Top Ten Reads | VailDaily.com

Top Ten 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. “Middlesex,” by Jeffrey Eugenides: “I was born twice: first, as a baby girl, on a remarkably smogless Detroit day of January 1960; and then again, as a teenage boy, in an emergency room near Petoskey, Michigan, in August of l974 .. My birth certificate lists my name as Calliope Helen Stephanides. My most recent driver’s license .. records my first name simply as Cal.” So begins the breathtaking story of Calliope Stephanides and three generations of the Greek-American Stephanides family who travel from a tiny village overlooking Mount Olympus in Asia Minor to Prohibition-era Detroit, witnessing its glory days as the Motor City, and the race riots of l967, before they move out to the tree-lined streets of suburban Grosse Pointe, Michigan. To understand why Calliope is not like other girls, she has to uncover a guilty family secret and the astonishing genetic history that turns Callie into Cal.3. “Devil in the White City,” by Eric Larson: Two men, each handsome and unusually adept at his chosen work, embodied an element of the great dynamic that characterized America’s rush toward the 20th century. The architect was Daniel Hudson Burnham, the fair’s brilliant director of works and the builder of many of the country’s most important structures, including the Flatiron Building in New York and Union Station in Washington, D.C. The murderer was Henry H. Holmes, a young doctor who, in a malign parody of the White City, built his “World’s Fair Hotel” just west of the fairgrounds – a torture palace complete with dissection table, gas chamber, and 3,000-degree crematorium. Burnham overcame tremendous obstacles and tragedies as he organized the talents of Frederick Law Olmsted, Charles McKim, Louis Sullivan, and others to transform swampy Jackson Park into the White City, while Holmes used the attraction of the great fair and his own satanic charms to lure scores of young women to their deaths. What makes the story all the more chilling is that Holmes really lived, walking the grounds of that dream city by the lake.4. “Reading Lolita in Tehran,” by Azar Nafisi: For two years before she 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. Nafisi’s luminous tale offers a fascinating portrait of the Iran-Iraq war viewed from Tehran and gives us a rare glimpse, from the inside, of women’s lives in revolutionary Iran.5. “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. 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 See Top 10 Reads, page B5he is initially blamed for the killing.7. “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. 8. “Rocky Mountain Wildflower Guide,” by Dahms: A pocket-sized pictorial guide to 105 common species of wildflowers of the Rocky Mountains. Each page has a close-up color photo and a concise description of one flower, including details of the blossom, leaves, habitat, and bloom season. 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. “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.

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. “Colorado Wildflower,” by G.K. Guennel: One of the best wildflower guides published, this is a great companion to The Vail Hiker.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. “Angels and Demons,” by Dan Brown.5. “Reading Lolita in Tehran,” by Azar Nafisi: For two years before she 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. Nafisi’s luminous tale offers a fascinating portrait of the Iran-Iraq war viewed from Tehran and gives us a rare glimpse, from the inside, of women’s lives in revolutionary Iran. 6. “Under the Banner of Heaven,” by Jon Krakauer: At the core of this book is an appalling double murder committed by two Mormon Fundamentalist brothers, Ron and Dan Lafferty, who insist they received a revelation from God commanding them to kill their blameless victims. Beginning with a meticulously researched account of this “divinely inspired” crime, Krakauer constructs a multilayered, bone-chilling narrative of messianic delusion, savage violence, polygamy, and unyielding faith. Along the way, he uncovers a shadowy offshoot of America’s fastest-growing religion, and raises provocative questions about the nature of religious belief. 7. “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. 8. “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.9. “The Rule of Four,” by Ian Caldwell: Princeton. Good Friday, 1999. On the eve of graduation, two students are a hairsbreadth from solving the mysteries of the Hypnerotomachia Poliphili. Famous for its hypnotic power over those who study it, the five-hundred-year-old Hypnerotomachia may finally reveal its secrets – to Tom Sullivan, whose father was obsessed with the book, and Paul Harris, whose future depends on it. As the deadline looms, research has stalled — until an ancient diary surfaces. Armed with this final clue, the two friends delve into the bizarre world of the Hypnerotomachia – a world of forgotten erudition, strange sexual appetites, and terrible violence. 10. “American Soldier,” by Gen. Tommy Franks: A memoir by the former head of the U.S. Central Command who led American and coalition forces in Afghanistan and Iraq traces his childhood in the Midwest, his four-decade military service that included a tour of duty in Vietnam, and his experiences during and after the September 11 attacks.vail colorado




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