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What are we reading?

Daily Staff Writer

Verbatim Booksellers in Vail Village1. “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.2. “On the Road to Vail and Beyond,” by Dick Hauserman: Interstate 70 through Colorado is one of the most scenic interstate highway trips in the nation. It’s common for residents and visitors to drive I-70 simply to experience the natural beauty of snowcapped mountains, changing aspen leaves, summer greenery and rocky canyons. It’s hard to imagine how history and tales of the past can enhance what is already a spectacular drive, but after reading this book, travel along the I-70 corridor is sure to be filled with new wonderment.3. “Shadow Divers,” by Robert Kurson: This is the true adventure of two Americans who scuba dive to a sunken WWII submarine off the coast of New Jersey.4. “Flavors of Vail,” by Peak Properties: Now you can enjoy recipes from award-winning restaurants and acclaimed chefs. It also features special family recipes from around the world. Treat yourself to what everyone is tasting in Vail. 5. “Vail Hiker,” by Mary Ellen Gilliland: Discover Eagle County’s secluded beauty – alpine lakes and waterfalls, wildlife retreats, and flower havens. The Vail Hiker and Ski touring Guide offers accurate, easy to follow trail guides and ski touring routes with carefully compiled driving directions.6. “State of Fear,” by Michael Crichton: Once again Michael Crichton gives us his trademark combination of page-turning suspense, cutting-edge technology, and extraordinary research. State of Fear is an eco-thriller with a superb blend of edge-of-your-seat suspense and thought provoking commentary on how information is manipulated in the modern world. From the streets of Paris, to the glaciers of Antarctica to the exotic and dangerous Solomon Islands, State of Fear takes the reader on a rollercoaster thrill ride, all the while keeping the brain in high gear.7. “Birth of Venus,” by Sarah Dunant: Sarah Dunant’s gorgeous and mesmerizing novel, Birth of Venus, draws readers into a turbulent 15th-century Florence, a time when the lavish city, steeped in years of Medici family luxury, is suddenly besieged by plague, threat of invasion, and the righteous wrath of a fundamentalist monk. Dunant masterfully blends fact and fiction, seamlessly interweaving Florentine history with the coming-of-age story of a spirited 14-year-old girl.8. “The Five People you Meet in Heaven,” by Mitch Albom: Part melodrama and part parable, Mitch Albom’s The Five People You Meet in Heaven weaves together three stories, all told about the same man: 83-year-old Eddie, the head maintenance person at Ruby Point Amusement Park. As the novel opens, readers are told that Eddie, unsuspecting, is only minutes away from death as he goes about his typical business at the park. Albom then traces Eddie’s world through his tragic final moments, his funeral, and the ensuing days as friends clean out his apartment and adjust to life without him. In alternating sections, Albom flashes back to Eddie’s birthdays, telling his life story as a kind of progress report over candles and cake each year. And in the third and last thread of the novel, Albom follows Eddie into heaven where the maintenance man sequentially encounters five pivotal figures from his life (a la A Christmas Carol). Each person has been waiting for him in heaven, and, as Albom reveals, each life (and death) was woven into Eddie’s own in ways he never suspected. Each soul has a story to tell, a secret to reveal, and a lesson to share. Through them Eddie understands the meaning of his own life even as his arrival brings closure to theirs.9. “Adventures of Fraser the Yellow Dog,” 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.10. “Requiem for the West,” by Roger Brown: Roger Brown’s first book is a collection of stories, essays, and photographs from forty years of living in the Rocky Mountains. Stories range from out-of-control growth issues to a history of the region, as well as hunting, fishing, kayaking, and rafting adventures.The Bookworm of Edwards1. “Kite Runner,” by Khaled Hosseini: “The Kite Runner” follows the story of Amir, the privileged son of a wealthy businessman in Kabul, and Hassan, the son of Amir’s father’s servant. As children in the relatively stable Afghanistan of the early 1970s, the boys are inseparable. They spend idyllic days running kites and telling stories of mystical places and powerful warriors until an unspeakable event changes the nature of their relationship forever, and eventually cements their bond in ways neither boy could have ever predicted. Even after Amir and his father flee to America, Amir remains haunted by his cowardly actions and disloyalty. In part, it is these demons and the sometimes impossible quest for forgiveness that bring him back to his war-torn native land after it comes under Taliban rule. 2. “On the Road to Vail and Beyond,” by Dick Hauserman: Dick Hauserman has done it again with a new book about the landmarks along I-70. He enhances the spectacular scenery along the I-70 corridor with tales of history, science, and the environment. 3. “Under the Banner of Heaven,” by Jon Krakauer: Jon Krakauer’s literary reputation rests on insightful chronicles of lives conducted at the outer limits. In UNDER THE BANNER OF HEAVEN, he shifts his focus from extremes of physical adventure to extremes of religious belief within our own borders. At the core of his 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.4. “Virgin’s Lover,” by Philippa Gregory: In the autumn of 1558, church bells across England ring out the joyous news that Elizabeth I is the new queen. One woman hears the tidings with utter dread. She is Amy Dudley, wife of Sir Robert, and she knows that Elizabeth’s ambitious leap to the throne will pull her husband back to the very center of the glamorous Tudor court, where he was born to be. Amy had hoped that the merciless ambitions of the Dudley family had died on Tower Green when Robert’s father was beheaded and his sons shamed; but the peal of bells she hears is his summons once more to power, intrigue, and a passionate love affair with the young queen. Can Amy’s steadfast faith in him, her constant love, and the home she wants to make for them in the heart of the English countryside compete with the allure of the new queen? 5. “Birth of Venus,” by Sarah Dunant: Alessandra Cecchi is not quite fifteen 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 Alessandra’s parents arrange her marriage to a wealthy, much older man. Meanwhile, Florence is changing, increasingly subject to the growing suppression imposed by the fundamentalist monk Savonarola, who is seizing religious and political control. Alessandra and her native city are caught between the Medici state, with its love of luxury, learning, and dazzling art, and the hellfire preaching and increasing violence of Savonarola’s reactionary followers. 6. “A Salty Piece of Land,” by Jimmy Buffet: Jimmy Buffett, #1 bestselling author, flies back into view with a novel set in the Caribbean, involving a lighthouse, a mystery, a wild cast of characters, and more than a few bottles of tequila. If Tully Mars had known what he was getting himself into when he agreed to help find the lost lens belonging to the lighthouse on Cayo Loco–well, he might never have agreed to help in the first place. Then again, maybe he simply would have taken a slightly longer nap before setting off on his wild adventure. And it isn’t just Tully–whom Buffett fans will remember well from Jimmy’s bestselling Tales from Margaritaville–on the madcap quest. There’s Ix-Nay, an Indian shaman with a dislike of the media; Mr. Twain, Tully’s loyal steed; Cleopatra Highbourne, the 102-year-old owner of Cayo Loco and Cuban baseball addict; Captain Kirk, fishing trip leader and boatman extraordinaire; former country music star Sean Spurl, aka Tex Sex; Bucky Norman, a Wyoming cowboy who has found his way to the ocean; and even a fellow named Jimmy Buffett, who decides he might as well join in on the party. 7. “Mountain Ranges of Colorado,” by John Fielder: John Fielder’s latest coffee-table book celebrates Colorado’s unique mountain ranges. Beautiful color photographs and narrative text help the reader get a better sense of the ecology and geology in the state. Even the cover is designed to simulate granite. 8. “Five People You Meet in Heaven,” by Mitch Albom: From the author of the phenomenal #1 New York Times bestseller Tuesdays with Morrie, a novel that explores the unexpected connections of our lives, and the idea that heaven is more than a place; it’s an answer. 9. “His Excellency: George Washington,” by Joseph Ellis: A biography of Geroge Washington. 10. “Short History of Nearly Everything,” by Bill Bryson: Bill Bryson is one of the world’s most beloved and bestselling writers. In A Short History of Nearly Everything, he takes his ultimate journeyinto the most intriguing and consequential questions that science seeks to answer. It’s a dazzling quest, the intellectual odyssey of a lifetime, as this insatiably curious writer attempts to understand everything that has transpired from the Big Bang to the rise of civilization. Or, as the author puts it, “…how we went from there being nothing at all to there being something, and then how a little of that something turned into us, and also what happened in between and since.” This is, in short, a tall order.Vail, Colorado


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