What are we READING? | VailDaily.com
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What are we READING?

Daily Staff Writer

The Bookworm of 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. “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. 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. 4. “Curious Incident of the Dog in the Nighttime,” by Mark Haddon: Christopher John Francis Boone knows all the countries of the world and their capitals and every prime number up to 7,057. Although gifted with a superbly logical brain, Christopher is autistic. Everyday interactions and admonishments have little meaning for him. At 15, Christopher’s carefully constructed world falls apart when he finds his neighbor’s dog Wellington impaled on a garden fork, and he is initially blamed for the killing. Christopher decides that he will track down the real killer, and turns to his favorite fictional character, the impeccably logical Sherlock Holmes, for inspiration. But the investigation leads him down some unexpected paths and ultimately brings him face to face with the dissolution of his parents’ marriage. As Christopher tries to deal with the crisis within his own family, the narrative draws readers into the workings of Christopher’s mind.5. “Power of One,” by Bryce Courtenay: Set in a world torn apart, where man enslaves his fellow man and freedom remains elusive, “The Power of One” is the moving story of one young man’s search for the love that binds friends, the passion that binds lovers and the realization that it takes only one to change the world. A weak and friendless boy growing up in South Africa during World War II, Peekay turns to two older men, one black and one white, to show him how to find the courage to dream, to succeed, to triumph over a world when all seems lost, and to inspire him to summon up the most irresistible force of all: the Power of One.6. “One Thousand White Women,” by Jim Fergus: “One Thousand White Women” is the story of May Dodd and a colorful assembly of pioneer women who, under the auspices of the U.S. government, travel to the western prairies in 1875 to intermarry among the Cheyenne Indians. The covert and controversial “Brides for Indians” program, launched by the administration of Ulysses S. Grant, is intended to help assimilate the Indians into the white man’s world. Toward that end, May and her friends embark upon the adventure of their lifetime. Jim Fergus has so vividly depicted the American West that it is as if these diaries are a capsule in time.7. “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. 8. “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.9. “Time Traveler’s Wife,” by Audrey Niffenegger: This is the remarkable story of Henry Detamble, a dashing, adventuresome librarian who travels involuntarily through time, and Care Abshire, an artist whose life takes a natural sequential course. Henry and Clare’s passionate love affair endures across a sea of time and captures the two lovers in an impossibly romantic trap, and it is Audrey Niffenegger’s cinematic storytelling that makes the novel’s unconventional chronology so vibrantly triumphant. An enchanting debut and a spellbinding tale of fate and belief in the bonds of love, the “Time Traveler’s Wife” is destined to captivate readers for years to come. 10. “State of Fear,” by Michael Crichton: “State of Fear” is 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. Verbatim Booksellers in Vail Village1. “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. 2. “Honeymoon,” by James Patterson: The honeymoon is over – now the murders can begin. America’s No. 1 thriller writer returns with his sexiest, scariest novel ever. Hotter than “The Beach House” and scarier than “Kiss the Girls,” Patterson’s explosive new thriller introduces a bride who is beautiful, talented, devoted – and deadly. When a young investment banker dies of baffling causes, FBI agent John O’Hara immediately suspects the only witness, the banker’s alluring and mysterious fiancé. Nora Sinclair is a beautiful decorator who expects the best, and will do anything to get it. Agent O’Hara keeps closing in, but the stronger his case, the less he knows whether he’s pursuing justice or his own fatal obsession.3. “Runny Babbit,” by Shel Silverstein: From the legendary creator of “Where the Sidewalk Ends,” “A Light in the Attic,” “Falling Up” and “The Giving Tree” comes an unforgettable new character in children’s literature. Welcome to the world of Runny Babbit and his friends Toe Jurtle, Skertie Gunk, Rirty Dat, Dungry Hog, Snerry Jake and many others who speak a topsy-turvy language all their own.4. “Vail – Triumph of a Dream,” by Peter Seibert: This is the inside story of Vail by the man who created it. A ski trooper and member of the famed 10th Mountain Division during World War II, Seibert came back from the war with wounds so severe he was not expected to ski again. Against all odds he became a champion ski racer and a member of the 1950 Men’s Alpine Team. Then he focused on the dream he had since childhood – of building his own ski resort. 5. “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. 6. “Saturday,” by Ian McEwan: “Saturday” is a masterful novel set within a single day in February 2003. Henry Perowne is a contented man – a successful neurosurgeon, happily married to a newspaper lawyer, and enjoying good relations with his children. Henry wakes to the comfort of his large home in central London on his day off. He is as at ease here as he is in the operating room. Outside the hospital, the world is not so easy or predictable. There is an impending war against Iraq, and a general darkening and gathering pessimism since the New York and Washington attacks two years before.On this particular Saturday morning, Perowne’s day moves through the ordinary to the extraordinary. After an unusual sighting in the early morning sky, he makes his way to his regular squash game with his anesthetist, trying to avoid the hundreds of thousands of marchers filling the streets of London, protesting against the war. A minor accident in his car brings him into a confrontation with a small-time thug. To Perowne’s professional eye, something appears to be profoundly wrong with this young man, who in turn believes the surgeon has humiliated him – with savage consequences that will lead Henry Perowne to deploy all his skills to keep his family alive. 7. “State of Fear,” by Michael Crichton: “State of Fear” is 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. 8. “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. 9. “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. 10. “Blink,” by Malcom Gladwell: “Blink” is about the first two seconds of looking – the decisive glance that knows in an instant. Gladwell, the best-selling author of “The Tipping Point,” campaigns for snap judgments and mind reading with a gift for translating research into splendid storytelling. Building his case with scenes from a marriage, heart attack triage, speed dating, choking on the golf course, selling cars and military maneuvers, he persuades readers to think small and focus on the meaning of “thin slices” of behavior. The key is to rely on our “adaptive unconscious” – a 24/7 mental valet – that provides us with instant and sophisticated information to warn of danger, read a stranger or react to a new idea.Vail, Colorado


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