You may not be able to head to the ski resort for spring slush, and you can’t enjoy a beverage or a snack at most restaurants or bars, but you can crack open a new read and get lost in a tale of intrigue or some cerebral nonfiction. It’s spring offseason in Telluride ― that time of year when dusty gusts whistle down an empty Main Street and mud clings to the shoes of stalwart hikers ― but the librarians and staff of the Wilkinson Public Library have got your back with plenty of reading recommendations for your offseason downtime.
To start, library director Sarah Landeryou recommends brushing off the 1913 classic “The Custom of the Country” by Edith Wharton, in which the reader is transported to the gilded world of New York’s upper class of a century ago through the eyes of would-be socialite Undine Spragg. Without modern-day social media to attract followers to her blithe beauty and to cultivate an appearance of glamour to mask her prosaic Midwestern roots, the protagonist employs her unabashed ambition and guile to climb the social ranks, gaining her own analog following of dedicated admirers as she navigates the trappings of elite society from New York to Europe.
“The book is over 100 years old, yet the theme of wealth along with the illusion of power still resonates today, and it has great characters and drama,” said Landeryou, praising the novel’s “exquisite social commentary.”
For those in the mood for some bite-sized infusions of delight, look no further than public services manager Jill Wilson’s recommendation: “The Book of Delights,” by award-winning poet Ross Gay. In “The Book of Delights,” Gay explores delight in 365 mini-musings, observing everything from the beauty of the natural world to the rather delightful way Botan Rice Candy wrappers melt in your mouth. It may be just the offseason read to help lift the funk of the past year’s hardships, according to Wilson.
“It resonated with a particular depth, as the past year had a tendency to be not-so-delightful at times,” she noted. “This book really inspires you to start seeing things in a new light, whether that light be dark, joyful or even quirky.”
Next up, audiophiles can go for a spin through the life of actor Matthew McConaughey in “Greenlights,” recommended in audiobook format by Tiffany Osborne. Even for those not feeling particularly drawn to the memoir of a Hollywood leading man, this short autobiography may surprise.
“It was interesting, funny and surprisingly entertaining,” Osborne said, adding that after it was recommended to her several times, she finally listened to it and found herself laughing out loud. “It did not disappoint.”
Read by McConaughey himself, the Academy Award-winning actor revisited diaries he has kept since he was a teenager to draw out stories from his life of all kinds: the joys and sorrows, successes and failures, lessons learned the hard way, and a solid dose of humor and marvel, too. With the audiobook clocking in at under seven hours, it’s a quick but heartfelt read that McConaughey calls “a love letter to life.”
Spring offseason marks the unofficial, if not muddy, start to the hiking season as snow melts away and trails reemerge from their winter hibernation. For those who love a good walk in the hills, look no further for a fitting companion read than adult programs specialist Joanna Spindler’s recommendation “The Old Ways” by Robert MacFarlane. As the author recounts his journey on foot to retrace the ancient routes that weave through the British Isles, he blends the region’s natural history, stories and landscapes, while examining their influence on the humans who have lived there.
“Each step or mile traveled becomes a part of a great web of interconnected story and history,” Spindler observed, adding that the book’s explorations of the “subsurface stories of the paths” encourage similar reflections on the trails one may be hiking during offseason.
Last, but certainly not least, lovers of historical fiction will appreciate longtime library guru Alice Martin’s pick, “A Long Petal of the Sea” by Isabel Allende, who possesses an uncanny knack for combining compelling historical events with a poignant love story.
“This story spans more than 60 years, beginning with the Spanish Civil War, through Chilean political upheaval,” Martin said, noting the book’s themes of hope, exile and belonging. “This is a book that gives us perspective on living through difficult times and maintaining a positive attitude and hope for a better future.”
If you like big books and you cannot lie, or you prefer small books, don’t be shy ― dial 970-728-4519, or just head over to the Wilkinson Public Library and check out these recommendations and more for your offseason armchair adventures.