What the staff at Poor Richard’s Books think you should read right now

As part of The Colorado Sun’s literature section – SunLit – we feature staff picks at bookstores statewide. >> Click here for more SunLit

This week’s library: Poor Richard’s Books & Gifts, 320 N. Tejon St., Colorado Springs


When we stop understanding the world

By Benjamin Labatut
New York Book Review
September 28, 2021

>> To buy

From the publisher: It’s a book about the complicated links between scientific and mathematical discovery, madness and destruction. Fritz Haber, Alexander Grothendieck, Werner Heisenberg, Erwin Schrödinger are some of the luminaries into whose troubled lives Benjamín Labatut immerses the reader, showing us how they grappled with the deepest questions of existence. They have unparalleled strokes of genius, alienate friends and lovers, sink into isolation and madness. Some of their discoveries reshape human life for the better; others open the way to chaos and unimaginable suffering. The lines are never clear.

From Jeffery Payne, Book Department Coordinator: This vast gray area between fact and fiction is mixed beyond belief in this fascinating book. While taking a crash course in various abstruse topics, the fluent writing brings complicated theories and revelations to the reader’s fingertips. Moral dilemmas and ethics aside, and with the right words flying, we get to know each genius in a way that leaves us wanting more. A totally unexpected reading that leaves you in shock and reflection.

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The Weather Detective: Rediscovering Nature’s Secret Signs

By Peter Wohlleben
Dutton Books
June 5, 2018

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From the publisher: At what temperature do bees stay at home? Why do southerly winds in winter often bring storms? How can the chirping of birds or the scent of flowers help you tell the time? These are among the many questions Wohlleben asks in his recently translated book. Full of the very latest discoveries, combined with ancient traditions now forgotten, this book helps you read the secret signs of nature and discover a rich new layer of meaning in the world around you.

From Jeffery Payne, Book Department Coordinator: The title is a wee bit misleading, there isn’t much “detection” in this book. However, there is a wealth of knowledge gained from ‘observing’ the weather, nature and gardens. Reading this book is like visiting your shrunken neighbor, the one with the spectacular garden. We are inspired to step back and listen quietly as they offer opinionated advice and insights. Written from a Eurocentric background, it’s still a great book for the budding gardener or accomplished naturalist, no matter where they live.

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Water, Wood, and Wild Things: Learning about Crafts and Culture in a Japanese Mountain Town

By Hannah Kirshner
March 29, 2022

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From the publisher: An immersive journey through the culture and cuisine of a Japanese city, its forest and its watershed – where ducks are net hunted, sake is brewed from the purest mountain water and charcoal from wood is cooked in stone ovens – by an American writer and food stylist who has spent years rubbing shoulders with artisans. Taking readers deep into evergreen forests, rice terraces and smoke-filled workshops, Kirshner captures centuries-old traditions still alive in Yamanaka.

From Jeffery Payne, Book Department Coordinator: Kirshner puts her finger to her lips to silence us, her eyes wide with silent admiration, then slowly pulls back a curtain to show us this magical place she has discovered. But it is much more than a physical place. In a small town in the sodden mountains of Japan, we peek over her shoulder as she navigates the culture of the region. She devotes her keen sense of study to engaging with artisans, learning more than just each person’s craft. Time and art are honored in this hamlet; and her affection for the people she meets is clear and pleasant. We learn to savor the process to manufacture, to create both objects and food. This book emphasizes that it is the journey, not the destination, that is important.

>> To buy

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