What Nicole is reading
"Where is human nature so weak as in the bookstore?"
-Harriet Ward Beecher
If the refugee crisis seems far from here, crack this reporter's deep dive into a Denver classroom where students are learning to live in America while becoming teenagers. Full of empathetic storytelling and factual research, Thorpe shows readers what it's really like to live in America today.
I love the mountains and well written memoirs, so this book spoke to me from the first page. You know Pam from "Cowboys are my Weakness" but she's all grown up now - writing about the landscape as much as herself. Redemptive and empowering writing. A true western classic!
When I started this book, I wasn't sure Zusak could do it again. But let me assure you he has. Five brothers, contemporary Australia, a bit of horse racing and plenty of horse play make for an epic adventure. But the by each boy to uncover the passionate artists their parents once were makes this story Homeric. Outstanding as a book can be!
If you want to have an adventure to England and laugh with the queen, this is a perfect book for you. We love Mac as an author, but now he is in the story and man, it is funny! Perfect for kids who love Dog Man!
This book is great! Informative without being too dense, and true to history without the ideology. Beschloss' compelling storytelling about wartime chief executives from 1812 to Vietnam is awesome for students and history buffs alike.
The absolute perfect introduction to the history of Vail for all ages! Large historical photographs compliment the simple verse style in this biography of Pete Seibert, the 10th Mountain Division and the founding of our home ski hill. A great family read-aloud!
Diana Henry is a foodie's best friend. Through storytelling and innovation, she builds 25 mouth-watering menus for complete, seasonal meals. She takes care of every detail while keeping it simple - providing recipes for appetizers, sides, mains and dessert packaged together in an easy-to-navigate and gorgeous format. Just feel the cover and you can't resist this cookbook!
This book has it all! A literary mystery with gorgeous nature writing and amazing empathy and heart. You won't want the chapters to end once you've met Kya Clark, Jumpin' and the North Carolina coastal marsh.
Did you love Million Little Pieces? I did. And I felt bad for the public shame fest that clouded James Frey's reputation. He can write. Like fire. And if you want the rest of the story, you should read this book!
This is an amazing book for animal lovers of all ages, but especially for curious kids trying to figure out their compassionate place in our natural world. From the author of the best selling book for adults, The Soul of an Octopus, this memoir is told through the stories of 13 animals that changed the author's life. Two thumbs up!
This book is the proof that cuddling up with a good book on a cold day is good for the soul. The characters are quirky. The setting is old-fashioned. There are movies and lost loves and an impeccable use of the English language. A great book for readers who want to get cozy and escape to simpler times!
The adventures continue for Rosie, Iggy and Ada in this new chapter book series from Andrea Beaty. They're STEM smart already, and now these intrepid second-graders begin to learn about history and activism from their irreverent grandmothers. Lovely and fun!
Kate DiCamillo explodes my heart. It's just true. Kids and grown ups will relate to the simple story of being lost - and found - when you're least expecting it. I was overjoyed to spend another day with Louisiana, who stole the show in Raymie Nightingale and continues to teach us how forgiveness can heal even the most impossible wounds. Five stars!
What a great book for anyone who convenes with others! If you're a hostess, a mother of the bride, a meeting planner, an executive director, a fundraiser, or a social being of any kind, read this book so you'll never host a boring party again.
Fans of domestic drama and psychological fiction will love the newest novel by the author of The Paper Chase. Just think of putting the characters from Fates and Furies in the therapist's office and the reader is a fly on the wall. Delicious!
This is a spectacular and important volume from the team behind Architectural Digest and Bon Appetit. It's a thoughtful consideration of land stewardship, design excellence and the future of environmentally friendly luxury. Beautiful photography and language tell the story of Knapp Ranch, from its geologic origins to its contemporary uses. A must for lovers of art books by John Fielder and Ralph Lauren.
Love this book! One of the best and most surprising memoirs in years. An important book for readers of the American West, coming of age, and self discovery. Tara Westover is a fierce little sister with a redemptive story to tell.
If you liked Hillbilly Elegy, this book from journalist Sarah Smarsh will be of interest. Certainly a memoir, it explains the experiences of millions of Gen Xers brought up in the Midwest.
I don't normally read graphic novels but this one spoke to me. Light hearted and on-point with moving illustrations. If you know a small business owner (or are one yourself), this is an insightful treasure to consider!
If you like to laugh super hard then read this series out loud with your kid! It's about how Andy and Terry get to know each other, the adventures they have together, and one dependable set of emergency inflatable underpants. Silas says it's an A+
A fun rom-com by local artist and author Leigh Ann Van Fossan! The story of an artist who leaves her successful life in Manhattan for a break in an idyllic Colorado town turns out to be more revealing that it seems. A breezy book for the pool side or the beach!
Wow! Lauren Groff can write. Linked short stories set in the sunshine state, each jumps off the page. Relevant, thought provoking, contemporary and well written. My perfect summer reading!
My son Silas is basically Calvin. This could be one reason why we don't have babysitters much. But we do love to read, and these classic, Midwest comics are good clean fun.
This is take-your-breath-away talent from debut novelist Stephen Markley. "Ohio" is a literary "Hillbilly Elegy" and a hillbilly "Little Life." For anyone who left their hometown and doesn't feel bad about not going back, it absolutely delivers! Full of buried secrets, "Ohio" asks us why we don't go back, how we decide what to do when we go back, and who we are because of, or in spite of, the circumstances of upbringing. Markley's sentences are powerful, compelling the reader to empathize with the lives of a disparate group of friends ten years past high school in a post 9/11 Midwestern town. With occasional authorial intrusion, Markley brings the humanity of combat, addiction, dead end job options, self hood and mediocre choices to breathtaking conclusions. You won't be able to stop thinking about Ohio, no matter where you're from!
Bridget Jones and Gloria Steinem walk on to a college campus. The rest is history in this smart, winding and literary novel that gives a nod to our political climate without going off the deep end. Perfect for feminist readers who still need a little spice in their lives.
What do we do with the ideals and energy of youth? A timeless question considered and answered by several generations in this debut novel set on the western slope of Colorado. Among the high desert mesas, a family's legacy will be decided. Personal paths blazed. And some will leave the idealism of a grand landscape behind. Perfect fodder for a summer of escape!
The train wreck is nasty as ever. And not only could I not look away, I was mesmerized by the complexity of the drama through such simple terms. The author - a staff writer for the New Yorker - sets the journalistic stories that have made her career against her own tragic narrative. This is a story of how we change when the the world seems to conspire against us, and how we find hope after the jarring fall. Excellent!
In the spirit of her many-greats-grandfather, Ralph Waldo Emerson, 38-year-old Nina Riggs tells the remarkably simple and profound story of her last year of life. This memoir provoked me to tears and belly laughs on simultaneous pages. Filled with sentiment without being sappy. A gorgeous telling of a life for those who loved When Breath Becomes Air.
There is a lot in this slim novel! Kunzru cuts to the bone with a duo of contemporary hipsters obsessed with black music but disassociated with its true roots. A genre-bending story (coming-of-age, mystery, magical realism) about sound, silence, attribution and memory. A quick, literary read with lasting impact.
My favorite book of the year! Hamid is an accomplished novelist who can put everything I care about into 200 pages - coming-of-age, travel, race, religion, politics, love. Two young people in an unnamed city must learn to survive when it comes under attack. When they discover portals to transport them, their identities and relationships are challenged. What happens to love in a world where individuals are at war? Exit West is perfect for fans of Dog Stars and Station Eleven.
I am so glad to have Lucy Barton back in my life! Grounded in her signature style and setting, Elizabeth Strout takes us even deeper into the lives and relationships of a small Midwestern town. Love, love, love these characters!
I love, I love, I love this book! A powerful and moving memoir illuminates the perils and passions of everyday life, how certain instances, conditions and scrapes with risk shape desire, personality, peace. Exquisitely written and concise. Perfect for literary book clubs and lone readers ready for a book to touch their soul.
Dave Eggers again brings perspective to our world through the eyes of an American immigrant (as he did in "What is the What?" and "Zeitoun.") Exposing the intensity on the ground in Yemen alongside one man's personal quest to include his homeland in the third-wave coffee revolution, this book highlights how precarious our relationship with craft coffee really is. Fascinating and highly readable!
Great for fans of Junot Diaz' "Brief Wondrous Life of Oscar Wao." Strong imagery and realistic portrayal of growing up young and other in America. A great mix of urban and literary makes this novel one of the best this year!
The fourth trimester is thought of as a time soaked in breast milk and excrement, which it is, among other things. This book is an intellectual's attempt at understanding the grief and change that new motherhood drops in her lap. An excellent read for those who don't fit in to the cult of contemporary parenting.
Jessie Ball has a way of really turning the form of a novel on it's head. A story intended to bring empathy to the author's own reckoning, this book asks quiet questions about the gift of time and the ability for families to really know one another.
What would be exciting in life if you lived 400 years? What would get you going in the morning? Here is an entertaining exploration of centuries-long living, from Victorian England to the present. What a fun book!
A life reflected in the many variations of a Colorado blue sky, this memoir comes from an understudy of Lucia Berlin and University of Colorado professor. From the ache of companionship to the searing reality of wildfire, Auvinen's themes illuminate mountain living to readers everywhere.
As unsettling as you've heard it is. This strange little book kept me reading til the end. The absent husband and his curious wife who can't seem to be honest with her mother-in-law, or herself... Another one I couldn't look away from!
Peter Heller tackles the techniques of mystery head on in his novel about a female private eye who is modeled on his own mother. Told with the direct description and narrative precision he is known for, this book should reach wider audiences interested in a page-turning summer read.
Elif Batuman is a Jonathan Franzen for Gen X women. Relatable, dishy and with a cultural complexity common in college and scarce off campus, this novel scores on entertainment and sentiment for a time at the dawn of email.
Contemporary family drama told with the lense of a collective narrator. Light enough for holiday reading, with depth enough for the literary reader.
This is a masterpiece! A direct and forceful narrative, a translation smooth and peaceful as the quiet narrator himself, this book takes the reader on a days-long search for the past and the present in modern day Bogat. A prominent political cartoonist is shaken when a forgotten uncertainty from the past resurfaces. Full of plot and careful style, the novel is a psychological study of what we believe makes us who we are. Five stars!
This is the kind of book I love - concise narrative of transformation and strong personalities, set in a moment of time in a particular place. Here we have Texas, just after the Civil War, and a pressman with a mission to return a missing girl to her civilized roots. The perfect four-hour read by a masterful writer!
Well-told, seamless slave narrative that forces the reader to continously examine our present as a reflection of the past. The story's main character is Cora, a girl and then woman who never gives up the fantasy or reality of freedom. It's tone is curt and frank, with economical and vivid writing.
Get out the family tree and listen with rapt ears to the multi-generational stories of marital power and familial love that weave tribal African life and British colonialism with the American slave narrative. I love that every chapter moves through a new generation to reveal even more about the past. An awesome book club book!
Not normally an author I lean toward, Brene Brown has mastered the art of bringing our inner lives out into the open. Coaxing the reader to be curious about the emotions they experience, she then urges men and women to explore how those emotions influence their interactions, their story, their view of the world. Inspiring and easy to read!
This is the one I read first after Winter Institute. I was taken by the tiny cast of characters and their very small world, how it all could be so alarming and brief. Strong writing, forceful and violent backdrop, a statement about masculinity, fatherhood, forgiveness, and the trauma we inflict on the ones we love the most.
The title is perfect - this is a frightening, short book in the form of a conversation between a mother and a son recalling an environmental poisoning and its after effects. Set in South America, the telling is circuitous and creepy. I love novels in translation that bend language on purpose. If you liked "Story of My Teeth," then try this!
Fast-paced and slightly distopian, this inventive novel imagines a notion that four states in America have never outlawed slavery. Now corporate interests, technology and geo-political tensions shape the economy and culture of the so-called United States. Part spy novel, part social commentary, this book is for readers of Neal Stephenson, Emily St. John Mandel and Colson Whitehead."
This is a great discussion book premise - what would you do with your life if you knew the date you would die? Four siblings' stories play out in this portrait of a family transformed by one visit to a psychic in the sixties. Full of American cultural references and the perspective of decades, this is a great novel for fans of Jonathan Franzen and Celeste Ng.
It reads like Kent Haruf in England! This novel about longing, desire and the bittersweet gratitude of surviving draws on voices of two lifelong friends. A quiet and sparse narrative with emotional depth and intimacy that stays with you. For fans of Carver's Cathedral or Petterson's Out Stealing Horses - beautiful writing and characters!
A moving and contemporary love triangle imagined by one of the most eloquent writers of our time. Tayari Jones set out to write a story about social justice, but ends up with a breathtaking and personal solution to the heartbreak. I loved this book!
You can hear a bluesy ballad while reading this novel, set against the rugged western ranges of Northern Nevada. Willy Vlautin tells a coming-of-age tale with hints of Kent Haruf and CJ Box. Check out the Richmond Fontaine soundtrack that accompanies the book!
Our southern border has drawn much commentary, but I haven't heard about the complexities from someone so entwined as Fransico Cantu. A student of international relations, a border patrol agent and an accomplished writer, Cantu recounts his time growing up and working, literally, on the border. Illuminated by contemporary philosophy and the power of history, this book is an important addition to the canon.
It's a narrative feat to bring to life on the page nature, politics and some wolf-crazy scientists. But Nate Blakeslee did it. This book is full of heart-pounding adventure and beauty, and it does an excellent job of telling a conscise story about the long history of wolves in the wild.Totally readable and unexpectedly beautiful.
Nicole says: "Set against the backdrop of unrelenting poverty in the American South, this novel is part coming-of-age and part ghost story. Gorgeous language and harsh conditions for 13-year-old Jojo and his extended family give the reader a story you can't forget."
Nicole says: "Moments of soaring grace and quiet introspection surface amidst the terror and violence of modern Kashmir. Roy accomplishes a feat of storytelling by mixing sectarianism and humanity onto every page. Playful language keeps the reader honest - it is just a story after all. Worth the read!"
Nicole says: "Two biographical essays written 30 years apart became this cogent and questioning memoir of lives observed by a child and delivered by an accomplished novelist. I loved this book for what it doesn't know, what it's not willing to assume. Great for readers who've found themselves sandwiched between generations."
Nicole says: "A coming-of-age novel with moments that both outrage and lull the reader with issues of race, privilege and identity. Some characters are complex and can't seem to get it together, while others are calmly oblivious to the changing world around them. Easy and entertaining!"
Nicole says: "This debut novel contrasts the sultry backdrop of Brazil with contemporary London. A successful physician must come to terms with his coming-of-age, full of secrets and conflicts between class and race. A great read for fans of Lisa See, Cristina Henriquez or Gabriel Vasquez."
Nicole says: "Excellent narrative, disguised as a story but full of deep research of the housing crisis. This is an excellent book club book, and the one we chose to launch our local women's activist book club for Eagle County!"
Nicole says: "Great suspense and focused story of a youthful con artist with a twisted narrative that looks back in time. Super fun beach read for those who want to escape!"
The Bookworm is proud to present its fifth collection of outstanding short stories written by Vail Valley students. Inside these pages, you will find bravery, truth, magic and friendship that will make you wish the stories never end.
"Step into the hearts and minds of students, and take away lessons in creativity and imagination for all." ~ Rebecca P. Cohen, 2017 Contest Judge
Ungoverned Children is the result of an annual children's writing contest hosted by the Bookworm of Edwards. Submissions were accepted in multiple grade categories and judged by writing authorities around the region.
Nicole says: "Here's a rollicking, laugh-out-loud tragicomedy that is perfect for summer reading! If you liked Thomas Pynchon's "Inherent Vice", or Jonathan Topper's "This is Where I Leave You," you will love Anthony Tambakis' debut about a unlucky-in-love-and-in-life main character who holds onto your heart long after the final page."
Nicole says: "Favorite book of the year so far!"
Nicole says: "A fiercely independent teen becomes an even fiercer woman in this short narrative from the author of Poser. The narrative takes unexpected turns and uncovers the author's own version of marriage, feminism and her many encounters with love."
Nicole says: Amazing memoir from a great light snuffed out too early. For fans of Being Mortal and Abraham Verghese, this story of a surgeon-turned-writer covers his intense training, ambition to transcend that training and inevitably, his ability to create a meaningful legacy.
Nicole says: "Can a person ever escape being a victim, even if he survives? This is the central theme for an epic, engrossing story of a friendship spanning the decades between college and death for four successful men. This novel is a beautifully written commentary that reflects on itself and its characters' interior lives, which demonstrates that in pain, there is also beauty, ease, safety and especially, truth. Destined to be a classic."
Nicole says: Here is the story of relationships in crisis – a teenage girl goes missing and her siblings and parents are left to unwind the story of the favorite member of the family. Ng expertly weaves psychological tension into a web layered with gender and racial expectations, while still offering themes of hope and reconciliation. A great summer read!
Nicole says: "Blend Boys in the Boat and the Great Gatsby and this is the flavor of the book. One of the speed kings was Bill Fiske, a founding father of resort skiing near Aspen. This book is full of great historical detail, interviews and awesome moments of adrenaline."
Nicole says: "Hard-working prose, characters who resemble our real lives, and landscapes as wide open as the West. Lucia Berlin was a professor at the University of Colorado before her death in 2004, and her legacy lives on in this collection of diverse stories that read like the diary entries to her life."
Nicole says: "Mind-blowing. Personal. Political. An intense study of what it means to exist in a black body in contemporary America. This book woke me back up to the true power and narrative force of essay."
Nicole says: "The personal remains political in Steinem's travel memoir. Chronicling her domestic and international travel over six decades as a community organizer in the women's movement, this book is a survey of history as well as a great behind-the-scenes look at one of our biggest heores."
Nicole says: "An interesting book that I found writerly and compelling, Beatty strikes a chord in American race relations. Black identity as a central theme and satire as a vehicle is a combination bound to be complicated; an excellent discussion book for groups or students!"
Nicole says: "How is a book so wry and so sexy also so literary? How can such a removed, dramatic narrator also reveal so much about the secrets her characters withhold from one another? Jaw-droppingly good. I loved it."
Nicole says: "Absolutely loved this style and structure. So heady, experimental AND readable. The language usage is quotable, and for a book in translation, that seems rare. An unreliable narrator is hard to do well, but Luiselli nails it. The theme is timeless: power of story, none of us is predetermined."