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What are we reading?

Wren Wertin

These lists reflect the top 10 bestsellers at local independent bookstores, Verbatim Booksellers in Lionshead and The Bookworm of Edwards.

Verbatim booksellers

1. “Seabiscuit: An American Legend,” by Laura Hillenbrand: The story of Seabiscuit, a horse with crooked legs and a pathetic tail that made racing history in 1938, thanks to the efforts of a trainer, owner, and jockey who transformed a bottom-level racehorse into a legend.

2. “Atonement,” by Ian McEwan:On a hot summer day in 1935, 13-year-old Briony Tallis witnesses a moment’s flirtation between her older sister, Cecilia, and Robbie Turner, the son of a servant and Cecilia’s childhood friend. But Briony’s incomplete grasp of adult motives – together with her precocious literary gifts – forces a situation that will change the course of their lives.

3. “Life of Pi,” by Yann Martel: Pi Patel is the son of a zoo keeper. When Pi is 16, his family emigrates from India to North America aboard a Japanese cargo ship, along with their zoo animals bound for new homes. The ship sinks. Pi finds himself alone in a lifeboat, his only companions a hyena, an orangutan, a wounded zebra, and Richard Parker, a 450-pound Bengal tiger.

4. “Secret Life of Bees,” by Sue Monk Kidd: Lily Owens has shaped her life around one devastating, blurred, memory – the afternoon her mother was killed. Since then, her only real companion on the peach farm of her harsh, unyielding father has been a fierce-hearted black woman, Rosaleen. When Rosaleen insults three of the deepest racists in town, Lily knows it is time to spring them both free.

5. “Babar’s Yoga for Elephants,” by Laurent de Brunhoff: Well before yoga became fashionable via Sting and Madonna, the beloved elephant king Babar and all the residents of Celesteville were finding peace and tranquillity through yoga. And now elephants everywhere can join them! Through easy-to-follow instructions and step-by-step illustrations, Babar’s Yoga for Elephants presents 15 positions and stretches as well as helpful breathing exercises.

6. “Vail: Triumph of a Dream,” by Pete Seibert: A colorful chronicle of Vail’s colorful history.

7. “Don’t Lets Go to the Dogs Tonight,” by Alexandra Fuller: Alexandra Fuller remembers her African childhood with candor and sensitivity. Though it is a diary of an unruly life in an often inhospitable place, it is suffused with Fuller’s endearing ability to find laughter, even when there is little to celebrate. Fuller’s debut is unsentimental and unflinching but always captivating. In wry and sometimes hilarious prose, she stares down disaster and looks back with rage and love at the life of an extraordinary family in an extraordinary time.

8. “#1 Ladies Detective Agency,” by Alexander McCall Smith:

9. “In the Deep Hearts Core,” by Michael Johnston: Michael Johnston went to the Mississippi Delta as a member of the Teach For America program. At Greenville High, he confronted a racially divided world in which his students had to struggle against crippling poverty, drug addiction and gang violence. Johnston reached out to inspire his students with all the means at his disposal – from the language of the great poets, to the strategies of chess, to the vigor of athletics.

10. “Leap of Faith: Memoirs of an Unexpected Life,” by Queen Noor: Queen Noor offers a vastly informative and even fascinating memoir of her life from her childhood in an Arab American family, daughter of a very successful man in politics and business (including a stint as director of the Federal Aviation Administration), to her tenure as consort of the charismatic King Hussein, who died in 1999 of cancer.

Bookworm of Edwards

1. “Life of Pi,” by Yann Martel: Pi Patel is the son of a zoo keeper. When Pi is 16, his family emigrates from India to North America aboard a Japanese cargo ship, along with their zoo animals bound for new homes. The ship sinks. Pi finds himself alone in a lifeboat, his only companions a hyena, an orangutan, a wounded zebra, and Richard Parker, a 450-pound Bengal tiger.

2. “Secret Life of Bees,” by Sue Monk Kidd: Lily Owens has shaped her life around one devastating, blurred, memory – the afternoon her mother was killed. Since then, her only real companion on the peach farm of her harsh, unyielding father has been a fierce-hearted black woman, Rosaleen. When Rosaleen insults three of the deepest racists in town, Lily knows it is time to spring them both free.

3. “The Other Boleyn Girl,” by Philippa Gregory: The daughters of a ruthlessly ambitious family, Mary and Anne Boleyn are sent to the court of Henry VIII to attract the attention of the king, who first takes Mary as his mistress and then Anne as his wife.

4. “Atonement,” by Ian McEwan: On a hot summer day in 1935, 13-year-old Briony Tallis witnesses a moment’s flirtation between her older sister, Cecilia, and Robbie Turner, the son of a servant and Cecilia’s childhood friend. But Briony’s incomplete grasp of adult motives – together with her precocious literary gifts – forces a situation that will change the course of their lives.

5. “Seabiscuit: An American Legend,” by Laura Hillenbrand: The story of Seabiscuit, a horse with crooked legs and a pathetic tail that made racing history in 1938, thanks to the efforts of a trainer, owner, and jockey who transformed a bottom-level racehorse into a legend.

6. “Devil Wears Prada,” by Lauren Weisberger: A deliciously dishy novel about life at a glamorous fashion magazine, an empire ruled by a legendary editor whose sense of style is topped only by her sense of self-importance.

7. “Someday in a Place Out West,” by Jon Sheppard: Local photographer, Jon Sheppard, captures images of the Vail Valley and other areas around the state in an affordable and beautiful photographic coffee table book that explores the allure of the everything Western.

8. “Traveler’s Gift: Seven Decisions that Determine Personal Success,” by Andy Andrews: Comedian and motivational speaker Andrews has crafted a breezy little fantasy reminiscent of “It’s a Wonderful Life.”

9. “Miracle Life of Edgar Mint,” by Brady Udall: At the beginning of this high-spirited novel of the American West, a boy on an Apache Indian reservation in Arizona has his head run over by a mail truck. Nevertheless, the book is anything but tragic – or, at least, not purely tragic.

10. “Bel Canto,” by Ann Patchett: When terrorists seize hostages at an embassy party, an unlikely assortment of people is thrown together, including American opera star Roxanne Coss and Mr. Hosokawa, a Japanese CEO and her biggest fan.


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