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: Old Firehouse Books, 232 Walnut St., Fort Collins | @OFirehouseBooks on Twitter, Instagram

War With Russia? From Putin & Ukraine to Trump & Russiagate

By Stephen F. Cohen
Hot Books
April 19, 2022

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From the publisher: Stephen F. Cohen—the widely acclaimed historian of Soviet and post-Soviet Russia—gives readers a very different, dissenting narrative of this more dangerous new Cold War from its origins in the 1990s, the actual role of Vladimir Putin, and the 2014 Ukrainian crisis to Donald Trump’s election and unprecedented Russiagate allegations.

From Julie, bookseller: An excellent alternative to the corporate news and hawkish agenda regarding the current crisis, Stephen F. Cohen’s book enlightens the narrative with historical facts and cultural perspective on the new Cold War. Published in 2018, this new “memorial edition” is a must read from a life-long expert on Russian relations who is sadly no longer with us.

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Portrait of a Thief

By Grace D. Li
Tiny Reparations Books

April 5, 2022

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From the publisher: History is told by the conquerors. Across the Western world, museums display the spoils of war, of conquest, of colonialism: priceless pieces of art looted from other countries, kept even now.  Will Chen plans to steal them back.

A senior at Harvard, Will fits comfortably in his carefully curated roles: a perfect student, an art history major and sometimes artist, the eldest son who has always been his parents’ American Dream. But when a mysterious Chinese benefactor reaches out with an impossible—and illegal—job offer, Will finds himself something else as well: the leader of a heist to steal back five priceless Chinese sculptures, looted from Beijing centuries ago.

From Allison, book buyer: A deep and fun as hell heist novel with one of the best ensemble casts I’ve had the pleasure of reading. Kind of a “reverse” heist, as the crew is hired by a mysterious Chinese patron to steal back sculptures from Western museums. Very slick, and surprisingly polished for a debut.

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Book of Night

By Holly Black
Tor Books
May 3, 2022

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From the publisher: Charlie Hall has never found a lock she couldn’t pick, a book she couldn’t steal, or a bad decision she wouldn’t make.

She’s spent half her life working for gloamists, magicians who manipulate shadows to peer into locked rooms, strangle people in their beds, or worse. Gloamists guard their secrets greedily, creating an underground economy of grimoires. And to rob their fellow magicians, they need Charlie Hall.

From Andrea, bookseller: I had so much fun with this book. The shadows that stalk your every move and threaten to become something else entirely were such interesting (characters? plot points? both?). I loved the way that traditional expectations of reality were turned on their head. The storyline was haunted by questions of what was real and what was being rewritten by corruption or trauma.

And, guys, Charlie Hall was a true mess. A really big, no-idea-what-she’s-doing-sometimes, mess. But I fell a little bit in love with her as both someone who was trying to be better and someone who was called to crime and darkness. She was full of love and hate and yearning and revenge. Charlie was a character who never stopped feeling and the characters around her couldn’t help but be impacted by it.

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