As part of The Colorado Sun’s literature section — SunLit — we’re featuring staff picks from book stores across the state. >> Click here for more SunLit

This week’s bookstore: BookBar, 4280 Tennyson St., Denver | @BookBarDenver on Twitter, Instagram


By Lauren Groff
Riverhead Books
Sept. 7, 2021

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From the publisher: Cast out of the royal court by Eleanor of Aquitaine, deemed too coarse and rough-hewn for marriage or courtly life, 17-year-old Marie de France is sent to England to be the new prioress of an impoverished abbey, its nuns on the brink of starvation and beset by disease. At first taken aback by the severity of her new life, Marie finds focus and love in collective life with her singular and mercurial sisters. In this crucible, Marie steadily supplants her desire for family, for her homeland, for the passions of her youth with something new to her: devotion to her sisters, and a conviction in her own divine visions. 

The book gathers currents of violence, sensuality, and religious ecstasy in a mesmerizing portrait of consuming passion, aberrant faith, and a woman that history moves both through and around. A defiant and timely exploration of the raw power of female creativity in a corrupted world.

From Bess Maher, Event Liaison: “‘Fates and Furies’ author Lauren Groff has published a stunning new novel, also a National Book Award finalist. For literary fiction and historical fiction fans, Matrix delves into the life of Marie de France, who has been forced to become the new prioress of a declining abbey. Set in the twelfth-century, the timeless novel explores what it means to be an ambitious woman and to create a female utopia.”

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Are You Borg Now?

By Said Shaiye
Really Serious Literature
May 22, 2021

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From Donald Quist, author of “Harbors & For Other Ghosts:” This book heralds the arrival of a bold and important voice. Shaiye’s deeply personal self-interrogation blurs genre and form to examine how intersections between culture, race, class, gender, and nationality shape one’s identity. Vulnerable, affecting, humorous, and haunting, so often I clutched my chest and nodded in agreement to Shaiye’s keen observations. The reflections collected in these pages will benefit all who read this book.”

From Hillary Leftwich, Event Coordinator: “A necessary Afrofuturistic memoir layered with Shaiye’s self-examination through lenses of ‘Star Trek: Voyager’ and shifting aside Victim into Vulnerability through poetic interview. A call to self to face the mirrors that don’t just point at ourselves, but at all humankind.”

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Après All Day

By Kelley Epstein
Chronicle Books
Aug. 3, 2021

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From the publisher: For ski bums and non-skiers who enjoy the snow, here is a cozy winter cookbook of 65+ hearty recipes, plus beautiful photography that captures the après-ski culture and mountain town life. Après-ski is more than just an afternoon beer in the lodge. It’s an opportunity to gather with friends and family over delicious food and drinks during the cold winter months. This cozy cookbook invites home cooks of all levels to embrace the après culture all season long, whether they’re the first skier on the slopes in the morning or a nonskier who prefers to snuggle up by the fireplace.

From Becky LeJeune, Assistant Buyer: “An absolute must have for anyone who lives in a snowy state (and even if you don’t!). Hearty and cozy recipes include breakfasts to energize you for a day out in the snow, snacks for the slopes, and dinners to get you through the cold nights! Even better, recipes are a mix of vegetarian and non, and there are subs and suggestions for making the dishes to suit a number of palates. Epstein has an approachable and appealing style, and has included in her book extra details and listicles such as her favorite slopes (including Colorado) and game night ideas, among others. This one is a new favorite in my kitchen!”

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This byline is used for articles and guides written collaboratively by The Colorado Sun reporters, editors and producers.