Poor Richard's Book Shoppe staff picks

Each week as part of SunLit — The Sun’s literature section — we feature staff recommendations from book stores across Colorado. This week, the staff from Poor Richard’s Books & Gifts in Colorado Springs recommends some Denver history, the adventures of a bookseller and an odd fantasy.

Gangbuster: One Man’s Battle Against Crime, Corruption and the Klan

By Alan Prendergast
Citadel Press
March 2023


From the publisher: At the height of the roaring 1920s, the ex-frontier town of Denver, Colorado, emerged from the postwar boom as the future of the American city. But the slick façade of progress and opportunity masked a murky stew of organized crime, elaborate swindles, and widespread government corruption. One man risked everything to alter the course of history.

Rookie district attorney Philip Van Cise was already making national headlines for a new brand of law enforcement. Employing military intelligence tools he’d developed during the Great War — wiretapping, undercover operatives, communication intercepts — Van Cise crippled the criminal empire of Lou Blonger, an ex-lawman who had risen from petty scam artist to master of the Big Con. But Van Cise had even darker, more malevolent forces on his radar.

From Jeffery Payne, Book Department Coordinator: Alan Prendergast’s “Gangbuster” is an incredibly well-written and intriguing work that explores the fascinating 1920s history of Denver’s battle with crime and the Klan. With succinct writing he manages to captivate and lead us behind the scenes in the fierce campaign to eradicate an unwelcome terror within the city. The author’s narration is engrossing and enlightening as he shares this little known era of Colorado history.

 Once Upon a Tome: The Misadventures of a Rare Bookseller

By Oliver Darkshire
W. W. Norton & Co.
March 2023


From the publisher: Some years ago, Oliver Darkshire stepped into the hushed interior of Henry Sotheran Ltd (est. 1761) to apply for a job. Allured by the smell of old books and the temptation of a management-approved afternoon nap, Darkshire was soon unteetering stacks of first editions and placating the store’s resident ghost (the late Mr. Sotheran, hit by a tram).

By turns unhinged and earnest, “Once Upon a Tome” is the colorful story of life in one of the world’s oldest bookshops and a love letter to the benign, unruly world of antiquarian bookselling, where to be uncommon or strange is the best possible compliment.

From Jeffery Payne, Book Department Coordinator: Book people are an odd sort, and yes, I include myself in that mix. Mr. Darkshire adroitly describes the fascinating personalities who deal in, and work in the business of used books, er, I mean “fine collectibles.” With delightful dry snark (he is English, afterall) we get a glimpse of what an ordinary day in a collectible bookshop is like, and there are never two days alike. Filled with wit and self-deprecating humor, a great read for any book geek, er, enthusiast!

 In the Lives of Puppets

By TJ Klune
Tor Publishing Group
May 2023


From the publisher: In a strange little home built into the branches of a grove of trees, live three robots — fatherly inventor android Giovanni Lawson, a pleasantly sadistic nurse machine, and a small vacuum desperate for love and attention. Victor Lawson, a human, lives there too. They’re a family, hidden and safe.

The day Vic salvages and repairs an unfamiliar android labeled “HAP,” he learns of a shared dark past between Hap and Gio — a past spent hunting humans.

From Jeffery Payne, Book Department Coordinator: TJ Klune introduces us to another cast of misfits who are adorably lovable and quirky. The reader is transported to an incredibly whimsical world that is so fantastically created that we gladly jump in with both feet. We follow Victor in both an emotional and physical odyssey in finding purpose and love. Klune’s inspired writing reaches into our hearts and minds. Just once, I’d like to finish one of his books without tearing up a tiny bit.


Poor Richard’s Books

320 N. Tejon St., Colorado Springs


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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