Dagny's Staff Picks
Dagny's Staff Pick (September 2014): Reading a book that is destined to become a classic is a rare thing in our day and age, but this book promises to do just that. Neverhome is the story of a woman who takes on a man’s name and clothing in order to fight in America’s Civil War. Written in the dialect of the time, this story transports the reader to a world filled with battle, with death, with camaraderie and laughter. The reader feels as though he/she is on the battlefield, is walking the landscape and ultimately feels the effects of battle on the psyche,the body and the spirit. This is an unforgettable book!
Dagny's Staff Pick (September 2014): I cannot believe that I had never heard of Katherine Mansfield before this weekend. Once I read the first sentence of the first story I was hooked. I have found a new addiction! Katherine Mansfield is a New Zealand author credited with creating the short story along with James Joyce. She was heralded in her day by the likes of H.G. Wells and D.H. Lawrence. I am in love! The stories reflect real life in all its innocence, desire and heartbreak. She reached people of all walks of life with her work, most of whom proclaimed ‘these are real people you are writing about.’ Mansfield worked to capture the working class world she grew up in along with the landscape that later haunted her writings. Buy this collection a thousands times!
Dagny's Staff Pick (August 2014): This book is a departure from Nesbo’s Harry Hole series. Instead, we are thrown into a world where a heroin addict is given the drugs he craves as long as he stays in jail and admits to murders he hasn’t committed. When he finds out that what he believed to be his father’s suicide was actually murder, he starts on a journey to find the truth about the events that took place. As with any Nesbo book, we are taken into the darker side of man paired with the redemption that is possible within each of us.
Dagny's Staff Pick (August 2014): The first time I read this book I was in high school. Re-reading this book I was struck with the notion of how we try to define crazy and how once we are pigeon-holed by society’s definition of crazy, we may be locked up in a real prison or one of our making when at the very core essence of humanity is the desire to be free.
Dagny's Staff Pick (July 2014): Every now and then a book comes along that offers the yin and yang of life. Modoc does that. This story of a boy who was born on the same day and the same hour as the elephant he will dedicate his life to. This book celebrates the beauty of living creatures and the dedication and loyalty that can result from training through love and understanding instead of pain. Such as we have all experienced, where there is good, there is also evil and both Modoc, the circus elephant and his trainer suffer their share of horror, pain and grief, this book will have you pondering the ways of the world and make you want to give your pet and extra hug and a kiss. This book was published in 1997, but is a timeless story that will make you cheer and make you cry.
Dagny's Staff Pick (July 2014): Now out in paperback, Something to Remember You By is a mystery and romance that takes place during WWII. A surprise romance leads Tom into the depths of German horrors to rescue a love he just met. As you might expect from Gene Wilder, the dialogue is quirky yet endearing. This fast read pulls you in and leaves you feeling that all might be right in the world if we weren’t afraid to sacrifice everything for love.
Dagny's Staff Pick (July 2014): This children’s book would also make a wonderful gift for anyone starting a new job or trying to figure out what to do with their lives. Beautiful illustrations combine with text that explores ideas, how people react to them and what can happen if we nurture our ideas, feed them, give them attention and let them grow. We can….. (you have to read the book to find out!)
Dagny's Staff Pick (June 2014): I had the great fortune of reading this book in draft form. Point of Direction has been lauded by Oprah Magazine and expect this book to garner many more awards. Weaver’s writing is like a wave, rhythmical while full of force and beauty. When a fisherman and a hiker agree to caretake a lighthouse on an isolated island, what love is and how love works begins to unravel. An exquisite debut novel!
It’s been a long time since I found a book I wanted to race home and read or that I wanted to live in for a long time. This book is one of those rare books where the characters crawl under your skin.
Dagny's Staff Pick (June 2014): This is the story of a boy struggling with the loss of his mother, the guilt of carrying around a stolen piece of art while growing up in an atmosphere of drugs and antiques. Throughout, Tartt confronts our notions of what art is and how it should be experienced. The last 45 or so pages fall short of the beauty of the rest of the book, but this is worth the read.
Dagny's Staff Pick (June 2014): This children’s book looks at what life on earth encompasses from the joys to the sorrows, the fears to the excitement of living on this unique planet we call earth. Sent down as star, the baby grows, learns his body, lives his life and then returns at the end of human life as a star. A lovely book.
Dagny's Staff Pick (April 2014): This story of a young girl who commits suicide takes a turn when she sends tapes after her death to each of the thirteen people she believes contributed to her decision to kill herself. The main character has to find his place in her death and come to terms with the strong effects even small actions can have on people. Great read for teens and adults as to how our actions can have a spiral effect that we are never aware of.
Dagny's Staff Pick (April 2014): I love, love, love Hemingway. The title story was so real, so simple and complex at the same time. This is the closest Hemingway has ever come to writing his own life, his truths and it shows. ‘The Short Happy Life of Francis Macomber’ stole my heart.
Hemingway is brilliant at capturing humanity, our motivations, actions and reactions in clean, sparse text. Buy this book!
Dagny's Staff Pick (April 2014): This book has been out for a while but continues to be one of the bookstore’s top sellers.
This memoir tells the story of two debutantes who come out to Hayden, Colorado, to teach in the early 1900s. They have no idea what’s in store for them and are surprised at the intelligence, drive and rustic lives of the people they meet. That one year changes their lives forever.
Wickenden has done her homework as far as research, interviewing family and friends, and doing extensive research into the era, the people who lived then, and their effect on shaping the community many of us call home today. Great read!
Dagny's Staff Pick (February 2014): There’s a reason Alice Munro won the Nobel Prize in literature for this collection of short stories. Despite having a hard time getting into the first story, the rest of the collection was filled with her characteristic clean writing and reflections without judgment on human emotion and action. A real treat is the collection of not quite stories that are “the first and last – and the closest – things I have to say about my own life. I only allowed myself to read one story each night so that I could live with this collection longer. I highly recommend it.
Dagny's Staff Pick (February 2014): This book explores the idea of how you might live differently if you knew you were going to die. The main character Mary, is diagnosed with a disease that will cut her life short. But it’s her best friend, Nix who is taken long before Mary, leaving our main character to ponder the sacrifices that have been made for her. This is an easy read and engaging, leaving the reader to decide whether or not the main character is a sympathetic one, or as so many of us are, a selfish one.
Dagny's Staff Pick (December 2013): This is a great kids book for the holidays that shows us the more we follow the path of who we really are the more we can affect people in a positive way. Mr. Tiger lives in a society where everyone is very proper, wears clothes and walks upright, but Mr. Tiger has a wild side. Once he finally explores who he really is, the other townspeople join him in relaxing and acting more like themselves.
Dagny's Staff Pick (December 2013): After living in Steamboat for 12 years, I had no idea the Steamboat Spring was a natural geyser or that the Utes used to soak in the Sulphur Spring for its healing powers. This book is a history of the founding of Steamboat and the evolution of the town since the settlement of the white man. Beyond the history, the book examines the importance of each spring we still have, the ones we’ve lost and why we should still care in this modern day and age. Perfect gift for anyone wanting to know Steamboat’s history or anyone interested in mineral springs.
Dagny's November 2013 Staff Pick: While this is a juvenile fiction story, it’s just as entertaining for adults. The story revolves around a little girl, Sophie, who is saved at sea after the ship she was traveling on sinks. Her mother is lost and presumed dead. The girl retains memories of her mother and believes she is still alive even though everyone tells her she is too young to remember. Her ward, a quirky man who believes in giving children freedom to explore and express his or herself in any way, helps her on her journey to track down her mother. Their motto: “Never ignore a possible.”
Dagny's November 2013 Staff Pick: No matter your religion or if you even believe in god, this book is worth a read. Through the eyes of God, we get a better look at ourselves and our basic human emotions. Lest you think this book too serious, take the vignette ‘God wrote a fan letter,’ or ‘God went to beauty school.’ This book will have you laughing and pondering the simple beauty of birds singing, why we take desk jobs and the great importance of taking a break from life.
Dagny's October 2013 Staff Pick: If you are a dog lover, this collection of poems will take you through every emotion a dog owner or lover feels. From the companionship to the pain that comes from experiencing your best friend pass, Mary Oliver captures the very essence of why dog is woman’s best friend.
Dagny's October 2013 Staff Pick: From a waitress to world traveler and journalist, Amanda, like most young women, believes that the horrors of war happen to other people. That is until she and her ex-fling Nigel are kidnapped by Somalis and held for ransom. The fear and terror that they live with are almost unimaginable. This story offers a glimpse into the strength of the human spirit and lets us know that hope really can carry us through anything.
Dagny's October 2013 Staff Pick: This memoir, told through the life of Jesmyn Ward, examines why men in small town DeLisle, Mississippi are dying at such a young age. Through the loss of five friends and family members in four years, Jesmyn points to a society that sets these men up to fail. Looking at family relationships, how history plays into the futures of young men growing up poor, she realizes that society is literally killing wonderful poor black men.
Dagny's October 2013 Staff Pick: Despite all the reports and investigations into the thirteen-year-old girl raped by Roman Polanski, this is the first one told by the victim herself. Samantha recounts the night of the rape and how that continues to affect her life to this day. A well told account of the after-effects of rape, how we chose to view ourselves and how the system has failed victims of rape, Samantha, who now lives a happy quiet life with her family, shows understanding for Polanski and the decisions he made. She does so not as a victim making excuses, but as a human being who is able to see both sides of the story including how Polanski was unfairly persecuted for his crime.
Dagny's September 2013 Staff Pick: Indira was one of my professors at Naropa University when I was working towards my MFA. Her kind spirit and gentle way of looking at the world translates into her new book, ‘As Sweet As Honey.’ Indira takes a leap by making the narrator of the story a young girl who isn’t present for much of the story she tells. Her Aunt Meterling is the focus of the story. A tall woman, out of place all her life, finally finds love. During her wedding ceremony her husband dies. Through the grieving process, Meterling falls in love with her deceased husband’s cousin. Together they begin the life together Meterling always thought she wanted, only to find out that sometimes home is in the comfort of what we already know. This is a light read, perfect for a rainy day, curled in front of the fire eating good food.
Dagny's September 2013 Staff Pick: This short story collection celebrates the bond between man/woman and dog and how time and again dogs save our lives in ways we could never have predicted. From the dog who chased off a serial killer to the dog whose concern for his owner stopped his owner from taking her life, to the dog who sniffed out undetectable cancer, dogs are more than loyal, more than friends, they are sometimes the best family we have.
Dagny's September 2013 Staff Pick: This memoir dives into the loss a child faces when his father confesses he has murdered a friend of the family then flees the country. His mother joins a cult and Daniels finds himself without role models. Daniels finds himself in some hairy situations as he travels the world trying to find himself and come to terms with who he is. His grief for the loss of his father is compounded when years later his father is found, arrested and jailed and Daniels’ hopes of surfing with his father are killed for good. Great memoir.
Dagny's September 2013 Staff Pick: This is a tale of raw emotions set in Los Angeles in the early 1930’s. Arturo Bandini is trying to start his career as a writer, but any success he has is set off by his passionate love for Camilla Lopez and her self-destructive love of another man. This story artfully weaves together how racism ties into self esteem and the high emotions that run through youth. The ending is one of the few book endings I not only remember, but still feel in my heart when I think about it.
Dagny's July 2013 Staff Pick: Gaiman tells a beautiful tale in the story of a boy finding a place where he belongs that lives somewhere just on the outside of reality. His journey to remember his childhood brings back mystery and magic.
Dagny's July 2013 Staff Pick: Burroughs is somewhat of a modern day Bukowski, retelling his life story in blunt, easily accessible writing. His journey recounts a life that sounds too fantastic to be real, from being raised by a pill dispensing psychiatrist with a pedophile living in the barn to a career in advertising at age 19 with no education. His writing makes me laugh and cringe, often at the same time.
Dagny's July 2013 Staff Pick: This series of short stories includes Brokeback Mountain. While Brokeback rose to infamy when adapted to movie form, the rest of the collection is a gritty account of what life in the west is like. Proulx pulls no punches and takes you into a world where you can hear, smell and taste the characters she describes.
Dagny's July 2013 Staff Pick: This is a lyrically written book that pulls you in from page one. Combining the nature of storytelling and where the truth lies to exploring friends making their way in the world through love and rivalries, The Unchangeable Spots of Leopards is a reason to love reading again.
Dagny's July 2013 Staff Pick: If you haven’t read Anne of Green Gables in a while, or have never read it, I highly recommend it. Anne is an orphan adopted by a brother and sister, Marilla and Matthew, who wanted a boy. Anne, through her persuasiveness and innocence wins them over and changes their lives for the better. This free spirited girl whose imagination is constantly getting her into trouble always carries forward with a smile and hope.
Dagny's February 2013 Staff Pick: This fictional account of the darker side of obsessive love is told from the murderer’s perspective. While the reader is repelled by the narrator’s acts of uncontrollable anger, the reader can still relate to his emotions and his confusion and in parts is compelled to sympathize with him.
Dagny's February 2013 Staff Pick: It’s rare to find a mountaineering tale told by a woman, but Tanis did an amazing job of capturing the harsh environment of George Mallory’s famed attempt of Everest paired with the mundane life of his wife, waiting back home for him. Told with the sensuality of sensitivity of a woman while still able to perfectly capture the physical and emotional demands of a climb for the men of the expedition, this is a book that should be read by anyone with an interest in high altitude climbing.
Dagny's February 2013 Staff Pick: This novel takes the reader into the inner lives of eight women photographers. Entrenched in their political and personal lives, we see how these women see life through the lens of their cameras, their subjects and the images they choose to keep or discard.
Dagny's February 2013 Staff Pick: My heart broke when I read this real life account of a girl’s descent into drugs and desperation. The story is told through excerpts of the author’s diary. The life of this girl shows how easy it is to become lost to the world and to one’s self, the cruelty of others and the tragic consequences that can come from seemingly innocent experimentation.
Dagny's Staff Pick: I don’t normally pick up books about cats or written by cats, but the cat posed with its foot on the open page of a book made me think this cat had more literary training than I might have suspected. These poems offer the great truths of life intermixed with a good bit of humor:DID YOU KNOW?Did you know?Did you see?Did you count?How many timesI had to smack that mothOn your foreheadWith my paw?It was like a thousandHe’s dead now, thoughDefinitely deadOne more smackYou’re welcome
Dagny's Staff Pick: This is a beautifully done book that explores relationships between different species, such as the polar bear and sled dog that famously played together. An orangutang adopts a kitten as a friend and a lion, tiger and bear break down barriers to bond. This book doesn’t just celebrate the animals, but also brings an awareness of the environment of each species, their habitat and their sometimes precarious place on earth as endangered species. This is a heartwarming read for the holidays that reminds us we are each more alike than we are different.
Dagny's Staff Pick: This book offers an honest look at the thrills and fears of hiking alone as a women. Tackling the Pacific Crest Trail before it became popular, Cheryl takes on her demons and finds herself during her trek. A beautifully simple tale.