What are we reading? | VailDaily.com

What are we reading?

Daily Staff Writer

Bookworm in Edwards1. “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. “Sight Hound,” by Pam Houston: This is the story of a woman Rae and her dog, Dante, a wolfhound who teaches “his human” that love is stronger than fear (the dog has always known this). Dante is the catalyst for change in other characters as well, and they step forward with their narratives: Rae’s house-tender, her therapist, two veterinarians and an anxiety-ridden actor, Howard, who turns out to be as stalwart as Dante himself. As the “seer” who hunts by sight rather than smell, Dante has some things to add, as does Rose, another dog who lives at Rae’s heels, and Stanley the cat. Among and above these myriad voices, Rae voices her own challenges. 3. “Five People You Meet in Heaven,” by Mitch Albom: From the author of the phenomenal No. 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. 4. “French Woman Don’t Get Fat,” by Mireille Guiliano: Author Mireille Guiliano is CEO of Veuve Clicquot, and “French Women Don’t Get Fat” offers a concept of sensible pleasures: If you have a chocolate croissant for breakfast, have a vegetable-based lunch – or take an extra walk and pass on the bread basket at dinner. Guiliano’s insistence on simple measures slowly creating substantial improvements are reassuring, and her suggestion to ignore the scale and learn to live by the “zipper test” could work wonders for those who get wrapped up in tiny details of diet. A number of recipes are included, from a weight-loss enhancing leek soup to a lush chocolate mousse; they read more like what you’d find in a French cookbook rather than an American diet book. Most appealingly, these are guidelines and tricks that could be easily sustainable over a lifetime. If you agree that food is meant to be appreciated – but no more so than having a trim waist – these charmingly French recommendations could set you on the path to a future filled with both croissants and high fashion. 5. “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. 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? 6. “Broker,” by John Grisham: Before he was sent to federal prison for treason (among other things), Joel Backman was an extremely powerful man. Known as “the broker,” Backman was a high roller – a lawyer making $10 million a year who could “open any door in Washington.” That is, until he tried to broker a deal selling access to the world’s most powerful satellite surveillance system to the highest bidder. When caught, Backman accepted prison as the one option that would keep him safe and alive, since the interested parties (the Israelis, the Saudis, the Russians and the Chinese) were all itching to get their hands on his secrets at any cost. Little does he know that his own government has designs on accessing that information – or at least letting it die with him. Now, six years after his incarceration, the director of the CIA convinces a lame duck president to pardon Backman, and the broker becomes a free man – and an open target.7. “Tuesdays with Morrie,” by Mitch Albom: Maybe it was a grandparent, or a teacher, or a colleague. Someone older, patient and wise, who understood you when you were young and searching, helped you see the world as a more profound place, gave you sound advice to help you make your way through it. For Mitch Albom, that person was Morrie Schwartz, his college professor from nearly 20 years ago.Maybe, like Mitch, you lost track of this mentor as you made your way, and the insights faded, and the world seemed colder. Wouldn’t you like to see that person again, ask the bigger questions that still haunt you, receive wisdom for your busy life today the way you once did when you were younger?Mitch Albom had that second chance. He rediscovered Morrie in the last months of the older man’s life. Knowing he was dying, Morrie visited with Mitch in his study every Tuesday, just as they used to back in college. Their rekindled relationship turned into one final “class” – lessons in how to live.8. “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 narrative of messianic delusion, savage violence, polygamy and unyielding faith. 9. “Namesake,” by Jhumpa Lahiri: The “Namesake” takes the Ganguli family from their tradition-bound life in Calcutta through their fraught transformation into Americans. On the heels of an arranged wedding, Ashoke and Ashima Ganguli settle in Cambridge, Mass., where Ashoke does his best to adapt while his wife pines for home. When their son, Gogol, is born, the task of naming him betrays their hope of respecting old ways in a new world. And we watch as Gogol stumbles along the first-generation path, strewn with conflicting loyalties, comic detours and wrenching love affairs.With empathy and penetrating insight, Lahiri explores the expectations bestowed on us by our parents and the means by which we come to define who we are.10. “Known World,” by Edward P. Jones: In one of the most acclaimed novels in recent memory, Edward P. Jones, two-time National Book Award finalist, tells the story of Henry Townsend, a black farmer and former slave who falls under the tutelage of William Robbins, the most powerful man in Manchester County, Va. Making certain he never circumvents the law, Townsend runs his affairs with unusual discipline. But when death takes him unexpectedly, his widow, Caldonia, can’t uphold the estate’s order and chaos ensues. In a daring and ambitious novel, Jones has woven a footnote of history into an epic that takes an unflinching look at slavery in all of its moral complexities.Verbatim Booksellers in Vail Village1. “Sexual Positions for the Knee Patient,” by Joanne Arczynski: Adults interested in therapeutic sexual positions involving a knee injury will find this very educational and humorous. Included are illustrations and a Glossary of Terms for everyone to understand the medical terminology. It depicts and explains several positions that are recommended, and some that should not be attempted. 2. “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. 3. “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 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. 4. “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. 5. “Vail: Triumph of a Dream,” by Peter Seibert: This is the inside story of Vail by the man who created it. 6. “Inventors of Vail,” by Dick Hauserman: This book tells the entire story of the remarkable men and women who created a world-class community from acres of pasture. More than 60 interviews were conducted with early founders, pioneers, and entrepreneurs of Vail in order to piece together a fascinating history replete with detail, fact, intrigue, conflict, and romance. 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. “Reflections,” by Barbara Bush: Former First Lady Barbara Bush’s diary provides the organizing element around her memoir “Reflections,” as it did for her 1994 autobiography, “Barbara Bush.” She writes about things that happen to everyone – well, not exactly everyone, every day – but many of the encounters and emotions will strike a chord with readers. She does indeed reflect, on family, friends and world leaders. Mrs. Bush is fascinated by the people she meets around the world, and she connects us to them with human details of friendships and first impressions. 9. “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, South Carolina – 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.10. “Body and Soul,” by Frank Conroy: In the dim light of a basement apartment, 6-year-old Claude Rawlings sits at an old white piano, picking out the sounds he has heard on the radio and shutting out the reality of his lonely world. The setting is 1940s New York, a city that is “long gone, replaced by another city of the same name.” Against a backdrop that pulses with sound and rhythm, “Body and Soul” brilliantly evokes the life of a child prodigy whose musical genius pulls him out of squalor and into the drawing rooms of the rich and a gilt-edged marriage. But the same talent that transforms him also hurtles Claude into a lonely world of obsession and relentless ambition. Vail, Colorado

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