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Book Talk

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Jonny Atencio

When he is not working as the wintersport promotions manager for Scott USA, Jonny Atencio likes to spend his time fly fishing, mountain biking, skiing, discovering new music and being with his family. He is also on the hunt for the perfect burrito. Atencio grew up in Utah and attended the University of Utah in Salt Lake City before moving to Ketchum seven years ago. “I met the love of my life, Idie Mawby, got married two years ago, and just had a beautiful baby girl named Ellie Ann,” Atencio says. Obviously a busy man, Atencio still finds time to read.


At the moment, Atencio is reading James D. Barron’s She’s Had A Baby And I’m Having a Meltdown: What Every New Father Needs to Know About Marriage, Sex, and Diapers. This light-hearted advice book for new dads is both pragmatic and funny.

Favorite Books:

Atencio considers The Kite Runner to be “a great story of betrayal and redemption.” Khaled Hosseini’s debut novel, which was published in 2003, is a moving tale told from the point of view of a man who grew up in Afghanistan, but immigrated to the United States when political turmoil threatened his home country. As the narrator looks back at his childhood, the reader is given a glimpse of the changes Afghanistan went through which led to the rise of the Taliban in the 1990s. “I was hooked from the start and could hardly put the book down,” Atencio reports.

Desert Solitaire by Edward Abbey is a memoir of Abbey’s time as a park ranger in Utah. Atencio loves Abbey’s sarcastic and ironic tone, and says the author “makes you think about what is really important. Being raised in Utah, it really hit home in a weird way,” he adds.

Hell’s Angel: The Life and Times of Sonny Barger and The Hell’s Angels Motorcycle Club, by Sonny Barger, Keith Zimmerman and Kent Zimmerman, is also a favorite of Atencio. The book reveals some of the history and ideology, as well as some of the everyday happenings, of the infamous motorcycle gang. “Going on a road trip with the family as a kid, I remember seeing a biker gang on the road (or at least that’s what they looked like to me as a 12-year-old). Ever since then, I have always had a fascination with lawless individuals,” confesses Atencio.

Barbara Kingsolver’s Animal Dreams tells of a young woman who moves back to her hometown to care for her elderly father. This love story, interspersed with Native American mythology, also reveals the problems associated with political upheaval and environmental disaster. “I think I was in a weird place in my life when I read it. [But] hey, guys like love stories, too!” says Atencio.

Atencio has found inspiration for his fly-fishing hobby in the essays of John Gierach. Since its publication in 1988, Gierach’s Trout Bum has garnered a cult following. The collection of essays focuses on fly fishing, but they also convey the author’s philosophy about life. “I have traveled around a fair bit in search of all kinds of fish, and John Gierach keeps me going out for more,” declares Atencio.

Favorite Place to Read: 

Atencio likes to read in airports and on planes.

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