What are we reading?
September 1, 2005
The Bookworm of Edwards1. “Eldest: Inheritance Book II,” by Christopher Paolini: The second book in the Inheritance Trilogy, following “Eragon”(2003), takes up the epic story just three days after the end of the bloody battle in which Eragon slew the Shade Durza, and the Varden and dwarves defeated the forces of the evil ruler of the Empire. Although Eragon has proved himself in battle as a Dragon Rider, he has much to learn, so he travels to the land of the elves to complete his rigorous training. Meanwhile, his cousin Roran finds himself the target of Empire forces, which threaten to obliterate his village if Roran is not turned over to them. Alternating narratives follow the exploits of Eragon and of Roran as each plays his role in the inevitable advance toward the final battle.2. “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 9-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. 3. “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. 4. “Survival,” by Magda Hertzberger.5. “Million Little Pieces,” by James Frey: A memoir of a drug abuser. 6. “On the Road to Vail and Beyond,” by Dick Hauserman. 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. “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. 9. “Work of Wolves,” by Kent Meyers: Meyers’s third novel 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. 10. “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. Verbatim Booksellers of Vail Village1. “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. 2. “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. 3. “Wild Ducks Flying Backward,” by Tom Robbins: Known for his meaty seriocomic novels – expansive works that are simultaneously lowbrow and highbrow – Tom Robbins has also published over the years a number of short pieces, predominantly nonfiction. His travel articles, essays and tributes to actors, musicians, sex kittens and thinkers have appeared in publications ranging from Esquire to Harper’s, from Playboy to the New York Times, High Times, and Life. A generous sampling, collected here for the first time and including works as diverse as scholarly art criticism and some decidedly untypical country music lyrics, “Wild Ducks Flying Backward” offers a rare sweeping overview of the eclectic sensibility of an American original. 4. “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. 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. “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. 7. “Mushrooms of Colorado,” by Vera Evenson: Over 170 species of mushrooms grow in Colorado and the southern Rockies – in fields and forests, on riverbanks and mountainsides, even in your own backyard. This new field guide will appeal to anyone interested in mushrooming, from amateurs to experienced fungiphiles. Color photographs of mushrooms in their natural habitats are paired with descriptions and diagrams to help you identify the different species 8. “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. 9. “Eldest,” by Christopher Paolini: The second book in the Inheritance Trilogy, following “Eragon”(2003), takes up the epic story just three days after the end of the bloody battle in which Eragon slew the Shade Durza, and the Varden and dwarves defeated the forces of the evil ruler of the Empire. Although Eragon has proved himself in battle as a Dragon Rider, he has much to learn, so he travels to the land of the elves to complete his rigorous training. Meanwhile, his cousin Roran finds himself the target of Empire forces, which threaten to obliterate his village if Roran is not turned over to them. Alternating narratives follow the exploits of Eragon and of Roran as each plays his role in the inevitable advance toward the final battle. 10. “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.