Each week as part of SunLit — The Sun’s literature section — we feature staff recommendations from book stores across Colorado. This week, staff from BookBar in Denver — scheduled to close at the end of January — recommend “The Curse of the Marquis de Sade,” “Now Is Not the Time to Panic” and “Links.”

Before the store shuts its doors, it will feature in-store-only sales throughout the month: Jan. 1-7, ALL inventory (books, sidelines, journals, etc) 25% off; Jan. 8-14, 30% off; Jan. 15-21, 35% off; and Jan. 22-31, 40% off. Additionally, the store will feature separate bar item sales/happy hours.


The Curse of the Marquis de Sade

By Joel Warner
Crown
$28.99
February 2023

Purchase

From the publisher: Described as both “one of the most important novels ever written” and “the gospel of evil,” “120 Days of Sodom” was written by the Marquis de Sade, a notorious eighteenth-century aristocrat who waged a campaign of mayhem and debauchery across France, evaded execution, and inspired the word “sadism.” Despite all his crimes, Sade considered this work to be his greatest transgression.

The original manuscript of “120 Days of Sodom,” a tiny scroll penned in the bowels of the Bastille in Paris, would embark on a centuries-spanning odyssey across Europe, passing from 19-century banned book collectors to pioneering sex researchers to avant-garde artists before being hidden away from Nazi book burnings. In 2014, the world heralded its return to France when the scroll was purchased for millions by Gérard Lhéritier, the self-made son of a plumber who had used his savvy business skills to upend France’s renowned rare-book market. But the sale opened the door to vendettas by the government, feuds among antiquarian booksellers, manuscript sales derailed by sabotage, a record-breaking lottery jackpot, and allegations of a decade-long billion-euro con, the specifics of which, if true, would make the scroll part of France’s largest-ever Ponzi scheme.

From Bess Maher, Event Liaison: Denver-based journalist Joel Warner’s book is an unexpected journey into the worlds of rare book collection, sexual deviance, and the changing attitudes of individual liberties and aristocratic power in the late 1700s in Europe. It’s extremely well-researched and engaging with interlocking narratives that pull you all the way through to the end of Warner’s stranger-than-fiction tale.


Now Is Not the Time to Panic

By Kevin Wilson
HarperCollins
$27.99
November 2022

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From the publisher: Sixteen-year-old Frankie Budge — aspiring writer, indifferent student, offbeat loner — is determined to make it through yet another summer in Coalfield, Tennessee, when she meets Zeke, a talented artist who has just moved into his grandmother’s house and who is as awkward as Frankie is. Romantic and creative sparks begin to fly, and when the two jointly make an unsigned poster, shot through with an enigmatic phrase, it becomes unforgettable to anyone who sees it.

The posters begin appearing everywhere, and people wonder who is behind them and start to panic. Satanists, kidnappers—the rumors won’t stop, and soon the mystery has dangerous repercussions that spread far beyond the town. Twenty years later, Frances Eleanor Budge gets a call that threatens to upend her carefully built life: a journalist named Mazzy Brower is writing a story about the Coalfield Panic of 1996. Might Frances know something about that?

From Marilyn Robbins, Children’s Program Coordinator: “Now Is Not the Time to Panic” is a fun way to begin the new year. It will have you reminiscing about your own teenage years and the mischief and antics you took part in as you grew into adulthood. Kevin Wilson has delivered a novel perfect for a cozy read by a fire or an eventful book club. No need to panic, but you do need to read!


By Natsuki Kizu
SuBLime
$12.99
April 2022

Purchase

From the publisher: A collection of intertwining stories covering four not-quite lovers as they find what links them together.

From Moira Brownwolfe, Backlist Bookbuyer: This collection of gay romances by the author of the popular Given series is a delightful little selection of tales to close out your year. If you like romcoms, romantic misunderstandings, or just slice of life manga, this one comes highly recommended.

THIS WEEK’S BOOK RECS COME FROM:

BookBar

4280 Tennyson St., Denver

bookbardenver.com

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

The Colorado Sun

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