SVWC READS: Reva Tooley

SVWC READS: Reva Tooley


Twenty-six years ago, REVA TOOLEY hatched the idea of the Sun Valley Writers’ Conference—a place where writers and readers could gather every summer to talk about books and ideas, to laugh, and commune with each other and the beauty of the Wood River Valley. The idea for the festival grew out of Reva’s passion for books, her respect for the power and import of words, and her wide-ranging curiosity. She shares with us the books she has been reading during these intense days.

Photo Credit:  Nils Ribi

THE END OF OCTOBER by Lawrence Wright

Just as the pandemic gathered speed, I happened to be reading Lawrence Wright’s gripping thriller, The End of October, a fictional account of a pandemic sweeping the globe. If Wright could imagine a virus taking the world by storm, as well as all the social and political consequences that would follow, we might question why governments and health organizations haven’t had the same level of imagination. Let’s hope the fictional ending—the liberation of all diseases—doesn’t mirror reality.



Because browsing in independent bookstores quickly became off-limits, I started hunting through our family bookshelves for unread treasures, and found Sapiens: A Brief History of Humankind, by historian Yuval Noah Harari. This is one of those books I knew I should read, but kept putting off. It has turned out to be a life saver in these times. My husband, Bill, and I have been reading small sections of it aloud each evening so that we can really appreciate the many steps of evolution. Every page is worth a slow tempo. If the pandemic has a way of raising existential questions in our lives, this book has a way of answering them.



Last week I came across The Winter Soldier by Daniel Mason (author of The Piano Tuner), published in 2019. What a relief to put the newspapers aside, go back to 1914, and plunge into war and love, bravery and loss. Every once in a while, you meet an author who can breathe life into descriptions of the world around him. Daniel Mason is one of those writers.

Latest Updates

Be Informed.


“Beyond the Page” Podcast Episode 19 with Barry Lopez LIVE

In Episode 19, Conference Literary Director JOHN BURNHAM SCHWARTZ revisits ANDREW PROCTOR‘s 2019 Conference interview with BARRY LOPEZ,…

Learn More