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Hungry for the written word

Caramie Schnellcschnell@vaildaily.com
HL wine and words 1 KA 11-17-11
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You have to love something that will make you think and laugh and cry – sometimes all at the same time.Like a good book.The Bookworm of Edwards was packed Thursday night for the store’s annual Wine & Words event. Voracious readers, hungry for new words, gathered to hear an author, a bookstore owner, a librarian and a book publisher representative talk about their favorite new reads.Leadville resident Anne Johnson has attended three of the four Wine & Words events over the years.”I’m a librarian, so it’s my job to know what people are reading, but I also go because I’m a reader myself and I’d hate to miss something that someone recommends at one of those events,” said Johnson, assistant director of the Avon Public Library.Books are alive and well thank you very much.”You keep hearing about the demise of the book and you see a turnout like that and you think, no, the critics are wrong,” she continued.In all there were 20 titles recommended, and more from audience members during the Q&A session afterward. Here are some of the books that I thought sounded most captivating, and now have a place on my Christmas list. High Life Editor Caramie Schnell can be reached at 970-748-2984 or cschnell@vaildaily.com.

This deeply layered novel is set in the early ’80s. Madeleine is stuck between Leonard, her manic-depressive boyfriend, and her old “friend” Mitchell, who is in love with her. For this story, author Jeffrey Eugenides (the author of “Middlesex”) takes the age-old love triangle and turns it into something fresh and surprising, said Nicole Magistro, the co-owner of the Bookworm of Edwards. Magistro called it her “favorite book of the year,” high praise from someone who reads and buys books for a living.

This fairy-tale inspired novel is set in two worlds – a preindustrial village where victimizers are prevalent, and the personal heaven of Liga Longfield, who survived unimaginable pain.While labeled a young adult read (for ages 14 and up), this book is a “very dark, complex adult novel,” said author Erin Blakemore. “My jaw was often on the floor.”It’s a fairy-tale inspired novel that tackles dark material without ever losing a sense of lyrical magic,” she said.While Blakemore read the book about six months ago, she said she still “thinks about it every other day.” Quite the testament.



Author Martha Southgate weaves four voices together in this story about a family ripped apart by addiction. “Someone recently told me there are only two types of characters – one that leaves home and one that returns home,” said Matt Wickiser of Book Traveller’s West. “(Martha Southgate) incorporates both into one in this book.”The story follows Josie, who leaves Cleveland, Ohio, and her alcoholic family and abusive father behind to create a new life in Florida. All is well until her brother, fresh out of rehab and on the verge of relapse, shows up on her door. “She’s forced back into what she tried to escape, and goes back home and leaves everything she fought for and rebuilds her family,” Wickiser said. “It’s a passionate story.”

Author Alice Ozma and her father set out to read together, out loud, for at least 10 minutes, every night for 100 days in a row. But when they were done, they realized they weren’t ready to stop, so the tradition stretched to 1,000 nights, and soon enough, the two had read together for more for eight years straight. They tackled “Great Expectations” by Charles Dickens, “Alice’s Adventures in Wonderland” by Lewis Carroll, plenty of Shakespeare and more.”This book is really well done, and not too sentimental,” Magistro said. “Plus there’s a great reading list in the back.”



This book in four words: Dysfunctional female family dynamics. The second novel from J. Courtney Sullivan follows three generations of Irish Catholic women who summer in Maine at the family’s second home. “They’re all seeking acceptance from each other while failing badly at their own self acceptance,” said Lori Barnes of the Vail Public Library. “It’s a funny, emotionally-resonant story of love, as well as dysfunction.”


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