Old Firehouse Books staff picks

Each week as part of SunLit — The Sun’s literature section — we feature staff recommendations from book stores across Colorado. This week, staff from Old Firehouse Books in Fort Collins recommend “The Crane Husband,” “The Lives of Moths” and “Defensible Spaces.”

The Crane Husband

By Kelly Barnhill
February 2023


From the publisher: A 15-year-old teenager is the backbone of her small Midwestern family, budgeting the household finances and raising her younger brother while her mom, a talented artist, weaves beautiful tapestries. For six years, it’s been just the three of them — her mom has brought home guests at times, but none have ever stayed.

Yet when her mom brings home a six-foot tall crane with a menacing air, the girl is powerless to prevent her mom letting the intruder into her heart, and her children’s lives. In this stunning contemporary retelling of “The Crane Wife” by the Newbery Medal-winning author, one fiercely pragmatic teen forced to grow up faster than was fair will do whatever it takes to protect her family — and change the story.

From Teresa, Bookseller: When her mother brings home a six foot crane that demands all her mother’s attention (in every aspect of her life)  the girl will be forced to become an adult. Barnhill is a master storyteller and this book packs a punch for something so tiny; a stunning novella that I wished I could read again for the first time.

The Lives of Moths

By Andrei Sourakov and Rachel Warren Chadd
Princeton University Press
April 2022


From the publisher: Moths are among the most underappreciated insects on the planet, yet they make up the majority of some 180,000 known species of Lepidoptera. Filled with striking images, this book looks at the remarkable world of these amazing and beautiful creatures.

While butterflies may get more press than moths, Andrei Sourakov and Rachel Warren Chadd reveal that the lopsided attention is unjust.

From Zane, Bookseller: Look, I’m not declaring war on butterflies or anything but I feel like people have been talking about the beauty of butterflies my whole life and no one ever mentioned that there are EIGHT TIMES as many beautiful moths all over the whole wide world. And I mean beautiful. This book serves two functions: 1. If you read it, it will teach you about moths, one of the most diverse and intriguing insect species in the world, and 2. If you open to almost any random page, you will see a picture of an unbelievably gorgeous (or delightfully odd, or sometimes even surprisingly cute) moth. If, when you think of moths, you think only of dead crops or that creepy little dude on the cover of Silence of the Lambs, please let this book surprise you.

Defensible Spaces

By Alison Turner
Torrey House Press
February 2023


From the publisher: The residents of Clayton, Colorado, must learn to live with what has burned and what threatens to ignite. In ”Defensible Spaces,” a bus driver confronts a rush of memories when an old flame climbs aboard; a trailer park resident attempts to save her home; a reclusive fire mitigation worker fuels public outrage. Throughout 10 linked short stories, townspeople work through relationships with alcoholism, history, and each other, negotiating where and when to create their own defensible spaces that might, but will not always, keep them protected.

From Sterling, Bookseller: A masterful short story debut from Alison Turner, a local Colorado author! This collection of interconnected stories gorgeously weaves the fictional residents of small town Clayton’s lives together through crisis, time and space. The stories span years of the characters’ lives, with a different resident’s point of view in every chapter. I found myself becoming incredibly invested in the lives of the town, turning the events of my morning chapter over in my head through the day, and I ended up binging the last three chapters because the anticipation was too much (incredibly excited for those characters” POV)! Full of rich themes and important topics to explore, this is a read that will smolder in your heart long after you close the book.


Old Firehouse Books

232 Walnut St., Fort Collins


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

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