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Top 10 Reads

Daily Staff Writer

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. “Unfit for Command,” by John O’Neill: Filled with interviews of men who served in Vietnam at the same time as John Kerry, the book poses the following question: “Why do an overwhelming majority of those who commanded or served with John Kerry oppose him?” (Note that the issue of “service” has sparked investigation into its definition – in other words, just how close was the interaction between Kerry and those cited in the book during Kerry’s Vietnam tour of duty?) 3. “The Curious Incident of the Dog in the Nighttime,” by Mark Haddon: Christopher John Francis Boone knows all the countries in the world, 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 and detests the color yellow. His quest to investigate the suspicious death of a neighborhood dog makes for one of the more captivating novels in recent years.4. “Under the Banner of Heaven: A Story of Violent Faith,” by Jon Krakauer: In 1984, Ron and Dan Lafferty murdered the wife and infant daughter of their younger brother Allen. The crimes were noteworthy not merely for their brutality but for the brothers’ claim that they were acting on direct orders from God. In Under the Banner of Heaven, Jon Krakauer tells the story of the killers and their crime but also explores the shadowy world of Mormon fundamentalism from which the two emerged.5. “Sister of My Heart,” by Chitra Banerjee Divakaruni: Chitra Banerjee Divakaruni made an indelible impression on the literary world with her first novel, “The Mistress of Spices,” a magical tale of love and herbs. Sister of My Heart is less reliant on enchantment but no less enchanting as it tells the tale of two cousins born on the same day, their premature births brought on by a mysterious occurrence that claims the lives of both their fathers. Sudha is beautiful, Anju is not; yet the girls love each other as sisters, the bond between them so strong it seems nothing can break it. When both are pushed into arranged marriages, however, each discovers a devastating secret that changes their relationship forever. 6. “Skinny Dipp,” by Carl Hiaasen: Charles “Chaz” Perrone fancies himself a take-charge kind of guy. So when this “biologist by default” suspects that his curvaceous wife, Joey, has stumbled onto a profitable pollution scam he’s running on behalf of Florida agribusiness mogul Red Hammernut, he sets out right away to solve the problem – by heaving Joey off the deck of a luxury cruise liner and into the Atlantic Ocean, far from Key West. But – whoops! – Joey, a former swimming champ, doesn’t drown.7. “Family: The Real Story of the Bush Dynasty,” by Kitty Kelley: As the Bush family has risen to dominance, so too they have been master orchestrators of their own public image, acting and operating under the shield of privacy their money and status have always afforded them. Until now. The First Lady of unauthorized biography now reckons with the first family of the United States – and the result is at once a rich and shocking history and a very human portrait of the world’s most powerful dynasty.”8. “Between a Rock and a Hard Place,” by Aron Ralston: “Icebound” meets “Into Thin Air” in this astonishing, day-by-day account of Ralston’s terrible accident, self-amputation, and subsequent rescue and recovery. 9. “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. 10. “Angels and Demons,” by Dan Brown. Verbatim Booksellers1. “Adventures of Fraser the Yellow Dog: Rescue on Vail Mountain,” by Jill Sheeley: Fraser follows Courtney, a young girl skiing Vail Mountain on a sunny powder day. When she’s caught in a snow slide, her faithful dog Fraser leads ski patrollers to her rescue in this uplifting story about courage, companionship and ski safety.2. “A Star From Grandma,” by Janet Mueller: Michael’s grandmother shares a secret gift with Michael when his baby brother is born. The story of this secret gift can help remind any child, from age 2 to 92, how very special they are.3. “Shadow Divers,” by Robert Kurson: A true tale of adventure in which two weekend scuba divers risk everything to solve an historical mystery surrounding a World War II German U-boat that was sitting 230 feet below the surface, in the frigid Atlantic waters 60 miles off the coast of New Jersey.4. “The Curious Incident of the Dog in the Night-time,” by Mark Haddon.5. “Kite Runner,” by Khaled Hosseini: This is the story of a friendship between two boys growing up in Kabul. Raised in the same household and sharing the same wet nurse, Amir and Hassan nonetheless grow up in different worlds: Amir is the son of a prominent and wealthy man, while Hassan , the son of Amir’s father’s servant, is a Hazara, member of a shunned ethnic minority. When the Soviets invade and Amir and his father flee the country for a new life in California, Amir thinks that he has escaped his past. And yet he cannot leave the memory of Hassan behind him.6. “Bringing Down the House,” by Ben Mezrich: The amazing inside story about a gambling ring of M.I.T. students who beat the system in Vegas – and lived to tell how. Filled with tense action, high stakes, and incredibly close calls, Bringing Down the House is a nail-biting read that chronicles a real-life Ocean’s Eleven. It’s one story that Vegas does not want you to read.7. “The Vail Hiker,” by Mary Ellen Gilliland.8. “Devil In the White City,” by Erik Larson: Bringing Chicago circa 1893 to vivid life, Erik Larsonís 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.9. “Storybook Treasury of Dick and Jane:” Generations of children learned to read with Dick, Jane, Sally, Puff, and Spot. Collected here are three of these best-loved original classics.10. “The Phish Companion:” The definitive resource for all things Phish, for the casual fan and diehard alike. It was lovingly compiled by hundreds of volunteers through nearly a decade of research, with behind-the-scenes help from Phish’s own archivist, bassist, lyricists, and more.


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