Each week as part of SunLit — The Sun’s literature section — we feature staff recommendations from book stores across Colorado. This week, staff from BookBar in Denver recommend “The Last Chairlift,” “Home Is Where the Eggs Are,” “Dad’s Girlfriend and Other Anxieties” and “The Complete Brambly Hedge.”
The Last Chairlift
By John Irving
Simon and Schuster
From the publisher: In Aspen, Colorado, in 1941, Rachel Brewster is a slalom skier at the National Downhill and Slalom Championships. Little Ray, as she is called, finishes nowhere near the podium, but she manages to get pregnant. Back home, in New England, Little Ray becomes a ski instructor. Her son, Adam, grows up in a family that defies conventions and evades questions concerning the eventful past. Years later, looking for answers, Adam will go to Aspen. In the Hotel Jerome, where he was conceived, Adam will meet some ghosts. They aren’t the first or the last ghosts he sees.
From Marilyn Robbins, Children’s Program Coordinator: There is nothing as satisfying as reading a long novel that you can really delve into and feel as though you’ve become part of the story. “The Last Chairlift” is just such a story and is truly another Irving masterpiece. It’s filled with unconventional characters that might challenge you until you come to accept the life choices each character makes. It is a story of family, of love, of acceptance. The setting of Aspen, Colorado is an added bonus.
Home Is Where the Eggs Are
By Molly Yeh
From the publisher: This is a beautiful, intimate book full of food that’s best enjoyed in the comfort of sweatpants and third-day hair, by a beloved Food Network host and new mom living on a sugar beet farm in East Grand Forks, Minnesota. Molly Yeh’s cooking is built to fit into life with her baby and the nap times, diaper changes, and wiggle time that come with having a young child, making them a breeze to fit into any sort of schedule, no matter how busy. They’re low-maintenance dishes that are satisfying to make for weeknight meals to celebrate empty to-do lists after long work days, cozy Sunday soups to simmer during the first (or seventh!) snowfall of the year, and desserts that will keep happily under the cake dome for long enough that you will never feel pressure to share.
From Becky LeJeune, Event Buyer/Office Manager: I adore Molly Yeh! Her optimism and overall happy demeanor carry over into her dishes and are something I aspire to in my everyday life. And I think if I cook out of this book constantly, I might be able to make that happen! Cozy and comforting is rule of thumb in this book. And ease as well. Whether you’re making a hot dish or a halva- or tahini-tinged baked item or pasta, everything I’ve tried so far is amazing. This is definitely another favorite and one that’ll be getting heavy use in my house!
Dad’s Girlfriend and Other Anxieties
By Kellye Crocker
Albert Whitman & Company
From the publisher: Anxiety has always made Ava avoid the slightest risk, but plunging headfirst into danger might be just what she needs. Dad hasn’t even been dating his new girlfriend that long, so Ava is sure that nothing has to change in her life. That is, until the day after sixth grade ends, when Dad whisks her away on vacation to meet The Girlfriend and her daughter in terrifying Colorado, where even the squirrels can kill you! Managing her anxiety, avoiding altitude sickness, and surviving the mountains might take all of Ava’s strength, but at least this trip will only last two weeks. Right?
From Marilyn Robbins, Children’s Program Coordinator: I waited all year for my favorite middle grade novel, and this is it! “Dad’s Girlfriend and Other Anxieties” is the gem you’ve been looking for, perfect for the middle grade reader in your life (or you … it’s that good). You’ll laugh, you’ll cringe, you’ll cheer, and you will definitely fall in love with Ava as she navigates her trip to Colorado to meet Dad’s new girlfriend. This book is delightful and full of heart.
The Complete Brambly Hedge
By Jill Barklem
From the publisher: The mice of Brambly Hedge made their first appearance in 1980 when the four seasonal stories were published. Ever since, readers have loved exploring the miniature world of the hedgerow and meeting the families that live there. In this collection the mice have many adventures, but they always have time for fun and relaxation, too. Whatever the season, and whether they are by the sea, in the High Hills, or simply at home by the fire, there is always someone ready to lend a helping hand.
From Moira Brownwolfe, Backlist Bookbuyer: The classic British children’s series is complete in this one volume. If you grew up with Redwall but your kids aren’t quite old enough for it, try this adorable slice of life about mice living in fully furnished tree homes. Packed with lovely illustrations, this collection is the perfect gift for a cozy holiday season. And if you like the books, also check out the delightful stop-motion television adaptations from 1996.