Top 10 reads | VailDaily.com

Top 10 reads

Daily Staff Report

1. “The Kite Runner,” by Khaled Hosseini: An epic tale of fathers and sons, of friendship and betrayal, that takes us from Afghanistan in the final days of the monarchy to the atrocities of the present. The unforgettable, heartbreaking story of the unlikely friendship between a wealthy boy and the son of his father’s servant, “Kite Runner” is a beautifully crafted novel set in a country that is in the process of being destroyed. It is about the power of reading, the price of betrayal and the possibility of redemption, and it is also about the power of fathers over sons, their love, their sacrifices, their lies.

2. “The Vail Hiker,” by Mary Ellen Gilliland: A trail guide to the backcountry around Vail, Beaver Creek, Avon, Eagle and Minturn, including all of alpine Eagle County. Forty trails with key statistics such as elevation gain and degree of difficulty are included.

3. “Skinny Dip,” by Carl Hiaasen: A shady marine scientist suspects that his wife knows that he has been doctoring water samples so that a ruthless tycoon can continue polluting the Everglades, so he pushes her overboard from a cruise liner. But she’s saved by former cop Mick Stranahan ” and that’s when the real adventure begins.

4. “The Other Boleyn Girl,” by Philippa Gregory: When Mary Boleyn comes to court as an innocent girl of 14, she catches the eye of Henry VIII. Dazzled by the king, Mary falls in love with her golden prince and her growing role as unofficial queen. However, she soon realizes just how much she is a pawn in her family’s ambitious plots as the king’s interest begins to wane, and she is forced to step aside for her best friend and rival: her sister, Anne.

5. “Devil in the White City: Murder, Magic and Madness at the Fair That Changed America,” by Eric Larson: Bringing Chicago circa 1893 to vivid life, Erik Larson’s spellbinding bestseller intertwines the true tale of two men ” the brilliant architect behind the legendary 1893 World’s Fair, striving to secure America’s place in the world; and the cunning serial killer who used the fair to lure his victims to death. Combining meticulous research with nail-biting storytelling, Larson has crafted a narrative with all the wonder of newly discovered history and the thrills of the best fiction.

6. “Curious Incident of the Dog in the Nighttime,” by Mark Haddon: Christopher John Francis Boone knows all the countries of the world and their capitals and every prime number up to 7,057. He relates well to animals but has no understanding of human emotions. He cannot stand to be touched. Although gifted with a superbly logical brain, Christopher is autistic. Everyday interactions and admonishments have little meaning for him. Routine, order and predictability shelter him from the messy, wider world. Then, at 15, Christopher’s carefully constructed world falls apart when he finds his neighbor’s dog, Wellington, impaled on a garden fork, and he is initially blamed for the killing.

7. “Queen’s Fool,” by Philippa Gregory: A young woman caught in the rivalry between Queen Mary and her half sister, Elizabeth, must find her true destiny amid treason, poisonous rivalries, loss of faith, and unrequited love.

“Five People You Meet in Heaven,” by Mitch Albom: Eddie is a wounded war veteran, an old man who has lived, in his mind, an uninspired life. His job is fixing rides at a seaside amusement park. On his 83rd birthday, a tragic accident kills him as he tries to save a little girl from a falling cart. He awakes in the afterlife, where he learns that heaven is not a destination. It’s a place where your life is explained to you by five people, some of whom you knew, others who may have been strangers. One by one, from childhood to soldier to old age, Eddie’s five people revisit their connections to him on Earth, illuminating the mysteries of his “meaningless” life.

8. “1,000 Places To See Before You DIe,” by Patricia Schultz: An around-the-world, continent-by-continent listing of places both on and off the beaten track. The prose is enticing, and after dishing out the romance of the places, Schultz delivers the nuts and bolts: Addresses, phone and fax numbers, Web sites, costs, best times to visit.

9. “Time Traveler’s Wife,” by Audrey Niffenegger: A dazzling novel in the most untraditional fashion, this is the remarkable story of Henry DeTamble, a dashing, adventuresome librarian who travels involuntarily through time, and Clare Abshire, an artist whose life takes a natural sequential course. Henry and Clare’s passionate love affair endures across a sea of time and captures the two lovers in an impossibly romantic trap, and it is Audrey Niffenegger’s cinematic storytelling that makes the novel’s unconventional chronology so vibrantly triumphant.

10. “Reading Lolita in Tehran: A Memoir in Books,” by Azar Nafisi: For two years before Azar Nafisi left Iran in 1997, Nafisi gathered seven young women at her house every Thursday morning to read and discuss forbidden works of Western literature. They were shy and uncomfortable at first, unaccustomed to being asked to speak their minds, but soon they began to open up and to speak more freely, not only about the novels they were reading but also about themselves, their dreams and disappointments.

1. “The Vail Hiker,” by Mary Ellen Gilliland: A trail guide to the backcountry around Vail, Beaver Creek, Avon, Eagle and Minturn, including all of alpine Eagle County. Forty trails with key statistics such as elevation gain and degree of difficulty are included.

2. “Guide to Colorado Wildflowers/Mountains,” by G.K. Guennel: One of the best wildflower guides published, this is a great companion to “The Vail Hiker.”

3. “The Da Vinci Code,” by Dan Brown.

4. “Kite Runner,” by Khaled Hosseini: An epic tale of fathers and sons, of friendship and betrayal, that takes us from Afghanistan in the final days of the monarchy to the atrocities of the present. The unforgettable, heartbreaking story of the unlikely friendship between a wealthy boy and the son of his father’s servant, “Kite Runner” is a beautifully crafted novel set in a country that is in the process of being destroyed. It is about the power of reading, the price of betrayal and the possibility of redemption, and it is also about the power of fathers over sons, their love, their sacrifices, their lies.

5. “Reading Lolita in Tehran,” by Azar Nafisi: For two years before Azar Nafisi left Iran in 1997, Nafisi gathered seven young women at her house every Thursday morning to read and discuss forbidden works of Western literature. They were shy and uncomfortable at first, unaccustomed to being asked to speak their minds, but soon they began to open up and to speak more freely, not only about the novels they were reading but also about themselves, their dreams and disappointments.

6. The Secret Life of Bees,” by Sue Monk Kidd: Set in South Carolina in 1964, “The Secret Life of Bees” tells the story of Lily Owens, whose life has been shaped around the blurred memory of the afternoon her mother was killed. When Lily’s fierce-hearted “stand-in mother,” Rosaleen, insults three of the town’s fiercest racists, Lily decides they should both escape to Tiburon, S.C. ” a town that holds the secret to her mother’s past. There they are taken in by an eccentric trio of black beekeeping sisters who introduce Lily to a mesmerizing world of bees, honey, and the Black Madonna who presides over their household. This is a remarkable story about divine female power and the transforming power of love ” a story that women will share and pass on to their daughters for years to come.

7. “Alexander Hamilton,” by Ron Chernow: An illegitimate, largely self-taught orphan from the Caribbean, Hamilton rose with stunning speed to become George Washington’s aide-de-camp, a member of the Constitutional Convention, coauthor of The Federalist Papers, leader of the Federalist party and the country’s first Treasury secretary. With masterful storytelling skills, Chernow presents the whole sweep of Hamilton’s turbulent life: his exotic, brutal upbringing; his brilliant military, legal, and financial exploits; his titanic feuds with Jefferson, Madison, Adams and Monroe; his illicit romances; and his famous death in a duel with Aaron Burr in July 1804.

8. “Angels and Demons,” by Dan Brown.

9. “The Notebook,” by Nicholas Sparks: A man picks up a faded, well-worn notebook and begins reading to a frail elderly woman, his voice recalling the heartbreaking story of two star-crossed lovers and their poignant, bittersweet journey to happiness. So begins this touching novel that is a dual tale of love lost and found, and of a man’s gentle battle to reach an aging woman who cannot remember the most cherished moments of her life.

10. “My Sister’s Keeper,” by Jodi Piccoult: Anna is not sick, but she might as well be. By age 13, she has undergone countless surgeries, transfusions and shots so that her older sister, Kate, can somehow fight the leukemia that has plagued her since childhood. The product of preimplantation genetic diagnosis, Anna was conceived as a bone marrow match for Kate ” a life and a role that she has never challenged … until now. Like most teenagers, Anna is beginning to question who she truly is. But unlike most teenagers, she has always been defined in terms of her sister ” and so Anna makes a decision that for most would be unthinkable, a decision that will tear her family apart and have perhaps fatal consequences for the sister she loves.




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