White ElephantTrish Harnetiaux (Simon & Schuster)

This playwright has set her first novel, a compelling whodunit, in Aspen during the holidays. Combining the cutthroat world of luxury real estate, a visit from a pop princess, a high-stakes gift exchange, and—natch—murder, Harnetiaux paints a blistering picture of wealth and ambition in the mountains. The generous smattering of local references will have you nodding your head in recognition.  

The Man Behind the Maps: Legendary Ski Artist James Niehues, (Open Road Ski Company)

If you’ve looked at a ski area trail map, you’ve almost certainly viewed the functional artistry of Niehues, a Colorado native who has been hand-painting guides to snow-sliding satisfaction for almost 30 years. This compilation of maps from 150 resorts also profiles the artist and his painstaking process. No ski-house coffee table should be without it.

 

The Tradition, Jericho Brown (Copper Canyon Press)

These lyrical poems draw from today’s headlines and the historical legacies that have led up to them: racism, rape, slavery, police shootings, HIV, violence, and betrayal. Brown—a former political speechwriter who now directs the creative writing program at Emory University—introduces a new poetic form he devised, the duplex. Hear him read January 28 at Winter Words. 

 

 

The Carrying, Ada Limón
(Milkweed Editions)

The National Book Award finalist’s fifth collection of poetry explores the ambiguity between youthful innocence and the wisdom and grace that come with experience. She renders both ordinary occurrences—walking the dog, a sleepless night—and painful struggles like infertility and bodily pain as piercing, intimately drawn insights. Limón will be at Winter Words on January 28. 

 

 

First Tracks, Catherine O’Connell
(Severn House)

Mystery writer—and Aspenite—O’Connell introduces ski patroller Greta Westerlind in this first book of a series. Drawing on many skiers’ darkest fear—avalanches—the Aspen-centric story similarly packs a punch as Greta narrowly escapes the fatal slide that kills her friend, then grapples with memory loss and a quest to resolve what happened that takes as many turns as skiing through moguls.

 

  

Three Women, Lisa Taddeo (Simon & Schuster)

In this ultimate behind-closed-doors exploration, Taddeo documents the peaks and valleys of female sexual desire, based on eight years of embedded reporting. Her profilees: a suburban mom in the throes of a fevered affair; a young woman confronting the aftermath of an inappropriate relationship; and a restaurant owner married to a sexual voyeur. Taddeo appears at Winter Words on January 7.

 

 

Atlas of the National ParksJonathan Waterman (National Geographic)

This beautiful compendium—the first of its kind—showcases all 61 national parks through words, photos, infographics, and some 200 maps. A Carbondale resident and frequent chronicler of the outdoors, Waterman writes about the challenges these treasured landscapes face: invasive species, pollution, and budget cuts, to name just a few. 

  

Running with Sherman: The Donkey with the Heart of a Hero, Christopher McDougall (Knopf)

The author of best seller Born to Run, who comes to Winter Words February 18, continues his on-foot journey, this time in the company of a burro that he rescued from an animal hoarder and decided to rehabilitate. The goal? The World Championship Pack Burro Race in Fairplay, Colorado. Did Sherman make an ass of himself? You’ll just have to read the book to find out.

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