Common Reader

Rough Beauty: Forty Seasons of Mountain Living

Rough Beauty: Forty Seasons of Mountain Living

Karen Auvinen

Rough Beauty is a memoir that recounts Auvinen’s journey from a restrictive childhood to find her vocation in writing and her connection with the “rough beauty” in the Colorado mountains and among a community of quirky and often contrarian individualists. She chronicles her many transformations along the way: changing her name, moving to an isolated cabin, learning to live with the beautiful but brutal mountain seasons and with the animals around her, forging a place in her unusual community, coming to terms with her family and its history, earning degrees in poetry and literature, becoming a teacher, surviving disasters of fire and flood, and exploring her own evolution through the “forty seasons,” ten years living alone with her dog, Elvis, in her mountain home.

Colorado Book Award Finalist

A narrative that reads like a captivating novel . . . Hers is a voice not found often enough in literature–a woman who eschews the prescribed role outlined for her by her family and discovers her own path.” — Christian Science Monitor

“There are many books about seasons in the wilderness but this is one about a life in it. . . . Rough Beauty has the power to change lives. It stands as an antidote to the brittle and the electronic, the hurried way we rush through our days.” — David Gessner, author of All the Wild That Remains

“This breathtaking memoir honors the wildness of the Rockies and shows readers how they might come to rely on their animal companions.” — Publisher’s Weekly, Starred Review

A wrenchingly evocative memoir. It is a story of loss, but it is also a story of transformation, of finding shards of hope among the ashes and moving forward with gratitude and grace and courage.’ — James Campbell, author of Braving It

OUTSTANDING! [A] beautiful story of resilience perfect for readers of Terry Tempest Williams.”— Kirkus, Starred Review

Regents’ Common Reader Awards

Chapters can receive $100 for organizing and hosting a local event or activity around the 2021 Common Reader: Rough Beauty: Forty Seasons of Mountain Living. Chapter members do not need to attend the convention to apply for a Regents’ Common Reader Award. After the event, chapters simply apply for the award money, following the guidelines posted at Award applications should be emailed on or before February 15, 2021, to the appropriate Regent.

Application Guidelines


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