Happy Holidays to All!
‘It’s a matter of how we see the challenge in front of us and how we engage with it. Persist, pivot, or concede. It’s up to us, our choice every time.”
from Greenlights, Matthew McConaughey’s recent memoir  
Sometime in the mid-90s when I was a graduate student in the English Department at the University of Texas at Austin, I had the amazing good fortune to attend a luncheon honoring Matthew McConaughey as one of UT’s Distinguished Alums. I’ll never forget sitting, enraptured, among 30 or 40 invited guests, listening to Matthew talk about his “Just Keep Livin’” philosophy of life. He talked a lot about taking the exits off the metaphorical highway of life—searching the back roads and off ramps on our journey. Since that day, I’ve felt a sort of kinship with Matthew, bonded by that speech on that particular day when we were both in our 20s. So it was with much anticipation that I greeted his new memoir, Greenlights, when it arrived earlier this fall. The concept of Greenlights turned out to be the grown-up, evolved and refined manifestation of his talk so many years ago in that Alumni center in Austin. I read a lot of good books this year, but this one spoke to me more than any other. Which leads me to ask, in this holiday time of “Best of…” lists, What book spoke to you? Which story inspired you? Educated you? Truly engaged you?
Susie in the mid-90s with Matthew McConaughey
And finally, thank you, dear customers, friends, family, supporters, visitors, and the community of Jackson Hole. Without your loyalty and love of books, the Jackson Hole Book Trader and Wilson Book Gallery’s fates would not be as certain as they are today. I am more grateful than ever for all of you—as well as my amazing bookstore team. Since March, we have done our best to keep each other safe, be kind and good to one another, and be courageous and resilient in the face of uncertainty. In so many ways, we will never be the same, but it is my belief we are going to emerge stronger and more compassionate towards each other and our world. As Matthew writes, “Greenlights. Here’s to catching more of them. just keep livin'.”

2020 Best Of
While 2020 has been a year unlike any other, staff spent the tumultuous time reading the new releases of the year. Here are a few favorites released in 2020:
In Millet’s latest novel, a bevy of kids and their middle-aged parents convene for the summer at a country house in America’s Northeast. While the grown-ups indulge (pills, benders, bed-hopping), the kids, disaffected teenagers and their parentally neglected younger siblings, look on with mounting disgust. But what begins as generational comedy soon takes a darker turn, as climate collapse and societal breakdown encroach. The ensuing chaos is underscored by scenes and symbols repurposed from the Bible — a man on a blowup raft among the reeds, animals rescued from a deluge into the back of a van, a baby born in a manger. With an unfailingly light touch, Millet delivers a wry fable about climate change, imbuing foundational myths with new meaning and, finally, hope.
Presidential memoirs are meant to inform, to burnish reputations and, to a certain extent, to shape the course of history, and Obama’s is no exception. What sets it apart from his predecessors’ books is the remarkable degree of introspection. He invites the reader inside his head as he ponders life-or-death issues of national security, examining every detail of his decision-making; he describes what it’s like to endure the bruising legislative process and lays out his thinking on health care reform and the economic crisis. An easy, elegant writer, he studs his narrative with affectionate family anecdotes and thumbnail sketches of world leaders and colleagues. “A Promised Land” is the first of two volumes — it ends in 2011 — and it is as contemplative and measured as the former president himself.
Franny Stone has always been the kind of woman who is able to love but unable to stay. Leaving behind everything but her research gear, she arrives in Greenland with a singular purpose: to follow the last Arctic terns in the world on what might be their final migration to Antarctica. Franny talks her way onto a fishing boat, and she and the crew set sail, traveling ever further from shore and safety. But as Franny's history begins to unspool--a passionate love affair, an absent family, a devastating crime--it becomes clear that she is chasing more than just the birds. When Franny's dark secrets catch up with her, how much is she willing to risk for one more chance at redemption?

Epic and intimate, heartbreaking and galvanizing, Charlotte McConaghy's Migrations is an ode to a disappearing world and a breathtaking page-turner about the possibility of hope against all odds.
Hopefully, it's medicine that tastes good, a couple of aspirin instead of the infirmary, a spaceship to Mars without needing your pilot's license, going to church without having to be born again, and laughing through the tears.

It's a love letter. To life.

It's also a guide to catching more greenlights--and to realizing that the yellows and reds eventually turn green too.

Good luck.
The Best Best-Of
New York Time Book Review
The editors of The Times Book Review choose the best fiction and nonfiction titles for 2020. Five fiction, five nonfiction - it's a list we love!
Wishing You and Yours
Happy and Healthy Holidays!
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