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What are we READING?

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. “Work of Wolves,” by Kent Meyers: Meyers’s third novel (“The River Warren”; etc.) is a gorgeously written, exacting exploration of duty and retribution set in dusty rural South Dakota. There’s no love lost between horse trainer Carson Fielding and land baron Magnus Yarborough ever since a confident 14-year-old Carson got the better of Magnus in a horse buy. But Carson, now 26, is broke, and Magnus needs someone to train his horses and teach his wife, Rebecca, to ride. Carson and Rebecca fall for each other, and though their relationship remains in the realm of perfectly rendered, unconsummated desire, Magnus becomes convinced they’re having an affair. In a bizarre act of revenge, he hides and starves the horses Carson trained. When two teenagers, Lakota math whiz Earl Walks Alone and German exchange student Willi Schubert, discover the abused animals, they plot with Carson to save them; alcoholic Ted Kills Many soon joins the mission. Meyers weaves the folklore and legend of Lakota culture with the tension between ranchers who have worked the land for generations and the greed of those who would take it away from them. His spare dialogue is brilliantly and often comically expressive, and Carson, his taciturn, rational hero, is an original and compelling character. Strong themes of generational responsibility and family history add resonance to this gratifying, very American novel. 3. “The Vail Hiker,” by Mary Ellen Gilliland: This book highlights backcountry trails around Vail. High hidden lakes, alpine cascades, historic relics and high passes serve as destinations. Visit meadows awash with bright wildflowers and explore weathered buildings that once housed gold rush prospectors. 4. “Blink: The Power of Thinking Without Thinking,” 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. 5. “An Unfinished Life,” by Mark Spragg: An old rancher reluctantly takes in his daughter-in-law and granddaughter in this second novel by Spragg (“The Fruit of Stone”). Jean Gilkyson hasn’t been back to her hometown of Ishawooa, Wyo., since her husband, Griffin, died in a car accident. Jean was driving, and Griffin’s father, Einar, has never forgiven her for his son’s death. Ten years and four boyfriends later, Jean has run out of money and options. With her precocious nine-year-old daughter, Griff, she escapes boyfriend number four, a smirking brute named Roy. Einar isn’t happy to see mother or daughter, but Griff loves his log house and ranch life. She makes friends right away with Mitch, Einar’s old Vietnam War buddy, who’s been mauled by a grizzly and is horribly scarred, and gradually wins over her grandfather. Meanwhile, Jean is charming the town sheriff, which comes in handy when Roy tracks her down. 6. “The World is Flat,” by Thomas Friedman: Thomas L. Friedman is not so much a futurist, which he is sometimes called, as a presentist. His aim, in his new book, “The World Is Flat,” as in his earlier, influential “Lexus” and the “Olive Tree,” is not to give you a speculative preview of the wonders that are sure to come in your lifetime, but rather to get you caught up on the wonders that are already here. The world isn’t going to be flat, it is flat, which gives Friedman’s breathless narrative much of its urgency, and which also saves it from the Epcot-style polyester sheen that futurists – the optimistic ones at least – are inevitably prey to. 7. “No Country For Old Men,” by Cormac McCarthy: Llewelyn Moss, hunting antelope near the Rio Grande, instead finds men shot dead, a load of heroin, and more than $2 million in cash. Packing the money out, he knows, will change everything. But only after two more men are murdered does a victim’s burning car lead Sheriff Bell to the carnage out in the desert, and he soon realizes how desperately Moss and his young wife need protection. One party in the failed transaction hires an exSpecial Forces officer to defend his interests against a mesmerizing freelancer, while on either side are men accustomed to spectacular violence and mayhem. The pursuit stretches up and down and across the border, each participant seemingly determined to answer what one asks another: how does a man decide in what order to abandon his life?8. “Ida: Her Labor of Love,” by Carol McManus: “Ida: Her Labor of Love” is the expanded biography of a Colorado pioneer woman’s struggles and joys while raising a large family. In the late 1800s, men rushed to Colorado looking for gold and riches. The families they brought along found themselves in a wilderness with only a few rough mining towns. Here is the compelling story, as told by her grand daughter, of Ida Herwick’s tribulations and joys as she struggles – while living in sod huts, tents, and sometimes, if she was lucky, a real log house – to keep her large family alive and health 9. “12 Short Hikes in Vail,” by Tracy Salcedo: “The 12 Short Hikes Series” is written for families, newcomers to the area, and anybody looking for easy access to an outdoor experience. Each book describes in clear graphic form 12 easy and scenic hikes of less than two hours. 10. “The Wild Girl: The Notebooks of Ned Giles 1932,” by Jim Fergus: Ned Giles is a 17-year-old orphan whose father’s advice in a suicide note was that he should “buy himself a good camera.” Ned is working in the clubhouse at the Racket Club in Chicago when one of the members posts a notice: “The Great Apache Expedition: This expedition … plans to go into the Sierra Madre Mountains on the boundary between Sonora and Chihuahua, Mexico, to attempt to recover the 7-year-old son of Fernando Huerta … the boy having been stolen by the Apache Indians … when 3 years old…” Ned decides to leave Chicago and present himself in Douglas, Ariz., where the expedition is being organized, in the hope of becoming the expedition photographer. He drives his father’s Studebaker Roadster, the last vestige of his old life, and eventually fetches up in Douglas. What he finds there is every boy’s dream adventure and then some.Verbatim Booksellers of Vail Village1. “The Vail Hiker,” by Mary Ellen Gilliland: This book highlights backcountry trails around Vail. High hidden lakes, alpine cascades, historic relics and high passes serve as destinations. Visit meadows awash with bright wildflowers and explore weathered buildings that once housed gold rush prospectors. 2. “Colorado Rascals, Scoundrels and No Goods,” by Mary Ellen Gilliland: Meet the high-spirited miscreants of Colorado mine camp history: Rowdies, seducers, and swindlers. Shady ladies, shysters, and cheats. Scalawags, rogues and lushes. Their inspired misbehavior will make you chuckle. 3. “Savage Summit,” by Jennifer Jordan: Five women, each with seemingly preternatural abilities to climb, have reached the summit of K2. While not the highest mountain in the world, it is considered the most deadly, hence its earning the name “Savage Mountain.” One-tenth as many have climbed it as Everest, but with nearly three times as many deaths per summit. These five women-so very different from each other, were alike in their strength, ability, determination, and willingness to endure not only the pain of high altitude but also the massive prejudice of the male-dominated climbing world. None of the women climbers were alive when journalist Jordan began this project, but she makes much of her extensive research and reveals just how amazing the climbers’ accomplishments are. 4. “The World is Flat,” by Thomas Friedman: Thomas L. Friedman is not so much a futurist, which he is sometimes called, as a presentist. His aim, in his new book, The World Is Flat, as in his earlier, influential Lexus and the Olive Tree, is not to give you a speculative preview of the wonders that are sure to come in your lifetime, but rather to get you caught up on the wonders that are already here. The world isn’t going to be flat, it is flat, which gives Friedman’s breathless narrative much of its urgency, and which also saves it from the Epcot-style polyester sheen that futurists – the optimistic ones at least – are inevitably prey to. 5. “1776,” by David McCullough: As the year 1776 began, hostilities between American forces and British regulars, which had begun the preceding April, continued. Yet a full-fledged war for independence was not inevitable. In Parliament, such conciliators as Edmund Burke and Charles Fox attacked government policy as needlessly provocative. In America, many members of the Continental Congress also sought compromise. But the rush of events, especially the ongoing bloodletting, soon drowned out calls for moderation. Pulitzer Prize-winning historian McCullough has provided a stirring account of the year that began with the humiliating British abandonment of Boston and ended with Washington’s small but symbolically important triumph at Trenton. 6. “Vail – Triumph of a Dream,” by Pete Seibert: This is the inside story of Vail by the man who helped create 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. 7. “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 of New Jersey. Both had a philosophy of excelling and pushing themselves to the limit; both needed all their philosophy and fitness to proceed once they had identified the wreck as a WWII U-boat. 8. “Until I Find You,” by John Irving: At the novel’s onset (in 1969), 4-year-old Jack is dragged by his mother, Alice, a Toronto-based tattoo artist, on a year-long search throughout northern Europe for William Burns, Jack’s runaway father, a church organist and “ink addict.” Back in Toronto, Alice enrolls Jack at the all-girls school St. Hilda’s, where she mistakenly thinks he’ll be “safe among the girls”; he later transfers to Redding, an all-boy’s prep school in Maine. Jack survives a childhood remarkable for its relentless onslaught of sexual molestation at the hands of older girls and women to become a world-famous actor and Academy Awardwinning screenwriter. Eventually, he retraces his childhood steps across Europe, in search of the truth about his father-a quest that also emerges as a journey toward normalcy. 9. “No Country for Old Men,” by Cormac McCarthy: Llewelyn Moss, hunting antelope near the Rio Grande, instead finds men shot dead, a load of heroin, and more than $2 million in cash. Packing the money out, he knows, will change everything. But only after two more men are murdered does a victim’s burning car lead Sheriff Bell to the carnage out in the desert, and he soon realizes how desperately Moss and his young wife need protection. One party in the failed transaction hires an exSpecial Forces officer to defend his interests against a mesmerizing freelancer, while on either side are men accustomed to spectacular violence and mayhem. The pursuit stretches up and down and across the border, each participant seemingly determined to answer what one asks another: how does a man decide in what order to abandon his life?10. “A Whisk in the West,” by Joette Gilbert and Gail Molloy: This Vail Valley cookbook is a compilation of recipes handed down from generation to generation of Vail residents – even from before there WAS a Vail. This cookbook owes its heritage to many cooks including modern day gourmets who so generously contributed their very special favorite recipes. It contains beautiful full-page photos in striking color, most of which were shot on Molly’s own dining table, and over 200 pages filled with hundreds of fabulous recipes. Some are easy and simple, others you would be proud to serve at your best dinner party. All of them have that distinct connection to Vail and this valley. Vail, Colorado


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