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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.
A wonderful and visually striking tale about the ever evolving relationship between fathers and sons.
Purists, stand down. Wolverine is a woman, and she doesn't care what you think about it.
Mosley has never disappointed with any work he has put out to readers. This time he introduces us to the protagonist Ptolemy Grey, a 91-year old man whom society has forgotten all about. A temporary new lease on life affords him the opportunity to look into the murder of a young relative. If given a temporary reset, could you be Ptolemy Grey?
You will never say "Drinking the Kool-Aid" after reading this book without thinking of the Jim Jones massacre in Jonestown. This fictionalized version is told from the POV of the children who died there as well as from a pet gorilla's. The novel weaves magical realism in with a whole lot of intense history lessons.
Chris Van Allsburg's tale of Monsieur Bibot - a cruel, miserly Parisian dentist who is paid to pull a tooth with magical, dream-granting figs - is considered one of his most significant literary achievements. And that's on top of the enormous success of Jumanji and The Polar Express! So, leave aside the books on ABCs and 123s for another day. They'll get them eventually, I promise you. Pick instead an unusual yarn that will inculcate your little one with good manners, good humor, and an appreciation for the Kafkaesque. And, it's a story you'll both enjoy, together.
On Sept 3rd, 1857, the Central America sunk off the Carolina coast. 400 passengers and 21 tons of California gold vanished into the sea. More than a century later, Tommy, a maverick engineer from Ohio, made it his mission to find the ship and recover its gold. Digging deep into the accounts of the Central America's survivors, victims, and those who worked close with Tommy, Gary Kinder turns this journey of scientific inquiry into a deeply personal read. Tommy would eventually be arrested in 2015 for refusing to pay his investors and crew, but if there's one thing Ship of Gold reveals to us it's that gold can be a blessing and a curse.
Zombies! Baseball! Immigration! The meat packing Industry! What more could a kid want? Real talk though: one of the best books we have ever discussed in Greenlight's Young Reader's Book Club. It was equally enjoyed by myself and a flock of 12 year olds that may now be forever skeptical of American idealism. Sad!
When I first read this I was taken with Perec's cleverness and the magnificent complexity of the story. And many years later I still am. He's created a universe in one apartment block. The craftiness of his architecture, the wit of his allusion - the result is playful but not frivolous.
One of the most lyrical lesser known classics of children's fantasy that is still great to re-read as an adult. The fantasy world that Beagle creates about a unicorn and a failed magician trying to find out if she is indeed the last unicorn is both fully realized and tongue in cheek. This book has also been said to be inspiration for other tongue in cheek fantasies like The Princess Bride.
Reading is a unique conduit to empathy; it allows readers access to another's thoughts and condition, to an interiority that will never be fully yours. As a white man, I will never know what it's like to be black, to be a woman, or to be a black woman, but because of the stories in Drinking Coffee Elsewhere, I now have a better idea of the limits of my understanding. Blurbing this book is easy: It will make you a more humane person.
"This is about friendship, and my tantrum, and how I both was and failed to be a citizen of my time." - page 102
The Chain is one of the best works of investigative journalism I've read in a long time. The book focuses on factory farms in Middle America before branching out to cover immigration, workers' rights, animal welfare, nutrition, and environmental sustainability. Ted Genoways reports from a place where multiple issues intersect and affect one another, and he does so with factual support and compassion for his story and the people within it.
The publisher Two Dollar Radio is known for pushing boundaries, and Haints Stay is no exception. Colin Winnette delivers a biting western in the vein of Jodorowsky's El Topo and Sergio Leone's spaghetti westerns. The result is a surreal, brutal account of two brothers working as contract killers who happen upon an orphaned boy with no history. This narrative involves cannibalism, infanticide, and ritualist murders--not a novel for the faint of heart, but if you're a fan of Brian Evenson or Cormac McCarthy, this acid western is definitely worth the trip.
An ambient meditation on language and place, absence and understanding, the first part of Renee Gladman's Ravicka cycle is a sci-fi prose poem-cum-travelogue. Event Factory concerns a travelling linguist navigating ailing urban sprawl of Ravicka (think Calvino, Samuel R. Delaney and Brian Eno on an urban planning committee), and the mystery of its fleeing inhabitants. In Ravicka, gesture become sound, and every noise constitutes language; to be immersed in the language is to be immersed in the city itself. Imbued with the inherent otherness of travel, Gladman’s sparse, atmospheric prose unfolds a surreal and disorienting narrative that’s inhabited as much as it’s read.
I often have a hard time with fiction considered "experimental," and have thrown across the room more than one book where traditions of plot, structure, and character have been disrespected too much for my taste. I'm secretly proud, therefore, of my deep love for this book, in which the real-life historical anarchists Sacco & Vanzetti (doomed to a death sentence) get their identity tangled up with Abbott & Costello and Rosencrantz & Guildenstern, and have episodic adventures that drift far beyond the likely or even comprehensible. It is fatalistically dark, yet silly, nontraditional in structure, yet somehow easily enjoyed.
Literary genre wiz Victor LaValle is deeply engaged with the legacy of H. P. Lovecraft, one of the 20th century's foundational horror writers. In this reworking of Lovecraft's short story The Horror at Red Hook (yes, Brooklyn's own Red Hook), LaValle takes on the insidious and vile racism present in Lovecraft's work, which turns out to be intertwined with the nasty eldritch forces pushing for the end of the world, in often surprising ways. Read it and be entertained, disturbed, and educated.
If you graduated from college in the mid-00s and can relate to references to Xiu Xiu, Kafka's axe, and returning "Criterion Collection DVDs to the library unwatched," then you will probably love this book like I did. Recommended if you like books like The Ask, Book of Numbers, and The Sellout.
Meet Kamala Khan. She's a 16-year-old, Pakistani-American, Muslim teenager from Jersey City. She's also a superhero. These are her first adventures: discovering and learning how to control her weird superpowers, protecting Jersey City when no one else will, all while sort of being grounded by her strict parents. Read as Kamala comes to terms with who she really is, both human and... otherwise, because in her case, "dual identity" takes on multiple meanings.
San Francisco, 1968-1977. The International Hotel on the corner of Kearney and Jackson is the epicenter of not only this book but also what's known as the Yellow Power movement. But this umbrella term, as Yamashita illustrates over the 10 novellas (one for each year) that make up I Hotel, doesn't do justice to the complexities, similarities, and differences with which each ethnic group and each individual deals. A political powderkeg of a novel, at turns explosive and poignant, and altogether a triumphant effort.
A perennial favorite and one of the sources of our name, Fitzgerald's masterpiece is always a staff pick at Greenlight Bookstore.