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What are we reading

Daily Staff Report

Verbatim Booksellers

1. “In the Deep Heart’s Core,” by Michael Johnston: In the fall of 1997, Vail Mountain School graduate Michael Johnston went to the rural Mississippi Delta – the “deep heart’s core” of the South – as a member of the Teach for America program, enabling him to become an English teacher in one of the poorest districts in the nation. He confronted a racially divided world in which his African-American students had to struggle daily against a legacy of crippling poverty, drug addiction and gang violence that ravaged their community. This novel tells the story of how Johnston reached out to inspire his teenage 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.



2. “Da Vinci Code,” by Dan Brown: When a curator of the Louvre turns up murdered, his body is surrounded by enigmatic ciphers written in invisible ink.

3. “Plan of Attack,” by Bob Woodward: The definitive account of a turning point in history as President George W. Bush, his war council and allies launch a preemptive attack on Iraq, toppling Saddam Hussein and taking over the country. From in-depth interviews and documents, Woodward provides a narrative of the administration’s behind-the-scenes maneuvering over two years and examines the causes and consequences of the most controversial war since Vietnam.



4. “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. Of special interest are subject-specific indexes: beaches, restaurants and more.

5. “Vail, Triumph of a Dream,” by Pete Seibert: A colorful collection of Vail’s colorful past.

6. “Birth of Venus,” by Sarah Dunant: Alessandra Cecchi is not quite 15 when her father, a prosperous cloth merchant, brings a young painter back from northern Europe to decorate the chapel walls in the family’s Florentine palazzo. A child of the Renaissance with a precocious mind and a talent for drawing, Alessandra is intoxicated by the painter’s abilities. But their burgeoning relationship is interrupted when her parents arrange her marriage to a wealthy, much older man.



7. “Desert Solitaire,” by Edward Abbey: Edward Abbey lived for three seasons in the desert at Moab, Utah, and what he discovered about the land before him, the world around him and the heart that beat within is a sometimes raucous, always personal account of a place that has already disappeared, but is worth remembering.

8. “One Hundred Years of Solitude,” by Gabriel Garcia Marquez: Tells the story of the rise and fall of the mythical town of Macondo through the history of the Buendia family. A chronicle of life and death, and the tragicomedy of humankind.

9. “Devil In the White City,” by Erik Larson: Bringing Chicago circa 1893 to vivid life, the novel 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.

10. “Dante Club,” by Matthew Pearl: In 1865 Boston, the literary geniuses of the Dante Club – poets and Harvard professors Henry Wadsworth Longfellow, Dr. Oliver Wendell Holmes, and James Russell Lowell, along with publisher J. T. Fields – are finishing America’s first translation of The Divine Comedy and preparing to unveil Dante’s remarkable visions to the New World. The powerful Boston Brahmins at Harvard College are fighting to keep Dante in obscurity, believing that the infiltration of foreign superstitions into American minds will prove as corrupting as the immigrants arriving at Boston Harbor. The members of the Dante Club fight to keep a sacred literary cause alive, but their plans fall apart when a series of murders erupts through Boston and Cambridge. Only this small group of scholars realizes that the gruesome killings are modeled on the descriptions of Hell’s punishments from Dante’s Inferno.

The Bookworm of Edwards

1. “The Other Boleyn Girl,” by Phillipa 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.

2. “Lake of Dead Languages: by Carol Goodman: It’s been 20 years since Jane Hudson graduated from Heart Lake School in the Adirondacks. She returns to her old, all-girls school to teach Latin. Heart Lake has its legends, the most persistent being that the lake claims the lives of students. All three daughters of the founder of the school were drowned in it, and while the bodies were never found, it is said that three rocks rose out of the water to lure young girls to their doom. Jane is more than aware of this legend. When she was at school, two of her contemporaries drowned in the lake, and Jane has always felt that it was looking for a third victim – herself.

3. “Plan of Attack,” by Bob Woodward: “Plan of Attack” is the definitive account of a turning point in history as President George W. Bush, his war council, and allies launch a preemptive attack on Iraq, toppling Saddam Hussein and taking over the country. From in-depth interviews and documents, Bob Woodward provides an authoritative narrative of the Administration’s behind-the-scenes maneuvering over two years and examines the causes and consequences of the most controversial war since Vietnam.

4. “Queen’s Fool,” by Phillipa Gregory: In this eagerly awaited sequel to “The Other Boleyn Girl,” Gregory returns to Tudor England, where the offspring of Henry VIII ascend to the throne amid treason, poisonous rivalries, accusations of heresy and unrequited love.

5. “Angels and Demons,” by Dan Brown: When Harvard symbolist Robert Langdon is summoned to a Swiss research facility to analyze a mysterious symbol seared into the chest of a murdered physicist, he discovers evidence of the unimaginable.

6. “Angels and Demons,” by Dan Brown: When Harvard symbolist Robert Langdon is summoned to a Swiss research facility to analyze a mysterious symbol seared into the chest of a murdered physicist, he discovers evidence of the unimaginable.

7. “Devil Wears Prada,” by Lauren Weisberger: Andrea Sachs, a small-town girl fresh out of college, lands the job “a million girls would die for.” Hired as the assistant to Miranda Priestly, the high-profile editor of Runway magazine, Andrea finds herself in an office that shouts Prada! Armani! Versace! at every turn, a world populated by impossibly thin, heart-wrenchingly stylish women and beautiful men clad in fine-ribbed turtlenecks and tight leather pants that show off their lifelong dedication to the gym. With breathtaking ease, Miranda can turn each and every one of these hip sophisticates into a scared, whimpering child. And Andrea works for her.

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. Of special interest are subject-specific indexes: beaches, restaurants and more.

9. “Reading Lolita in Tehran: A Memoir in Books,” by Azar Nafisi: In 1995, after resigning from her job as a professor at a university in Tehran due to repressive policies, Azar Nafisi invited seven of her best female students to attend a weekly study of great Western literature in her home. Since the books they read were officially banned by the government, the women were forced to meet in secret, often sharing photocopied pages of the illegal novels. For two years they met to talk, share, and “shed their mandatory veils and robes and burst into color.”

10. “Deception Point,” by Dan Brown: When a NASA satellite discovers a rare object buried deep in the Arctic ice, the floundering space agency proclaims a much-needed victory – a victory with profound implications for NASA policy and the impending presidential election. To verify the authenticity of the find, the White House calls upon intelligence analyst Rachel Sexton.


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