Each week as part of SunLit — The Sun’s literature section — we feature staff recommendations from book stores across Colorado. This week, staff from Poor Richard’s Books in Colorado Springs recommend “Letter to the Americans,” “The Golden Thread” and “World of Curiosities.”
The Golden Thread – How Fabric Changed History
By Kassia St. Clair
Liveright Publishing – W. W. Norton & Co.
From the publisher: From colorful threads found on the floor of an ancient Georgian cave to the Indian calicoes that fueled the Industrial Revolution, “The Golden Thread” illuminates the myriad and fascinating histories behind the cloths that came to define human civilization—the fabric, for example, that allowed mankind to shatter athletic records, and the textile technology that granted us the power to survive in space.
From Jeffery Payne, Book Department Coordinator: This book will give anyone who is remotely interested in fiber and fabric an appealing and comprehensive history in the making of cloth. The reader will be lured down a tangled path and be intrigued by the lives of silk, wool, flax and cotton, the traditional fibers that have created clothing for centuries. We also learn about the upstart new fabrics that make us faster and stronger. The author easily weaves context and chronology of events into an engaging read and will give one an appreciation for the clothing we wear.
Letter to the Americans
By Jean Cocteau
New Directions Publishing
From the publisher: In 1949, Jean Cocteau spent 20 days in New York, and began composing on the plane ride home this essay filled with the vivid impressions of his trip. With his unmistakable prose and graceful wit, he compares and contrasts French and American culture: the different values they place on art, literature, liberty, psychology, and dreams. Cocteau sees the incredibly buoyant hopes in America’s promise, while at the same time warning of the many ills that the nation will have to confront — its hypocrisy, sexism, racism, and hegemonic aspirations — in order to realize this potential.
From Jeffery Payne, Book Department Coordinator: This dainty little book packs a wallop. Written over 70 years ago, it’s completely relevant today, unfortunately, I couldn’t tell if I was being charmed or chastised in Cocteau’s essays — it is a very fine line. In his classic style, he leans in close as if to tell us a secret and then we are treated instead to a slight insult or goading, sort of a tough love approach in his commentary. Despite all that, I enjoyed the book thoroughly. He saw promise in our nation, which is what we need.
A World of Curiosities
By Louise Penny
From the publisher: As the villagers prepare for a special celebration, Armand Gamache and Jean-Guy Beauvoir find themselves increasingly worried. A young man and woman have reappeared in the Sûreté du Québec investigators’ lives after many years. The two were young children when their troubled mother was murdered, leaving them damaged, shattered. Now they’ve arrived in the village of Three Pines. But to what end?
From Jeffery Payne, Book Department Coordinator: Louise Penny certainly doesn’t need my help in selling books, however, if you haven’t picked up any of her books about the lovely (despite all the deaths) village of Three Pines and its wonderfully quirky residents, you simply must. I want all of these residents over for drinks and gossip, in particular Ruth, and her talking duck. Seriously, it talks, one may not appreciate its limited vocabulary but that’s not the point.
Once again the author pulls us into a story filled with emotion, memories and mystery. We see how lives are intertwined from the past and how that history can hold us back at times. While the subject matter is horrific, Ms. Penny’s able and steady hand guides us through with finesse. Possibly one of the best Gamache stories to date.