What are we reading?
Bookworm in Edwards1. “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. 2. “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. 3. “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 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.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. “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. 6. “Bush Survival Bible,” by Gene Stone: Two hundred and fifty ways to make it through the next four years without misunderstanding the dangers ahead and other subliminable strategies.7. “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? 8. “True and Outstanding Adventures of the Hunt Sisters,” by Elisabeth Robinson: Olivia Hunt is unemployed, living alone and working on the fourth draft of her suicide note when she gets a phone call that lets her know what real trouble is. Madeleine Hunt is her younger sister, the annoyingly happy one who married the hometown guy while Olivia set out to conquer Hollywood, ha, ha. And Maddie is in trouble. Pulled home for the first time in years, Olivia gets a painful dose of real life as she tries to help her sister, keep her parents from running off the rails and reconnect with the boyfriend who left without a word but might still be the love of her life. And, of course, the movie she’s been trying to put in front of cameras for years heats up just as she leaves town. Racing between Hollywood, hospital rooms and film sets in Spain, Olivia has to do the impossible at work and at home – and learns that love will let her do no less.9. “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.10. “Kitten’s First Full Moon,” by Kevin Henkes: What a night! The moon is full. Kitten is hungry and inquisitive and brave and fast and persistent and unlucky … then lucky! What a night!Verbatim Booksellers in Vail Village1. “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. 2. “Hell or High Water,” by Peter Heller: In January 2002, in the heart of the Himalayan winter, a team of seven kayakers launched a meticulously planned assault of the Tsangpo Gorge. The paddlers were river cowboys, superstars in the universe of extreme kayaking who hop from continent to continent ready for the next death-defying pursuit. Accompanying them was author Peter Heller. A world-class kayaker in his own right, Heller has logged countless river miles and several major first descents. He joined the Tsangpo expedition as a member of the ground support team and official expedition journalist, and was also granted the exclusive opportunity to write the book about the descent. 3. “The Big House,” by George Colt: Faced with the sale of the century-old family summerhouse on Cape Cod where he had spend 42 summers, George Howe Colt returned for one last stay with his wife and children. This poignant tribute to the 11-bedroom jumble of gables, bays, and dormers that watched over weddings, divorces, deaths, anniversaries, birthdays, breakdowns, and love affairs for five generations interweaves Colt’s final visit with memories of a lifetime of summers. Run-down, yet romantic, the “Big House” stands not only as a cherished reminder of summer’s ephemeral pleasures but also as a powerful symbol of a vanishing way of life. 4. “Ski Instructors Confidential,” by Allen Smith: These are some of the funniest and most entertaining stories that professional ski instructors swap at the end of the day. They represent literally hundreds of years of teaching experience and include tales of surviving ski school lessons, the importance of looking good on the slopes, apres-ski legends, wrestling with skiing equipment and more. 5. “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. 6. “Bringing Down the House,” by Ben Mezrich: Robin Hood meets Rat Pack when the best and the brightest of M.I.T’s math students and engineers take up blackjack under the guidance of an eccentric mastermind. Their small blackjack club develops from an experiment in counting cards on M.I.T’s campus into a ring of card savants with a system for playing large and winning big. In less than two years they take of of the world’s most sophistivated casinos for more than $3 million. But their success also brings with it the formidable ire of casino owners and launches them into the seedy underworld of corporate Vegas with its private investigators and other violent heavies. 7. “Their Eyes Were Watching God,” by Zora Neale Hurston: At the height of the Harlem Renaissance during the 1930s, Zora Neale Hurston was the preeminent black woman writer in the United States. She was a sometime-collaborator with Langston Hughes and a firece rival of Richard Wright. Her stories appeared in major magazines, she consulted on Hollywood screenplays and she penned four novels, an autobiography, countless essays and two books on black mythology. ‘Their Eyes Were Watching God follows the fortune of Janie Crawford, fair and long-legged, independent and articulate, she sets out to be her own person – no mean feat for a black person in the ’30s. Janie’s quest for identity takes her through three marriages and into a journey back to her roots. 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. “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. 10. “Shadow Divers,” by Robert Kurson: This superlative journalistic narrative tells of John Chatterton and Rich Kohler, two deep-sea wreck divers who in 1991 dove to a mysterious wreck lying at the perilous depth of 230 feet, off the coast New Jersey. Both had a philosphy and fitness to proceeed once they had identified the wreck as WWII U-boat.Vail Colorado