Staff Picks

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The booksellers on the Greenlight Bookstore staff read widely, and periodically recommend books they've especially enjoyed.  You can peruse and purchase current staff picks from the list below, or from our in-store Staff Picks display any time. Discounts are factored into the prices in this list.

This page last updated August 14, 2017.


 

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Champions, Volume 1: Change the World Cover Image
By Mark Waid (Text by (Art/Photo Books)), Humberto Ramos (Illustrator)
$13.59
ISBN: 9781302906184
Availability: On Our Shelves Now
Published: Marvel Comics - May 16th, 2017

These days the only thing I want to read is fantasy about social justice; Octavia Butler, Victor LaValle, and Daniel Jose Older. Champions scratches that itch on an omega level. Ms. Marvel quits the Avengers and teams up with some like-minded superkids to empower girls' education in the Middle East, expose systemic racism in the US, and generally take ethics in the contemporary world seriously while flying, smashing, exchanging goofy banter, and smoldering with romantic subplots. It's summer blockbuster thrills, embedded with real heroes.

Picked by Jessica in Fort Greene


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Tar Beach Cover Image
$6.79
ISBN: 9780517885444
Availability: On Our Shelves Now
Published: Dragonfly Books - December 3rd, 1996

Faith Ringgold's Tar Beach is beautiful blend of biography, fiction, and art. Each page is a quilt—created by Ringgold herself—telling the story of a little girl who claims New York City for her family's sake. This book was a favorite of mine as a child and to this day I still crack it open. Gift this to your favorite little person if you wish to see them fly above it all.

Picked by Nicholas in Fort Greene


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The Bad-Ass Librarians of Timbuktu and Their Race to Save the World's Most Precious Manuscripts Cover Image
$13.60
ISBN: 9781476777412
Availability: On Our Shelves Now
Published: Simon & Schuster - April 4th, 2017

This is the best kind of nonfiction: a heart-pounding story that also contains an immense education. The story starts with hundreds of years of intellectual culture in western Africa centered in the city of Timbuktu, distilled in wonderful anecdotes and cogent story arcs, and climaxes in the the risky smuggling of ancient illuminated manuscripts out of danger during the early 2000's.  Hammer's exciting reporting from Mali over the last decade reveals the cyclical struggle between tolerant and extremist forms of Islam, the complexities of the West's relationship with militants, and the courage of Muslims in nonviolent defense of  art and culture.  It even has some ideas on how lovers of books might practice their own quiet acts of bravery and resistance in hostile times.

Picked by Jessica in Prospect Lefferts Gardens


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Fancy Party Gowns: The Story of Fashion Designer Ann Cole Lowe Cover Image
By Deborah Blumenthal, Laura Freeman (Illustrator)
$15.29
ISBN: 9781499802399
Availability: On Our Shelves Now
Published: Little Bee Books - January 17th, 2017

Deborah Blumenthal's biography of the African-American designer Ann Cole Lowe, who created Jacqueline Kennedy's wedding dress, deals squarely with the obstacles of poverty and prejudice she faced, while celebrating the pure joy of creation and beauty.  This a great gift for fashion-obsessed girls (or boys), with some real depth as well as some couture thrills -- my own small aspiring fashion designer now has Lowe's gowns in her look book.

Picked by Jessica in Fort Greene


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Pippi Longstocking Cover Image
$5.94
ISBN: 9780142402498
Availability: On Our Shelves Now
Published: Puffin Books - April 21st, 2005

Didn't you know that Pippi Longstocking is the strongest girl in the world? Petty thieves and naughty bullies that cross Pippi's path have all learned that the hard way. Her no-big-deal super-strength, matched with her loyalty to friends and her - how should I say? - singular logical reasoning, makes Pippi the friend you want in any circumstance, not to mention the character you'll love reading about.

Picked by Geo in Prospect Lefferts Gardens


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All the Living Cover Image
$15.30
ISBN: 9780312429324
Availability: On Our Shelves Now
Published: Picador USA - February 2nd, 2010

A lacerating novel about love in isolation, All the Living follows a woman who's just moved to her new husband's remote tobacco farm, which happens to be the first house she's ever lived in. The novel is unsparing in its depiction of the brutality and joy of rural life. Written in fluid and faultless prose, you can shake the book and not a word drops out. 

Picked by Andrew in Fort Greene


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Changing, Changing Cover Image
$16.96
ISBN: 9780807615539
Availability: On Our Shelves Now
Published: George Braziller - September 2005

Aracelis Girmay's changing, changing is an homage to the experiences that shape us, and to the persons/spaces/places we might become. As much collage as visual poem, this book is a foray into imagination and possibility. It's a page turner, but you do not want to turn the page. My only wish is that it could come in poster-sized!

Picked by Stormy in Fort Greene


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I'm So Fine: A List of Famous Men & What I Had on Cover Image
$15.30
ISBN: 9781936919468
Availability: On Our Shelves Now
Published: Yesyes Books - March 15th, 2017

What can you say about this sharp, dark-humored, unmistakably womanist collection of poems? Queen writes, "I cut off my hair because I wanted to begin again with something on my body no man has touched" & maybe you shift in your seat a bit. Maybe you're like me, & cry in a random burger spot. Like Lucille Clifton's "Leda" before her, Queen's poems aren't interested in your comfort—she's busy trying to tell you something crucial about the body, what it means to encounter the public (specifically, male) gaze. When faced with all of that, I think all you need to say is, "Buy this book."

Picked by Jayson in Fort Greene


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Lunch Poems Cover Image
$7.61
ISBN: 9780872860353
Availability: On Our Shelves Now
Published: City Lights Books - January 2001

The poems in Frank O'Hara's Lunch Poems are the actual sound of Manhattan's heart beating, and it's thanks to San Francisco press (and fellow indie bookstore!) City Lights that we have them in this perfect, pocket-sized form. Ideal for reading in a park, on a train, on the steps of the Met, or anywhere else you might find yourself, the Lunch Poems are humble, beautiful without being sentimental, and absolutely momentous in scope. These poems are for you.

Picked by Melissa in Prospect Lefferts Gardens


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Little, Big Cover Image
$14.44
ISBN: 9780061120053
Availability: On Our Shelves Now
Published: HarperCollins Publishers - October 17th, 2006

Picked by Elisabeth in Fort Greene


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Curveball Cover Image
By Jeremy Sorese (Illustrator)
$16.96
ISBN: 9781910620052
Availability: On Our Shelves Now
Published: Nobrow Press - November 17th, 2015

Picked by Emily in Fort Greene


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Bury Me Standing: The Gypsies and Their Journey Cover Image
$14.45
ISBN: 9780679737438
Availability: On Our Shelves Now
Published: Vintage - October 29th, 1996

Isabel Fonseca’s ethnographic storytelling (adapted from her ‘90s PhD dissertation) traces gypsy history from enslavement to the struggle to unify and demand “Roma Rights” under the brand-new European Union. To understand how the Roma remain the most persecuted minority in Europe, begin with these moving, illuminating stories.

Picked by Heather in Prospect Lefferts Gardens


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Red Rosa: A Graphic Biography of Rosa Luxemburg Cover Image
By Kate Evans, Paul Buhle (Editor)
$16.11
ISBN: 9781784780999
Availability: On Our Shelves Now
Published: Verso - November 3rd, 2015

Rosa Luxemburg's best-known slogan, "Socialism or Barbarism," was no mere figure of speech—struggling to achieve the former, she was murdered by who would become Hitler's SS. While occasionally clumsy, Kate Evans' graphic bio energetically portrays Luxemburg's immense intellect, her unwavering conviction, and her bone-deep love of life. Much of the text comes from Luxemburg's own writings. As Luxemburg put it in one of her last letters, "enthusiasm combined with critical thought—what more could we want of ourselves!"

Picked by Jonah in Fort Greene


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Dance Cover Image
By Andre Lepecki (Editor)
$21.21
ISBN: 9780262517775
Availability: On Our Shelves Now
Published: MIT Press (MA) - August 10th, 2012

This collection of essays, manifestos, interviews, theoretical texts, photographs and scores is a comprehensive resource for the thinking dancer. Or for anyone in search of clues and contradictions for whatever secret projects they have in store. This book is for the ones who strive to create a thoroughly uncanny existence, and for the ones who wonder what it means to move.

Picked by Stormy in Fort Greene


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Autobiography of a Face Cover Image
$12.71
ISBN: 9780544837393
Availability: On Our Shelves Now
Published: Mariner Books - September 13th, 2016

In childhood, Lucy Grealy suffered a rare form of cancer, which she survived and which left her face disfigured. Such material could easily fall apart in self-pity. But not here. Honest and unflinching, with bursts of dark humor, Autobiography hits true. It's one of the best memoirs I've ever read.

Picked by Andrew in Fort Greene


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Herland Cover Image
$11.90
ISBN: 9780394736655
Availability: On Our Shelves Now
Published: Pantheon Books - February 12th, 1979

A must-read for feminists, misogynists and everyone in-between. Three hapless explorers, all 'strapping young men' discover access to a utopian island inhabited solely by a population of intellectually and culturally advanced women. The men make a series of missteps and broad assumptions as to the capabilities, interests, whims and desires of women that are so true to life it's comical and meantime, the woman navigate it all with capable grace. With the tone of the world these days, and with the momentum of Handmaid's Tale, Herland (which vastly predates yet likely helped to inform Atwood as a writer) is ripe for rediscovery.

Picked by Rebecca in Fort Greene and Prospect Lefferts Gardens


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Prodigals: Stories Cover Image
$14.45
ISBN: 9781250118059
Availability: On Our Shelves Now
Published: Picador USA - March 7th, 2017

This was absolutely one of my favorite books of last year. These stories pack in enough details and one-liners for entire novels. It's hard for me to read the first page of the first story and not get so caught up in it that I want to read the whole book again (which is frowned upon, here, at the store, when you are on the clock).

Picked by Matt at Fort Greene
 


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Blood of the Dawn Cover Image
By Claudia Salazar, Elizabeth Bryer (Translator)
$12.71
ISBN: 9781941920428
Availability: On Our Shelves Now
Published: Deep Vellum Publishing - December 6th, 2016

A work of profound lyricism and voice, Blood of the Dawn follows the intersecting lives of three women during the height of The Shining Path's reign of terror in Peru. Seething and sorrowful, rending and redemptive, Salazar Jimenez's novel of brutal beauty holds much more than it's hundred or so pages would suggest and will leave you exhausted by its end.

Picked by Kelly in Prospect Lefferts Gardens


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The Ballad of the Sad Cafe: And Other Stories Cover Image
$7.64
ISBN: 9780618565863
Availability: On Our Shelves Now
Published: Mariner Books - April 5th, 2005

Picked by Maya in Fort Greene


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Cries for Help, Various: Stories Cover Image
$14.41
ISBN: 9781936787319
Availability: On Our Shelves Now
Published: Catapult - September 8th, 2015

Nine-year-old Janis Joplin and an orphaned Charles Dickens lock lips in the bushes after class. A horse rustler, boots full of molasses and sorghum, shivers in the parking lot of a 7-Eleven. A lover appreciates the geometry of meat clods gumming up the soles of his converse high-tops.These stories are supremely funny, yet belie a listless urgency. A sense that all is not well. Indeed, Powell's satirical tales reveal that it is not a fine line, but rather a tug-of-war between madness and comedy.

Picked by Maxim in Prospect Lefferts Gardens


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Clean Room, Volume 1: Immaculate Conception Cover Image
$12.74
ISBN: 9781401262754
Availability: On Our Shelves Now
Published: Vertigo - June 21st, 2016

Gail Simone’s (New 52 BatGirl, Deadpool, Bird of Prey, etc.) first venture in Horror/Sci-Fi is outstanding. Each page will have you equally more confused and obsessed with what will happen next. Simone’s wit and understanding of what makes us the monsters is the real driver behind the story. If you are looking for wonderful art and a daring writing look no further.

Picked by Nicholas in Fort Greene


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Distant Star Cover Image
$13.56
ISBN: 9780811215862
Availability: On Our Shelves Now
Published: New Directions Publishing Corporation - December 17th, 2004

A tale of poetry, semiotics, and serial murder, Bolano's Distant Star examines the vapid and violent nature of right wing art while holding to the nauseating, fever dream vision of good noir. Starting right at the onset of Pinochet's coup in Chile, the novel follows an unnamed narrator who contends with his new pariah status and seeks to unravel the mystery of Carlos Wieder and his sinister New Chilean Poetry. Political, lamenting, and certainly creepy, this is the perfect little novel to kick off your 2017 reading list.

Picked by Kelly in Prospect Lefferts Gardens


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The Wise Men: Six Friends and the World They Made Cover Image
$17.00
ISBN: 9781476728827
Availability: On Our Shelves Now
Published: Simon & Schuster - June 4th, 2013

As we anxiously watch the world being remade in Washington, it may be prudent to reflect on a previous turn of the circle. The Wise Men: Six Friends and the World They Made is the story of the six men who, in the wake of World War II, were primarily responsible for the post-war order, the Cold War, and in many respects the Pax Americana that may be coming apart. Thoroughly researched and expertly written by Isaacson and Thomas, this is an ambitious and extraordinary six-in-one biography and exploration of the ethos of a bygone type of American statesman.

Picked by Nick T. in Fort Greene


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Mooncop Cover Image
$16.96
ISBN: 9781770462540
Availability: On Our Shelves Now
Published: Drawn & Quarterly - September 20th, 2016

A Space Odyssey for the romantically inclined.

Picked by Geo in Prospect Lefferts Gardens


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The Last Report on the Miracles at Little No Horse Cover Image
$13.59
ISBN: 9780061577628
Availability: On Our Shelves Now
Published: Harper Perennial - May 2009

This book may have one of the most beautifully rendered scenes: a woman playing Chopin on the piano while being carried away in a flood. But then again, it is a book of miracles.

Picked by Jess in Fort Greene


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Good Morning, Midnight Cover Image
$12.71
ISBN: 9780393303940
Availability: On Our Shelves Now
Published: W. W. Norton & Company - December 17th, 1999

Good Morning, Midnight is the story of Sasha, a woman in crisis; aging, lonely, she struggles to shoulder the weight of her depression. As she reels around Paris, floundering under the waves of memories that knock her around the city, she searches for anything -- alcohol, clothes, men -- to dull her tremendous pain. It's a bleak but unforgettable book.

Picked by Jen in Fort Greene


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Displacement Cover Image
$16.99
ISBN: 9781606998106
Availability: On Our Shelves Now
Published: Fantagraphics Books - February 8th, 2015

Not only is Displacement a pretty funny graphic travelogue, but its prime strength lies in Knisley's touching personal navigation into the world of familial care-giving.

Picked by Geo in Prospect Lefferts Gardens


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Erasure Cover Image
$13.60
ISBN: 9781555975999
Availability: On Our Shelves Now
Published: Graywolf Press - October 25th, 2011

In a literary canon that spans over twenty five titles, to me this is Everett's Magna Opus. This book takes a satirical look at the left turn an author takes when his latest book doesn't move the needle in the publishing world and turns to Urban Fiction, piggybacking off the success of an Oberlin educated writer's newest release We's Lives in da Ghetto.

Picked by Dante in Fort Greene


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Happiness, Like Water Cover Image
$12.71
ISBN: 9780544003453
Availability: On Our Shelves Now
Published: Mariner Books - August 13th, 2013

Picked by Jean in Prospect Lefferts Gardens


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Beverly Cover Image
$18.66
ISBN: 9781770462250
Availability: On Our Shelves Now
Published: Drawn & Quarterly - January 26th, 2016

Soothing pastels and stripped-down layouts give way to the sort of quiet anxiety and all-too-real hopelessness that calls to mind Chris Ware. Some shocks come suddenly: a deranged daydream, an ominous stranger. More affecting, though, is the way the six stories slowly bleed together, with subtle tensions becoming major themes and small characters muttering the disappointing, revealing sound bites that form the texture of a place. Drnaso’s Middle America is hollow, but he’s an incredible artist.

Picked by Julian in Prospect Lefferts Gardens


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What Does It Mean to Be an Entrepreneur? Cover Image
By Rana DiOrio, Emma D. Dryden, Ken Min (Illustrator)
$15.26
ISBN: 9781939775122
Availability: On Our Shelves Now
Published: Little Pickle Press - January 26th, 2016

This inspiring book asks its reader what it means to be an entrepreneur. It starts off with 'Does it mean making lots of money? No, the book tells us - it does not. But it slowly transitions from the negatives to the positives, which as a small business owner, I can attest are true: being an entrepreneur means asking what if, solving problems, thinking outside of the box, following your dream, saying Yes I Can and moving forward through your fears. The list goes on, and the book itself is a delight.

Picked by Rebecca in Fort Greene


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The Fact of a Doorframe: Selected Poems, 1950-2001 Cover Image
$16.11
ISBN: 9780393323955
Availability: On Our Shelves Now
Published: W. W. Norton & Company - November 17th, 2002

Here is Adrienne Rich. I've carried this book around in my bag until the pages are torn and the cover is rubbed away. I've given this book away with small scraps of paper tucked in as bookmarks with favorite lines written out on them. Here is one: The Fact of the Doorframe "means there is something to hold onto with both hands."

Picked by Jess in Fort Greene


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The Hearing Trumpet Cover Image
By Leonora Carrington, Helen Byatt (Introduction by)
$13.56
ISBN: 9781878972194
Availability: On Our Shelves Now
Published: Exact Change - February 2nd, 2004

This book has everything: a cast of sassy octogenarians, esoteric murder plots, occult machinations, the Holy Grail, witchy rituals of the divine feminine, AND the polar apocalypse. Known primarily as a surrealist painter, Leonora Carrington also possessed a prose style that reads like (early) Agatha Christie taking liberal doses from Lewis Carroll's 'drink me' bottle. This book is pure delight with a good dram of piss and vinegar, and it will charm your pants right off.

Picked by Jarrod in Fort Greene


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Oranges Are Not the Only Fruit Cover Image
$12.75
ISBN: 9780802135162
Availability: On Our Shelves Now
Published: Grove Press - August 20th, 1997

1985 brought us Jeanette Winterson's semi-autobiographic debut novel, in which the protagonist (named Jeanette) is adopted into a strict religious household in northern England. With sharp humor and integrity, Winterson tells the story of a young girl confronting orthodoxy with unorthodoxy and coming into her own against a backdrop that aims to get her to do anything but. Do note Winterson was only 25 when the book was published (!!!). Also, I promise you'll want to read this more than once and share it with your friends.

Picked by Melissa in Prospect Lefferts Gardens


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Preparation for the Next Life Cover Image
$14.41
ISBN: 9780991360826
Availability: On Our Shelves Now
Published: Tyrant Books - November 3rd, 2015

Here is a novel of discarded people--discarded by family, by war, by environment. Of course it's a tragedy, and yet it's also, as Dwight Garner of the New York Times wrote, "the finest and most unsentimental love story of the new decade." That this is Atticus Lish's debut--even considering his notable parentage—is all the more astounding.

Picked by Andrew in Fort Greene


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Exercises in Style Cover Image
By Raymond Queneau, Barbara Wright (Translator)
$14.41
ISBN: 9780811220354
Availability: On Our Shelves Now
Published: New Directions Publishing Corporation - January 31st, 2013

A peevish young man is jostled on a public bus, then receives unsolicited fashion advice from a friend. That's the whole story, but Queneau tells it 179 different ways: backwards, in sonnet form, in cockney slang, in zoological metaphor...this is a book for any adult who grew up loving The Phantom Tollbooth, and perhaps for some precocious kids too.

Picked by Hannah in Prospect Lefferts Gardens

 


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Butcher's Crossing Cover Image
By John Williams, Michelle Latiolais (Introduction by)
$12.71
ISBN: 9781590171981
Availability: On Our Shelves Now
Published: New York Review of Books - January 16th, 2007

Picked by Shauna in Fort Greene

 


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Lies My Teacher Told Me: Everything Your American History Textbook Got Wrong Cover Image
$15.29
ISBN: 9780743296281
Availability: On Our Shelves Now
Published: Touchstone Books - October 16th, 2007

Picked by Dante in Fort Greene

 


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Alice in Puzzle-Land: A Carrollian Tale for Children Under Eighty Cover Image
By Raymond M. Smullyan, Martin Gardner (Introduction by), Greer Fitting (Illustrator)
$11.01
ISBN: 9780486482002
Availability: On Our Shelves Now
Published: Dover Publications - December 8th, 2011

Having put himself through school by being a professional magician, and having been a magical person in his own right, Smullyan knew how to entertain. I grew up with Smullyan pulling coins out of my ear and riddling me questions like the ones in this book. His logic puzzles and whimsy are sure to delight the curious and are sure to exercise every brain.

Picked by Rebecca in Prospect Lefferts Gardens


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The Great Gatsby Cover Image
$13.60
ISBN: 9780743273565
Availability: On Our Shelves Now
Published: Scribner Book Company - October 2004

A perennial favorite and one of the sources of our name, Fitzgerald's masterpiece is always a staff pick at Greenlight Bookstore.