Community Book Initiative

Alpenglow Sports operates through a rich and connected community-centric business model. For 42 years, we have put on events that bring our community together and facilitate fun, education and inspiration. One has to look no further than our Winter Speaker Series a large-scale event that seeks to give back to the community that has supported the shop since its inception in 1979.

While it felt like the global pandemic jettisoned any opportunity for this community-centric model, as we were unable to gather in our traditional ways over the last couple of years, it also challenged us to consider new ways in which we could engage with our community. Thus, the Community Book Initiative was born.

The format is simple. Each spring, Alpenglow reaches out to 10 community members who are respected and admired for their mountain pursuits, community involvement and inclination to make Tahoe a great place to live. Each community member is asked for two to three thought provoking and enlightening titles related to a theme, for a total of 20 books. These titles are designed to spark dialogue and illicit personal reflection and engagement, with topics including environmental, social, or adventure-related issues. After all, we’re all beautiful works in progress.

We have chosen the theme “resilience” for the 2022 season. Additionally, we have chosen the non-profit Tahoe City Friends of the Library as the beneficiary of our Community Book Initiative. For the month of May, Tahoe City Friends of the Library will receive 100% of book sale proceeds from our 20 community recommended titles. Books can be bought online HERE and shipped to your address or come into the shop to see these titles for yourself.

The Tahoe City Friends of the Library is a non-profit group dedicated to the support and development of the Tahoe City Library services. It was formed for charitable, literary, and educational purposes. These purposes include: to maintain a membership of people and businesses supportive of the Tahoe City Library; to support and cooperate with the library in developing, maintaining, and enhancing facilities, resources, and services for the public; to stimulate the use of the library’s facilities, resources, and services; to focus public attention on library services, facilities and needs; to provide community enrichment programs; to encourage gifts, endowments, and bequests for the benefit of the Library. The Friends believe that a good library provides free access to information and resources to all members of the community and is essential to the growth and the general well being of the community. Please click HERE for more information about this amazing group.
The Long Walk by Slavomir Rawicz

The Long Walk by Slavomir Rawicz tells of an incredibly inspiring and disturbing tale about a small group of Russians who have been sent to a very harsh Siberian work camp for so-called crimes against the state and are, from a historical and statistical point of view, goners. In this moving and true narrative, they work the system enough to gain the materials, inside help, confidence and belief that they can escape against the odds...and do. Then the real story begins. Their escape works because of their resilience in the face of multiple setbacks, but also because they choose to take a path that no Russian guards would ever expect...they trek south across the entire remote Asian continent over four thousand miles on foot to India and the hope of freedom. Their spirit and determination resonated with me, and for me, makes this a must read tale of resilience in the face of ongoing and relentless adversity; very timely with current world events that are unfolding around us.

The Immortal Irishman by Timothy Egan - Waiting On Book Arrival

The Immortal Irishman by Timothy Egan follows the life of Thomas Meagher who, in the early and mid 1800's, was determined to help the Irish regain sovereignty from the British rule that was turning his country into a land of starving serfs. Unlike many of the "heroic leader" historic novels I have read, Meagher is not someone rising up from the slums, but rather is a man from a wealthy and privileged family who could have bailed out of the revolutionary spotlight at any time. He never does. I highly recommend this book not only for the story of one individual's resilience, but the broader perspective of cultural resilience. It highlights the courageous, bloody and heartbreaking role the newly landed Irish played as soldiers for the Union and, very possibly, in the ultimate outcome of the Civil War. To me the novel is a sweeping tale of an individual being able to bounce back and hold true to what they believe in despite a lifetime interwoven with oppression, incarceration and resistance.
The Forests of California by Obi Kaufman

Original watercolor illustrations of wildlife, maps, flowers and fauna combined with Kaufmann's unique meandering and penetrating prose really set him on a pedestal for naturalists/authors/artists. He also is seemingly getting better with each new book. Forests of California, his third (of six) installment, is a real masterpiece of visual and literary pleasure and an invaluable source of information about the current state and potential future of the forest ecosystems in California. The resilience of nature is a recurrent theme in his work, which is refreshing and important, as many often criticize the "doomsday" nature of many other environmental activists. I am very much looking forward to number four, "Coasts," due out next month.

Comfortable with Uncertainty by Pema Chodron

American Tibetan Buddhist, author and mother, Pema Chodron’s words of wisdom have never been more useful. Comfortable with Uncertainty details 108 Buddhist teachings aimed at helping us as humans meet the challenges of daily life. Chodrons' insight is as simple as it is relevant with the level of noise emanating from our culture of the 24-hour news cycle, social media etc. In a complex world, which has become increasingly difficult to navigate with the relentless streams of mis- and disinformation, simple messages of human resilience are invaluable.
Cutting for Stone by Abraham Verghese

Twins were born in a poor clinic in Ethiopia run by an English nun, their mother died giving birth to them, and their father fled. This is one of the best books I have ever read. It's heartbreaking, full of passion and resilience, and I constantly laughed out loud. One of the reasons I loved Cutting for Stone is they had delightful pop ups in the book, such as the one below.

There once was a man from Madras,
Whose balls were made of brass,
In bad weather they’d clang together,
And smoke would blow out his ass.

I just loved these funny, compassionate and delightful caricatures. I often gravitate to books about war and hardship as it puts my life into perspective as to how fortunate I am.

City of Thieves by Davis Benioff - Waiting On Book Arrival

This book is another great World War II read. It is gripping, full of humor, suspense, and tragedy; it follows the adventures of two young men desperately searching for eggs for a Soviet officer.
You Don't Have To Say You Love Me by Sherman Alexie

Alexie is a witty, intelligent, and darkly humorous writer who blends the story of his upbringing on the reservation under an alcoholic and abusive mother into a wonderful, insightful and damn funny read. He skillfully reveals how complex their relationship is through the use of both prose and poetry. Alexie has created a magical rollercoaster of emotions. Kleenex is recommended for both the tears of laughter and tragedy.

A Long Way Gone by Ishmael Beah

At the age of 12, Ishmael was taken from his family in Sierra Leone and forced to become a soldier. This is his story of enduring years of horrifying experiences and gracefully, amazingly surviving them. There are so many reasons why war is wrong and this is one that shouts the loudest.
One Wild Bird at a Time by Bernd Heinrich - Waiting On Book Arrival

What does it take to understand why birds act in certain ways? It takes curiosity, observation skills and time to solve their puzzling behaviors. The author, a revered scientist and one of the world’s leading naturalists, reveals details of each bird’s daily life, while questioning their unique behavior. Looking for answers, and discovering new questions, he shares a seemingly simple theory of behavior - for every action there is a strategy driven by survival skills. What we discover about behavior makes this world all the more delightful and interesting. You will recognize numerous birds native to the Tahoe area.

Shopping for Porcupine by Seth Kantner

Welcome to Planet Alaska.This book connects you to vast and stunning northern landscapes teaming with wildlife, and answers every single question we’ve ever asked ourselves about what it takes to truly live off the land. Seth Kantner was born and raised in a sod igloo above the Arctic Circle and witnesses the modern challenges confronting the ancient culture of the Inupiaq. Kantner, his friends and mentors, all of whom are woven into the rich fabric of the North, discover themselves drifting from their once ancient, remote and independent past.
Miracle Country by Kendra Atleework - Waiting On Book Arrival

One of the most thoughtful and sweeping homages to the Eastern Sierra written through the lens of one of its residents. You’ll be treated to haunting descriptions of the high desert and to the region’s raw Wild West and overlooked Native histories, as the author weaves together personal loss with the environmental destruction and human damage that larger forces continue to impact upon the East Side and its peoples. So, why stay there? Atleework crafts an important and convincing message about home.

Educated by Tara Westover

Shocking is perhaps the best word to describe this gripping memoir. While Westover doesn’t shy from the ugly reality of the dogmatism and violence that defined and tainted her childhood, she elicits a humility and tenderness for the parents and siblings who also loved her fiercely, and for whom she still longs for nonetheless. Educated is an unapologetic exploration of personhood, grief, and the depths of love that leaves you considering your own self-determination.
Night by Elie Wiesel

This beautifully-written classic autobiography is both a graphic and inspiring example of what resilience can look like — devastating and inspirational. The details in the story make the reading experience all the more compelling. As you read, the detail makes the reader feel as though they are seeing through the eyes of young Wiesel, who was one of the few holocaust survivors that lived through the horrible events that took place at the Auschwitz concentration camp.

In The Time of The Butterflies by Julia Alvarez - Waiting On Book Arrival

Yet another classic story that eminently highlighted themes of resilience and family. After the cruel Trujillo Dictatorship fell upon the Dominican Republic, the three Mirabal sisters resisted Rafael Trujillo’s control and fought against his beliefs in hopes to ultimately overthrow him. Their dedication toward fighting for the common good and resistance toward unjust treatment, permanently demonstrates how personal resilience, though not always simple, can be a powerful force in changing the world.
In Waves by AJ Dungo

To use our surrounding environment simltaneously as sources of insipration, distraction and of healing is something our community is intimate with. How those same environs can also carry on the memory of lost ones and continue to heal is lovingly illustrated in this minimal, modern tale.

Eat Like a Fish by Bren Smith

Raw as Hell and loving every second of it. Bren Smith delivers a sermon on how retrospective can sooth, align and make sense of a life lived as voraciously as, albeit questionably, possible. Tracing a line of displacement and reckless abandon from the earliest stages of his life to how he finally found not just his own true course but one that could save us all.
Beneath a Scarlet Sky by Mark Sullivan

This is a heart warming and wrenching true story of an Italian boy who grows up quickly during WWII. His resiliency in dealing with the Nazis, his family, his love and assisting with escape routes through the Alps is legendary. Pino, as an adult, worked in Mammoth Lakes.

The Last Winter by Porter Fox

This book takes us through scenarios and descriptions of how snow has impacted the world and the lives of mankind. During several, hundred year periods, RESILIENCY is shown by the snow and the people who are challenged by it. Currently, our resiliency is being stressed by climate change and overpopulation.
Wager the Wind, The Don Sheldon Story

The story of Alaska's legendary bush pilot Don Sheldon, and his pioneering flights into the Alaska Range, kept me on the edge of my seat. His prowess as a pilot and adaptive nature to read and adjust to the weather, pushed the boundaries of mountain transportation. His connection with his aircraft was unparalleled. His legacy has been embraced and honored by the bush pilots of today that fly us onto the glaciers of Alaska for high mountain adventure. Thank you Don.

A Voyage for Madmen by Peter Nichols - Waiting On Book Arrival

In 1968, a group of solo sailors set out to be the first to sail non-stop around the world, non-stop & un-supported, in a time before GPS, modern communication, and weather forecasting. During the 10 month journey, some lost their boats, others lost their minds, and two persevered to complete the circumnavigation with one winning the prize and the other following his desire to feed his soul. In stark contrast, today's version of this event, the Vendee Globe sees sailors push the boundaries of modern equipment and round the globe in under 80 days.