Whit’s End: Join other readers through Colorado Mountain College’s Common Reader program | PostIndependent.com

Whit’s End: Join other readers through Colorado Mountain College’s Common Reader program

Carla Jean Whitley
Erik Weihenmayer is the coauthor, with Buddy Levy, of "No Barriers: A Blind Man's Journey to Kayak the Grand Canyon," Colorado Mountain College's Common Reader selection. Weihenmayer will give presentations at four CMC locations March 20-23. Photo James Q Martin

Read along

Colorado Mountain College’s 2018 Common Reader selection is “No Barriers: A Blind Man’s Journey to Kayak the Grand Canyon” by Erik Weihenmayer with Buddy Levy. Weihenmayer will speak at the college’s Morgridge Commons in Glenwood Springs at 7 p.m. March 23. For more information, go to coloradomtn.edu/commonreader or call 800-621-8559.

There’s a particular malaise that can follow the end of a book, especially one that’s particularly satisfying. I’ve always got stacks upon stacks of books at the ready, and I acquire them much faster than I can read. Even so, I sometimes find myself overwhelmed by options or uninspired by what’s next on my list.

I mentioned this dilemma early this week in a conversation with my friend Kelly. She replied with enthusiasm — and capital letters: “CAN I GIVE YOU BOOK SUGGESTIONS,” she wrote. At her urging, I picked up Cath Crowley’s “Words in Deep Blue” from the Garfield County Public Library. Thirty-six hours later, as I neared the young adult novel’s final pages, I texted Kelly excerpts.

The novel folds together unrequited love with a teen’s loss of her sibling, and it’s primarily set in a secondhand bookstore. It’s about many things, but chief among them is the power of words in human connection.

The book brought me to tears, several times, and left me again grateful for the way stories bring people together.

Readers will have the chance to do the same at several upcoming Colorado Mountain College gatherings. The school’s Common Reader program brings together campuses and their surrounding communities to read and discuss a single book. This year’s selection is “No Barriers: A Blind Man’s Journey to Kayak the Grand Canyon.” The author, Erik Weihenmayer, will visit four campuses in late March, including a Glenwood Springs stop March 23.

It’s on my lengthy to-read list, and I hope to find through it some of the connection a main character of “Words in Deep Blue” describes to another:

“Words matter, in fact. They’re not pointless, as you’ve suggested. If they were pointless, then they couldn’t start revolutions and they wouldn’t change history. If they were just words, we wouldn’t write songs or listen to them. We wouldn’t beg to be read to as kids. If they were just words, then stories wouldn’t have been around since before we could write. We wouldn’t have learned to write. If they were just words, people wouldn’t fall in love because of them, feel bad because of them, ache because of them, and stop aching because of them.”

Carla Jean Whitley is a bona fide book nerd who visits the library an average of four times a week. Send her book recommendations at cj@postindependent.com.

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