Wednesday, November 23, 2011

Books as seeds

Gift of reading raises money, informs, entertains

Express Staff Writer

Sun Valley celebrates it's 75th season this year and with the parties is a new coffee table history book written by Van Gordon Sauter with a forward by Clint Eastwood.

There's an abundance of locally written books available this holiday season for gifts to yourself or others. Proceeds from some will help the Animal Shelter of the Wood River Valley.

"Sun Valley is the place where it all began. An idyllic valley that became the setting for a winter playground that drew the famous, the glamorous and the accomplished. The first chairlift was invented here," reads the promotion for "The Sun Valley Story," by Van Gordon Sauter. "Hemingway made his home here. Step inside [the book] and discover the people and places that helped define an American icon."

With a foreword by Clint Eastwood stating that "this book captures the magic and the tradition and a whole lot more," this new coffee table book contains previously unpublished vintage images as well as lavish four-color photographs from the last decade, including the Castle Rock Fire, the Sun Valley Writers' Conference, Allen & Co. conference and the personalities that define Sun Valley today. There will be a release party Friday, Nov. 25, at Iconoclast Books.

"Hemingway, A Life in Pictures," is, unbelievably, a previously undone collection released to coincide with the 50th anniversary of the adventure novelist's suicide.

This one is special in that it is a tribute by granddaughter Mariel Hemingway, who invites viewers into a family album revealing all aspects of the man.

In what publishers call "a loving homage to one of America's greatest writers," the paperback coffee table tome is filled with more than 350 carefully selected photographs showing a childhood filled with harbingers of the future—the 5-year-old fishing, the 16-year-old writing, the wounded World War I ambulance driver, the young groom—and an adult's life of success and failure—journalist, serial husband, prize-winning author, big-game hunter, "Papa" Hemingway, foul-mouthed drinker, self-idealized hero.

Mariel Hemingway, an author and actress, collaborated with Boris Vejdovsky, an associate professor at the University of Lausanne, where he teaches a course in American literature and culture.

They compiled a 40,000-word narrative to accompany the photographs that attempts to explain the celebrated life of an uncanny observer, bastion of self-destruction and still one of America's greatest writers.

The book is available through Firefly Books, in bookstores and online, starting in December.

If doing good is more your thing, there are three books ready for Christmas that will warm your hearts and benefit the local shelter.

"A Little Dog's Christmas Tale" by Diane Myerson and illustrated by Kim Howard, is one of four in a series. This is a children's book telling the story of a dog named Sadie who is lost on Christmas Eve and through her adventures meets friends and has a visit with Santa Claus.

Howard lives in the Wood River Valley and has been creating greeting and holiday cards, posters and paintings and illustrating book projects, including a poster and program designs for previous National Dog Shows, which airs on Thanksgiving Day. This year's poster art was done by Judy Stoltzfus of Hailey, designer of the picnic scene on the Atkinsons' reusable bags. For more, see a story on Stoltzfus on C1.

"Dot's Story" by Wood River Valley residents Lee and Dennis Higman, and "From Italy with Love: A Homeless Italian Street Dog Comes to America," by Lyn Stallard and Terry Tischer, illustrated by Helcia Graf, are both about dogs finding their forever homes.

All the dog books are available through the Animal Shelter of the Wood River Valley,

Special event:

Susanna Sonnenberg, whose memoir, "Her Last Death," was a New York Times and Los Angeles Times bestseller, will discuss her forthcoming book, "The Matter With Us," a personal exploration of friendships with important women in her life, at Iconoclast Books on Friday, Nov. 25, at 4:30 p.m. Michiko Kakutani, possibly one of the New York Times' toughest critics, wrote this about her first novel: "'Her Last Death' recounts 'the true calamity of being daughter to this mother,' and the wonder of this memoir is that the author survived her traumatic childhood and found a way of turning her memories into a fiercely observed, fluently written book." See Sonnenberg's website, Sonnenberg was born in London in 1965 and grew up in New York. Her essays have appeared in Elle, O, the Oprah Magazine and Parenting, among other magazines. She lives in Montana with her husband and two sons.

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