decided to pivot back to her literary roots. She pulled some of those old stories back out and rewrote them, drawing from life experience she gained since then. Along with new stories, she hopes that each reader can find a connection to Colorado — she’s a native — and the rich history amongst ourselves and our surroundings.

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“Colorado’s Highest: The History of Naming the 14,000-Foot Peaks,” by Jeri Norgren and John Fielder

Published this fall, "Colorado's Highest" reflects perhaps the first attempt to chronicle state history by examining all 58 14ers and how they got their names.
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More than four years of research and 20 years of photos came together in “Colorado’s Highest,” which shares stories from each 14er’s history. With stories behind all 58 peaks and how they got their names, Norgren’s historical chronicle pairs with renouned wildlife and landscape photographer John Fielder’s work. Some of it comes from his archive, with many images seeing public eyes for the first time. Art from oil painter Bob Wogrin rounds out the art selection.

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“Pulling Harvey Out of Her Hat: The Amazing Story of Mary Coyle Chase,” by Mimi Pockross

Did you know Mary Chase, the creator of the Broadway play “Harvey” immortalized in the 1950 Jimmy Stewart film, grew up in Denver? The writer won a Pulitzer Prize for her story about a six-foot imaginary rabbit friend. Chase’s love of writing started with humble beginnings when she worked as a reporter for the Rocky Mountain News, becoming one of the few women of her day reporting on hard news rather than society pages. Her character Harvey went on to become a part of Americana, spawning spin-offs with “Donnie Darko,” “Who Framed Roger Rabbit?” and appearances in “The Simpsons.” Author Pockross, a freelance journalist, has owned a second home in Vail for 25 years and moved here permanently in 2018.

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“Looking in the Rearview Mirror,” by Bob Buckley

Bob Buckley's stories from his career as a ski patroler sit alongside tales from family, friends and coworkers.
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Former Vail Ski Patroler Buckley first shared stories from the hill in 2018’s “Don’t Get Too Comfortable.” Inspired and fueled by stay-at-home orders in the early pandemic days, Buckley started another collection at the urging of his sister, Sheila. “For those of you who love dogs, snow skiing, living in the mountains, and laying down in Indian Paint Brush alpine meadows these stories are for you,” Buckley writes. The author’s own stories sit alongside contributions from friends and family including Aldah Medsker, Mike Beckley, Mike Pogliano, Walt Olsen and Hali Broncucia, whose painting serves as cover art.

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“Loving Lucy: A Murder on Skis Mystery,” by Phil Bayly

Author Phil Bayly, now based in upstate New York, still comes out to Colorado to ski at resorts including Vail. The resort in his mystery novel combines elements from Vail, Keystone and more.
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Two crimes — a New York senator’s murder and sacred treasures mysteriously disappearing from Colorado cemetaries — intertwine at a Colorado ski resort, and investigative journalist JC Snow is the guy who puts all the pieces together. Building on the first book of the series, “Murder on Skis,” JC Snow’s character is loosely based on Bayly himself: a retired TV and radio journalist who spent a good chunk of his career in Colorado including Denver, Fort Collins, Grand Junction and the Eastern Plains. Bayly also draws on his experience covering real crimes and skiing Vail to craft a fictional resort and a chilling mystery.

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