The Bookworm of Edwards releases Best Books of 2020 list
In the topsy-turvy world that we’ve become accustomed to in 2020, taking a trip elsewhere could easily help ease the stresses of this year. Perhaps one of the safest ways to do that is to get lost in a good book, and The Bookworm of Edwards has been at the forefront of providing that to Vail Valley readers since 1996.
Each year, the Bookworm releases a list of the best books of that year, and the whole staff collaborates on choosing the titles. Here is their list for 2020.
Best Book of the Year: “Migrations: A Novel” by Charlotte McConaghy
Description: Franny Stone has always been the kind of woman who is able to love but unable to stay. Leaving behind everything but her research gear, she arrives in Greenland with a singular purpose: to follow the last Arctic terns in the world on what might be their final migration to Antarctica. Franny talks her way onto a fishing boat, and she and the crew set sail, traveling ever further from shore and safety. But as Franny’s history begins to unspool—a passionate love affair, an absent family, a devastating crime—it becomes clear that she is chasing more than just the birds. When Franny’s dark secrets catch up with her, how much is she willing to risk for one more chance at redemption?
Epic and intimate, heartbreaking and galvanizing, Charlotte McConaghy’s Migrations is an ode to a disappearing world and a breathtaking page-turner about the possibility of hope against all odds.
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Best Narrative Nonfiction: “Leave It As It Is: A Journey Through Theodore Roosevelt’s American Wilderness” by David Gessner
Description: An environmental clarion call, told through bestselling author David Gessner’s wilderness road trip inspired by America’s greatest conservationist, Theodore Roosevelt.
“Leave it as it is,” Theodore Roosevelt announced while viewing the Grand Canyon for the first time. “The ages have been at work on it and man can only mar it.” Roosevelt’s rallying cry signaled the beginning of an environmental fight that still wages today. To reconnect with the American wilderness and with the president who courageously protected it, acclaimed nature writer and New York Times bestselling author David Gessner embarks on a great American road trip guided by Roosevelt’s crusading environmental legacy.
As Gessner journeys through the grandeur of our public lands, he tells the story of Roosevelt’s life as a pioneering conservationist, offering an arresting history, a powerful call to arms, and a profound meditation on our environmental future.
Best Cookbook: “Pie Camp: The Skills You Need to Make Any Pie You Want” by Kate McDermott
Description: Readers fell in love with Kate McDermott and her story-filled cookbook, “Art of the Pie.” In this new book, McDermott takes her teaching to the next level. Here, she’s focused more on technique: how to decorate pastry with braided crusts, troubleshoot a custard that won’t set, create beautiful layered pies, and perfectly thicken your fruit filling. Once you have the foundations down, it’s time to mix and match crusts, fillings, and toppings. The dozen “master” recipes — from flaky to tender to cookie crumb crusts, and fruit to cream to chiffon pies — will become part of every pie maker’s repertoire and will open the door for bakers everywhere to conjure pies with self-assurance. There are gluten-free crust options for every pie, including Apple Ginger Maple Bourbon, Raspberry Peach Sunset Chiffon, Double Chocolate Banana… plus recipes for easy homemade ice cream and pie-lets for one or two. Gorgeous color photography by Andrew Scrivani brings “Pie Camp” to vivid life.
Best Gift Book: “Vintage Skiing: Nostalgic Images from the Golden Age of Skiing” by Ray Atkeson
Description: Bundle up for a visual adventure of vintage skiing featuring images by one of the most famous ski photographers of that era: Ray Atkeson. With more than 75 skiing photographs in stunning black and white, the snowy slopes of yesteryear will call to black diamond and bunny hill skiers alike.
Best Outdoor Adventure: “Without Ever Reaching the Summit: A Journey” by Paolo Cognetti
Description: Why climb a mountain without ever reaching the summit?
In 2017, Paolo Cognetti returned to Nepal, not to conquer the mountains but to journey through the high valleys of the Dolpo with a copy of Peter Matthiessen’s “The Snow Leopard” in hand. Drawing on memories of his childhood in the Alps, Cognetti explored the roots of life in the mountains, truly getting to know the communities and the nature that forged this resilient, almost mythical region.
Accompanying him was Remigio, a childhood friend who had never left the mountains of Italy, and Nicola, a painter he had recently met. Joined by a stalwart team of local sherpas, the trio started out in the remote Dolpo region of Nepal. From there, a journey of self-discovery shaped by illness, human connection, and empathy was born.
“Without Ever Reaching the Summit” features line illustrations drawn by the author.
Best Book Club Read: “Call Your Daughter Home” by Deb Spera
Description: Featured on Oprah Winfrey’s summer reading list. For readers of Delia Owens’ “Where the Crawdads Sing” and Sue Monk Kidd’s “The Secret Life of Bees,” this extraordinary historical debut novel follows three fierce Southern women in an unforgettable story of motherhood and womanhood.
It’s 1924 in Branchville, South Carolina and three women have come to a crossroads. Gertrude, a mother of four, must make an unconscionable decision to save her daughters. Retta, a first-generation freed slave, comes to Gertrude’s aid by watching her children, despite the gossip it causes in her community. Annie, the matriarch of the influential Coles family, offers Gertrude employment at her sewing circle, while facing problems of her own at home.
These three women seemingly have nothing in common, yet as they unite to stand up to injustices that have long plagued the small town, they find strength in the bond that ties women together. Told in the pitch-perfect voices of Gertrude, Retta, and Annie, “Call Your Daughter Home” is an emotional, timeless story about the power of family, community, and ferocity of motherhood.
Best Poetry: “Whale Day: And Other Poems” by Billy Collins
Description: A new collection from Billy Collins, former U.S. Poet Laureate and “America’s favorite poet” (The Wall Street Journal). Billy Collins’s new collection brings together more than fifty poems and showcases his deft mixing of the playful and the serious that has made him one of our country’s most celebrated and widely read poets. Here are poems that leap with whimsy and imagination, yet stay grounded in the familiar, common things of everyday experience. Collins takes us for a walk with an impossibly ancient dog, discovers the original way to eat a banana, meets an Irish spider and even invites us to his own funeral. Sensitive to the wonders of being alive as well as the thrill of mortality, “Whale Day” builds on and amplifies Collins’s reputation as one of America’s most interesting and durable poets.
Best Teen Read: “Early Departures”
Description: What if you could bring your best friend back to life—but only for a short time?
Jamal’s best friend, Q, doesn’t know that he died, and that he’s about to die … again. He doesn’t know that Jamal tried to save him. And that the reason they haven’t been friends for two years is because Jamal blames Q for the accident that killed his parents.
But what if Jamal could have a second chance? A new technology allows Q to be reanimated for a few weeks before he dies … permanently. And Q’s mom is not about to let anyone ruin this miracle by telling Q about his impending death. So how can Jamal fix everything if he can’t tell Q the truth?
“Early Departures” weaves together loss, grief, friendship, and love to form a wholly unique homage to the bonds that bring people together for life—and beyond.
Best Family Read-aloud: “The Silver Arrow” by Lev Grossman
Description: From the #1 New York Times bestselling author of “The Magicians” comes a must-read, wholly original middle-grade debut perfect for fans of “The Chronicles of Narnia” and Roald Dahl.
Kate and her younger brother Tom lead dull, uninteresting lives. And if their dull, uninteresting parents are anything to go by, they don’t have much to look forward to. Why can’t Kate have thrilling adventures and save the world the way people do in books? Even her 11th birthday is shaping up to be mundane — that is, until her mysterious and highly irresponsible Uncle Herbert, whom she’s never even met before, surprises her with the most unexpected, exhilarating, inappropriate birthday present of all time: a colossal steam locomotive called the Silver Arrow.
Kate and Tom’s parents want to send it right back where it came from. But Kate and Tom have other ideas — and so does the Silver Arrow — and soon they’re off to distant lands along magical rail lines in the company of an assortment of exotic animals who, it turns out, can talk. With only curiosity, excitement, their own resourcefulness and the thrill of the unknown to guide them, Kate and Tom are on the adventure of a lifetime … and who knows? They just might end up saving the world after all.
Best Picture Book: “What We’ll Build: Plans for Out Together Future” by Oliver Jeffers
Description: From Oliver Jeffers, world-renowned picture book creator and illustrator of “The Crayons’ Christmas,” comes a gorgeously told father-daughter story and companion to the #1 New York Times bestseller “Here We Are.”
What shall we build, you and I?
Let’s gather all our tools for a start.
For putting together …
and taking apart.
A father and daughter set about laying the foundations for their life together. Using their own special tools, they get to work, building memories to cherish, a home to keep them safe, and love to keep them warm.
A rare and enduring story about a parent’s boundless love, life’s endless opportunities, and all we need to build a together future.