What the staff at Old Firehouse Books suggest for your next read

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: Old Fire Station Books, 232 Walnut St., Fort Collins

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Fantastic numbers and where to find them

By Antonio Padille
Farrar, Straus and Giroux
July 2022

>> To buy

From the editor: For particularly brilliant theoretical physicists like James Clerk Maxwell, Paul Dirac or Albert Einstein, the search for mathematical truths led to strange new understandings of the ultimate nature of reality. But what are these truths? What are the mysterious numbers that explain the universe? In this volume, leading theoretical physicist and YouTube star Antonio Padilla takes us on an irreverent cosmic tour of nine of physics’ most extraordinary numbers, providing a startling picture of how the universe works.

From Kelvin, bookseller: This book attempts to explain some specific numbers, from fantastically small to fantastically large and a few in between, but it’s not a simple math story, interesting as that subject may be. Padilla shows how these numbers, which in our struggle to understand them may seem unreal and out of the realm of possible relevance, are in fact necessary and fundamentally part of our universe, our world and our lives.

>> To buy

The Rise and Kingdom of Mammals

By Steve Brusatte
sailor’s books
June 2022

>> To buy

From the publisher: We humans are the heirs of a dynasty that ruled the planet for nearly 66 million years, through fiery cataclysms and ice ages: mammals. Our lineage includes saber-toothed tigers, woolly mammoths, car-sized armadillos, cave bears three times heavier than a grizzly, smart runners who outlived Tyrannosaurus rex, and even d other types of humans, such as Neanderthals. Indeed, humanity and many other beloved mammals with which we share the planet today – lions, whales, dogs – represent only the few survivors of a sprawling and amazing family tree that has been pruned by the weather and mass extinctions. How did we come here?

From Zane, bookseller: Have you been pretty hard on fantasy/sci-fi for a while and would like a great non-fiction palate cleanser? Do you want to feel like an excited elementary school student learning interesting science facts for the first time and dying to tell all your friends? I had so much fun with this book and I don’t know who I was until I heard of the humble Thrinaxodon, little burrowing hero of the evolutionary mammalian line. If you don’t want to get into a hardcover, Brusatte also wrote “The Rise and Fall of the Dinosaurs”, which came out in paperback.

>> To buy

Dawn of Everything: A New History of Humanity

By David Graeber and David Wengrow

Farrar, Straus and Giroux
November 2021

>> To buy

From the publisher: For generations, our distant ancestors have been portrayed as primitive and childish – either free and equal innocents or thugs and warriors. Civilization, we are told, could only be achieved by sacrificing these original freedoms or, alternatively, by taming our baser instincts. David Graeber and David Wengrow show how such theories first emerged in the 18th century as a conservative reaction to powerful critiques of European society made by Indigenous observers and intellectuals. Revisiting this encounter has startling implications for how we make sense of human history today, including the origins of agriculture, property, cities, democracy, slavery and civilization itself.

From Julie, bookseller: Read it to challenge your understanding of human history and enjoy evidence-based debunking of amazing anthropological and archaeological collaboration.

>> To buy

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