|Find Greenlight on:|
Greenlight Staff Picks are 15% off!
All of the booksellers on the Greenlight Bookstore staff read widely, and each periodically recommends 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.
Sphinx by Anne Garréta is a slender novel that tells the tale of two lovers in Paris. Its setting is not the literary Paris that comes to mind: cafes filled with artists and intellectuals, evening strolls through wide boulevards. Sphinx takes place in after-hours clubs and cabarets—the underbelly of Paris. This is a genderless love story between DJ and dancer, between the narrator and A***. The pages pulse and will keep you fingering the edge of the page well into the night. Moreover, Garréta pushes the Oulipian project beyond merely playing with language into the political realm without losing any literary finesse.
Some people talk about writers' writers; well, Sergio Pitol is a reader's reader. Pitol is like a sponge - absorbing books, architecture, art, and travel - soaking up an ocean of experience where and no drop goes to waste. And his sponginess is infectious too - before I could bring myself to finish the first installment of his memoir trilogy, I was compelled to read Conrad, Bulgakov, Chekhov and more. Though originally from Mexico, Pitol spent much of his life abroad in Europe as a diplomat and translator (two sides of the same coin I like to think). When asked how it feels to be an ex-pat, Pitol gives the best possible answer: "Language is my homeland."
Armchair travelers, adventure lovers, history buffs, and fans of badass women will love this book. Joanne Wilke recounts the true story of her grandmother's 1924 road trip across the American west, when many roads were unpaved and most towns had campgrounds instead of motels, while retelling her own personal memories of summers spent in Iowa. While this book will definitely make you want to pack up your belongings and turn things you've never seen before into memories, it will also make you look backward to the places you've come from.
A word of caution: if you are reading this book on the subway, you will want to make sure no one is looking over your shoulder (unless you are seriously flirting with them). It is extremely dirty, in every way you can imagine -- for better or worse. Gutierrez's writing is powerful and intelligent, irreverent and debauched; sometimes you're not sure if you even like him (as author or character), but he's never less than fiercely, hysterically compelling. As US relations with Cuba are changing, it might be a good time for this fascinating half-fictionalized look at Cuban culture under Castro -- for better or worse.
One thing I know for sure is you should pick up this copy of Two or Three Things I Know for Sure because you want something powerful, something short and quick because you are a busy person, but something that very easily reaches into the depth of your being.
Matvei Yankelevich is one of the topographers of our present moment. He deconstructs the ordinary into its extra-ordinary components and maps entire worlds housed therein. In Some Worlds for Dr. Vogt, he amplifies the cosmologies contained in the small moments of our everyday silences so we can listen closer to them.
Random Family is an essential book for anyone who likes documentaries and has sustained its popularity since the time it was published. LeBlanc spent ten years following the love and desire of two women in the Bronx, watching how their families delved into the darker corners of life, but how family sustains life whether they're you biological or chosen family.
This looks like a beautiful and charming picture book from the creator of Little Critter. But it's secretly a sly encouragement to distrust the bluster of authority figures, and give the most honor and kindness to those who seem the most powerless. Because you really never know who is actually a dragon.
An archipelago of tales about the Azores archipelago published by Archipelago, weaving together themes of whales and whalers. Meditative and haunting, concerned with loss - lost time, forgotten generations, dissolved relationships. Sounds pretty bleak, but that's not my lasting impression. Tabucchi blazes through entire lives in these strange, precise stories, somehow balancing knife-twisting emotional moments with antiquated whaling regulations and excerpts from Moby Dick.
Reading a book of Edson's poetry is like looking into a shadowbox full of exotic snails with koans carved into their shells. Each of these prose-poems is it own contained universe. They exist by themselves, and only by themselves, for us to observe their habits. They live together in a book so they don't get lonely. Edson practiced the basic language of wonder, and his is some of the most taught and unusual writing I've ever encountered.
Hannah’s language is audacious, dark and exhilarating. His presence on the page is bracing, comparable only to his contemporary Denis Johnson and his predecessors Faulkner and Flannery O’Connor. With a wrought eye for the flawed human soul and the exceptional hidden in banal experience, Hannah’s sentences carry us into something that lies far beyond the stories themselves.
I’m not sure which came first: my love of animals or my love of this book. The many animals I met here (who are based on residents of the authors’ real-life farm) remain some of my favorite characters in all of literature: Lucky the imperfect pony, Old Eleven the best sheep, and Max the cat, who "is not very clever with his claws." These animals don’t talk or act like people or do anything other than be animals, which is what makes this book both hilarious and moving. It’s all about the animals and their hijinks, but it also introduces young readers to very human themes—growth, empathy, even death—without a trace of condescension or melodrama. My first favorite book, and one I still return to.
A fevered love song to and in the name of Venus of Wilendorf, a 30,000-year-old figurine and force of a woman. Swan Feast is an indictment challenging all and any morally bankrupt power and civilization. Riding a pristine wave of rage and anguish each poem promises that every Goddess has her day to decide to be no one’s mule. Generous, self-sufficient, and wild, each poem is brimming with clarity and devoid of mercy. In other words, fools beware. Run for cover. Buy this book.
When more than a dozen whales beach themselves on the shores of the Bahamas over the course of a single March day in 2000, marine researcher Ken Balcomb knows that something unusual has happened. What he finds out is shocking: a classified Navy sound experiment threatening the lives of underwater animals in the area. The rest of the book takes you through a labyrinth of government red tape and secrecy, following a cast of characters with motives both personal and political.
Zaroodle badooble karoodle froodle, fa shoozle.
This book occupies the space where wacky hijinks mutate into actual bad news: slapstick falls mean broken legs, cute gibberish means missing teeth, comic misunderstandings mean rejection, isolation, prison. Borb should maybe have a warning label, though it's not like it's something we don't see every day: he's just another homeless guy, made strange by his occupancy of a Little Rascals style comic strip. Cartoonist Jason Little is a master of carnivalesque panels that belie the bleakest humor; you can't help but admire his willingness to show us what we are often unwilling to see.
A perennial favorite and one of the sources of our name, Fitzgerald's masterpiece is always a staff pick at Greenlight Bookstore.