Editor’s note: Mountainfilm‘s Reading Frenzy, themed, “Conversations through Lenses and Pens,” takes place Sunday, May 27, 2 – 4 p.m., at the Between the Covers Bookstore “annex,” the Telluride High School Cafeteria.

It’s that time of year: stacks and stacks of boxes show up on our door step thanks to UPS Greg.

After barely using one dolly over a period of seven weeks,  it has become two-dolly days for the man in brown. Each box we receive is a nod towards our zaniest two hours of the year that don’t have to do with Kwaanchrismukkah.

In addition to being zealous experts and adventurers, many of Mountainfilm in Telluride guests are also authors. Sometimes their literary output is a major work of global importance in their field. Sometimes it’s a travelogue to enjoy in a hammock. Sometimes it’s pure eye candy bound in a stunning and heavy package. Sometimes it’s an expert’s side-thing like a book of poetry. Some titles are way out of print and we can only get a few. Unpacked, they become part of our displays for this much-loved festival, birthed in 1979. These displays, however, are just the “green room” for their Big Show: The Frenzy.

Sunday, May 27, from 2-4 p.m., Between the Covers sets up an annex at the High School Cafeteria, hosting an event that represents a shift in focus from moving visuals on the silver screen to moving words and images on the printed page.

This year, 25 authors will be seated in one room, pens in hand, looking forward to some face time with festival attendees and the larger world. Here’s the thing: The Frenzy is open to the public and FREE. No pass necessary. Our event represents the next best way to meet those “minds of Mountainfilm” who inspire debate and change. It’s also a chance to pick up an inscribed book for a graduate or a thoughtful gift for Father’s Day. Getting one (or three) for yourself and your coffee table are of course encouraged. Go ahead, be selfish. There are worse indulgences than books …

Mountainfilm books generally fall into three categories: issue-based, gorgeous, and adventurous. Here are quick summations to entice you to ride that cruiser, walk over, or drive over a pass to be a part of a 10-year literary tradition. Please note that the books are in no particular order other than alphabetical by author.

Books of importance at The Frenzy: ISSUED BASED:

• Dan Buettner, “The Blue Zones: Lessons for Living Longer from the People Who’ve Lived the Longest.”

Buettner wanted to understand why certain people in particular areas of the world lived longer, healthier and happier lives, so he traveled across the planet to get answers. The result is a best-selling book chronicling four areas: Okinawa, Japan; Nicoya Peninsula in Costa Rica; Sardinia, Italy; and Loma Linda, California.

• Dave Foreman, “Manswarm and the Killing of Wildlife; Confessions of an Eco-Warrior; The Lobo Outback Funeral Home.”

Check out the latest from the leading environmentalist who founded the group Earth First!. Inspired by Edward Abbey, who he says was “a visionary, the greatest inspiration my generation of conservation activists in the West ever had,” Foreman started the Rewilding Institute, which is dedicated to “the development and promotion of ideas and strategies to advance continental-scale conservation in North America and to combat the extinction crisis.” The book is about population issues and how population affects the extinction of species.

Alex Heard, “The Eyes of Willie McGee.”

The editorial director of Outside magazine brings to light the first complete account of a famous episode from the early days of the civil rights movement: a Mississippi courtroom drama that made national and international headlines during a five-year legal battle that started right after World War II. Walter Isaacson calls it “a real-life To Kill a Mockingbird.”

Richard Heinberg, “The End of Growth: Adapting to Our New Economic Reality; Peak Everything.”

In his writing, Heinberg often examines the urgent need to transition away from fossil fuels. A senior fellow in residence at the Post-Carbon Institute, his latest book looks at the limits of continued growth that will result from an eventual dearth of resources, especially carbon-based energy. His body of work includes 10 books, but these are not merely cautionary tales—Heinberg’s work offers a hopeful and realistic way of living for a future that is just and sustainable.

Note: The author has to leave the festival early so his signing will actually take place immediately after his Coffee Talk “Peak Everything?” on Saturday from 8-9:15am in the West Wing of The Ah Haa School. We’ll bring any books that are left to The Frenzy, signed of course.

Katie Lee, “Sandstone Seduction; Glen Canyon Betrayed; 10,000 Goddam Cattle.”

Known as the grande dame of Western singers and environmentalists, she’s also an author, musicologist, storyteller, actress, songwriter, filmmaker, photographer, activist, poet and river runner. Lee is one of a handful of men and women who knew the 170 miles of Glen Canyon well. She made 16 trips down the river and even named some of the side canyons. Glen Canyon, and the river that ran through it, changed her life.

Tom Shadyac, “TBD Title.”

We don’t know the title of the book, but we do know it’s hot off the press and making its way to Telluride for its first widespread distribution effort. (Read: FREE). Get your copy at The Frenzy plus a moment with the filmmaker of “I Am.”

Ben Skinner, “A Crime So Monstrous.”

In 2003, on assignment in Sudan for Newsweek International, Skinner met his first survivor of slavery. He was so impacted by the experience that he traveled the globe, undercover when necessary, to find other modern-day slaves. It became a book that won the Dayton Literary Peace Prize for non-fiction. In addition to signing his book, Skinner will also sign “The Unquiet American: Richard Holbrooke in the World,” to which he was a contributor.

Sandra Steingraber, “Living Downstream; Raising Elijah.”

An ecologist, an author, and now, an activist. Dubbed “Today’s Rachel Carson,” she writes a column for Orion magazine as well as books. Her latest, “Raising Elijah,” is about how to make sure one’s children navigate a world that is fraught with environmental dangers. She knows about this firsthand from another book she wrote, “Living Downstream,” which is about her own battle with cancer that was caused by toxins. Steingraber has also become a leading voice in the nation-wide battle about natural gas and fracking.


James Balog, Extreme Ice Now.”

A longtime guest of Mountainfilm, Balog has previously spoken about his photographic work on animals and trees. His latest work, the “Extreme Ice Survey” (EIS), uses a series of time-lapse cameras to chronicle the rapid recession of glaciers around the world and is the focus of the film “Chasing Ice.” (See related post on the film.)

Balog has published many books and been on numerous television shows, including a NOVA special about EIS. Please note that we’ll be taking pre-orders for his forthcoming “Ice: Portraits of Vanishing Glaciers” to be released September 4, 2012. He’ll sign a bookplate for you at The Frenzy and BTC will get it and the book to you either by in-store pickup or UPS.

Phil Borges, “Tibetan Portrait: The Power of Compassion; Tibet: Culture on the Edge.”

For more than three decades, Borges has created memorable portraits of people in indigenous and tribal cultures. His mission is to heighten awareness of the issues faced by those in the developing world. Borges has had a particularly close and long-standing relationship with the country of Tibet, and his latest book on Tibet reflects his respect for both the country and its people.

Chris Jordan, “Ushirikiano: Building a Sustainable Future in Kenya’s Northern Rangelands.”

A former corporate lawyer, Jordan is dedicated to raising consciousness through his photographic art of the far-reaching and destructive impact of our everyday habits. His widely lauded series “Running the Numbers” has been compared to the Harper’s Index of Art, offering viewers a truer understanding of the cost of society’s consumption. Unfortunately, it is out of print. We’ll have a limited supply of his 2012 offering “Ushirikiano: Building a Sustainable Future in Kenya’s Northern Rangelands” on hand.”

Peter McBride, Colorado River: Flowing Through Conflict.”

This native Coloradan’s photography career has taken him on assignment to over 60 countries for National Geographic, Smithsonian, Outside, Men’s Journal, Esquire and other publications. His passion, combined with a profound belief in conservation, propelled him to spend over two years documenting his local river—the Colorado.

James Prosek, “Eels: An Exploration from New Zealand to the Sargasso of the World’s Most Mysterious Fish,” and “Trout: An Illustrated History; Fly-Fishing the 41st.”

Prosek wrote his first book at age 19 for a major publisher. It featured 70 of his paintings of North American fish. Since then, he’s written for National Geographic and The New York Times Magazine and co-founded, with Patagonia’s Yvon Chouinard, a conservation organization called World Trout that works to preserve cold water habitats.

Please note that we’ll be taking pre-orders for his forthcoming “James Prosek: Ocean Fishes: Paintings of Saltwater Fish” to be released October 16, 2012. He’ll sign a bookplate for you at The Frenzy and BTC will get it and the book to you either by in-store pickup or UPS. In addition, the author has the leave the Frenzy early to catch a flight so come early if you want to chat with “the Audubon of the fishing world,” dubbed thus by the New York Times.


Susan Kees: “Telluride Hiking Guide:

So, I’m breaking the alphabetical rule for a moment Because we push “Shop Local First” in everything we do. We’re pleased to have the third edition of this best-selling guidebook at this year’s Frenzy, especially since her husband Bill was one of the founders of the festival.

In case you miss this chance to update your bookshelf, Kees will be at BTC on Saturday, June 2, at 6:30pm for a launch party during the ever-popular Main Street Balloon Glow brought to you by the Balloon Festival.

And now, back to our regularly scheduled program …

Dan Austin, “The Road Trip Pilgrim’s Gide; True Fans.”

A writer and filmmaker, Austin is best known for his 1999 documentary, True Fans, (People’s Choice Award) that chronicled his bike journey across America with his brother, Jared, his best friend Clint, and a basketball. He is also the inspiration, voice, and leader of 88bikes, an organization that donates bikes to young people in developing countries, providing a sustainable and enjoyable form of transportation.

Rob Blair, “The Western San Juan Mountains: Their Geology, Ecology, and Human History; The Eastern San Juan Mountains: Their Geology, Ecology, and Human History.”

What a great set to have in your library by a professor emeritus of geology at Fort Lewis College in Durango, CO. A must for any San Juanophile.

Maria Coffey, “Where the Mountain Casts Its Shadow,” “Explorers of the Infinite.”

After a life-altering encounter with an elephant in 2007, Coffey—along with her husband Dag Goering—set out to explore the world of these amazing giants and discovered the desperate situation the animals face both in captivity and the wild. Coffey has written 11 books, including “Where the Mountain Casts Its Shadow,” which won the Banff Mountain Literature Prize, and “Explorers of the Infinite,” endorsed by Oprah Winfrey. The couple is presently co-writing a book about their work with elephants.

Ginny Fowler-Hicks, “Mountain Star”

Remember trying to draw your first 5-pointed star? Didn’t go so well, did it? Well here’s a proven method, taught through a story about a mountaineer, of how to nail it every time. Based on a true story about her late brother Charlie Fowler, this retired elementary school principal has created a fitting tribute and an incredible how-to experience for adventurous kiddos.

Shelton Johnson,“Gloryland.”

You might remember this Yosemite National Park Ranger from the National Parks documentary by Ken Burns? With 25 years of service under his belt, he’s also the author of an historical fiction memoir of a Black Indian from South Carolina who becomes a Buffalo Soldier assigned to patrol Yosemite in 1903. He’s got a smile as wide as the Valley.

Bill Kerig, “The Edge of Never.”

This writer, producer, director and former professional skier reveals a real-life coming of age tale about Kye Petersen skiing the route that killed his father, which subsequently became a film by the same name (2010). Kerig’s current film, which screens at Mountainfilm, “Ready to Fly,” is about champion ski jumper Lindsey Van and her fight for Olympic equality.

Bernadette McDonald, “Freedom Climbers; Brotherhood of the Rope; I’ll Call You in Kathmandu.”

After a nearly 20-year career as the head of the Banff Mountain Festivals before turning to writing full time in 2006, her books have received top accolades, including being shortlisted for Boardman-Tasker Prize, receiving the ITAS prize for mountain literature, as well as the Kekoo Naoroji Award for mountain literature. Her newest book documents the history of a group of extraordinary Polish adventurers who emerged from under the blanket of oppression following the Second World War to become the worlds’ leading Himalayan climbers. “Freedom Climbers” has already won three top prizes.

Rob Story, “Telluride Storys: Tales and Rants from the Powder Stashes, Alleyways, Singletracks, Honky-Tonks, Scree Fields, Music Fests, and Mudrooms of the San Juans.”

Focusing on modern-day Telluride, Story brings out the salty characters and hairball adventures that characterize this ski resort/end-of-the-road town on Colorado’s Western Slope.

• Geoff Tabin, “Blind Corners: Adventures on Seven Continents.”

Cuurently the co-director of the Himalayan Cataract Project, Tabin has a mountainous past. In this out of print collection of true stories from 1993, he takes you around the globe, from the world’s first bungee jump to the peak of Mt. Everest. Tabin’s keen observations and lively sense of humor convey both the terror and the exhilaration of nature’s greatest challenges. We only have a couple of these this year. Get a copy while you can!

Jon Turk, “The Raven’s Gift: A Scientist, A Shaman, and their Remarkable Journey Through the Siberian Wilderness; In the Wake of the Jomon: Stone Age Mariners and a Voyage Across the Pacific.”

Turk’s rare character led him from college at Brown to such accomplishments as a 3,000-mile kayak passage from Japan to Alaska, an unsupported crossing of the western Gobi of Mongolia on a mountain bike and a Ph.D. in organic chemistry from the University of Colorado. In addition to his books, he also co-authored the first textbook on environmental science in the U.S. in 1971.

Scott Wallace, “The Unconquered: In Search of the Amazon’s Last Uncontacted Tribes.”

This book takes on a Conradian sensibility, and Wallace and a team of indigenous scouts and Indian rights activists attempt to understand the Arrow People without contacting them. Wallace first wrote this story for National Geographic.

Note: The author has to leave the festival early so his signing might take place immediately after his presentation at the Opera House on Friday at 2pm. Stay tuned for a confirmation. Regardless, we’ll bring signed books to The Frenzy.

• Freddie Wilkinson,” One Mountain Thousand Summits: The Untold Story of Tragedy and True Heroism on K2.”

Wilkinson believes that a climbing adventure is only as good as the stories you bring home. He climbed his first mountain—New Hampshire’s Mt Washington—at age 13. Since climbing Denali at 20, he’s spent three to four months of every year on expeditions around the globe. This book is an insider’s account of one of the deadliest and most controversial tragedies in mountaineering history. He is the director of  “The Old Breed,” one of the many great films at Mountainfilm 2012.

There you have it. A stellar lineup awaits. Mark your holiday weekend calendar. Tell your friends and don’t forget to bring your own bag. Get ready to Frennnzzzzyyyyyyyy! See you in line …

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