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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.
This book is not about birds. It is about a monster that no one can see, and it is brilliant. Josh Malerman has taken the horror stories we love, unraveled them, and woven something else, something new and truly gripping. You'll read it in one night, under the covers, with a flashlight and an open mouth.
I remember when this book first came out. I remember how striking and powerful the combination of Angelou's poetry was with Basquiat's drawings. When I heard that Maya Angelou passed away in 2014, the first thing I did was pull this book off the shelf and reread it. It's just as powerful and resonant as it was when it first came out in 1993, and it speaks in a special way to children about fear and bravery and being small in a big big world.
My grandmother's name was Helen, and she was born in Troy (I was too but I'm not a Helen so that's neither here nor there). Each Helen poem is worthy of Ancient Greece... or Upstate New York.
I was surprised (perhaps, even--dismayed? incredulous?) to discover that this lyrical novel of Burma in the late 1800s was written by a 26-year-old med student out of San Francisco. No two worlds could be more opposite. If you have more curiosity about the former than the latter; if you loved Heart of Darkness; if you hated Heart of Darkness; if you wish you were a time traveler; if you want to know what happened to a very old piano shipped to the farthest edge of the British Empire--this is the book for you.
Think of Robin Hood. Take away the comfy mythical English setting, and replace with a rich and dusty corner of the real world, with all too familiar traditions of corruption and exploitation. Imagine the bandit king starts out as just an angry, rebellious young man. Imagine why and how someone like that might become a hero of the people, and what messy sacrifices that must entail. Yashar Kemal (1923 – 2015), himself a populist rabble-rouser, created in Memed and his world something bewilderingly authentic that hurts as well as heals.
Baker's thoughts bleed so subtly that I'd turn back in the book and be shocked to discover how his tone had changed. His devotion (madness?) results in some intensely memorable descriptions of both physical nature and the emotions of his birds. I found myself reading with two minds: fascinated as an outsider tracing his obsessive spiral, but totally absorbed by his hypnotic, immersive routine. Beautiful, misanthropic, and often brutal nature writing that forces you to go outside.
If you read this book and don't fall in love with it, find me and defend yourself.
Maggie Nelson isn’t just writing about the color blue, she’s writing about depression and loneliness and how to let go of a lover. Does this sound cliché? It’s not, I promise you. She talks about other writers writing about blue. Failed grant applications. Blue items she finds on the ground. Blue items her friends mail to her. Friends she calls her Blue Correspondents. This book brings you love, a lifting of your loneliness. Maybe that sounds cliché. It’s not, I promise you.
My next installment in Annie's Greatest Unreliable Narrators series. David loves his wife, Franny. Franny seems to be missing, or maybe dead. He keeps remembering something... and this detective keeps asking him questions... and then there are the threats in the sugar bag under a stone by the mailbox: "I WILL CROSS-STITCH AN IMAGE OF YOUR FUTURE HOME BURNING. I WILL HANG THIS IMAGE OVER YOUR BED WHILE YOU SLEEP." Who are the threats from? Who are they to? For those who have been diligently purchasing EVERY book I recommend, a bonus question: What other book in the A.G.U.N. series features extended time at laundromats?
Edan Lepucki's short novella is a vicious character study of.... Honestly, people, I only choose the book because of its cover. I'm really not that deep, ladies and gentlemen. T.S. Eliot I am not.... But truthfully this novella is a brutally funny and cringe worthy depiction of what a relationship can turn into if it isn't done for the right reasons.
Part literary scholarship, part memoir, Kate Zambreno's Heroines explores the forgotten or oft-misremembered diaries, letters, and memoirs of literary wives, lovers, and artists from the modernist age. While freeing Jane Bowles, Zelda Fitzgerald, Virginia Woolf, and co. from the silence placed upon their work by their male contemporaries, Zambreno, perhaps to her surprise, must face this same silencing when she starts an impassioned blog on the subject.
So you've read A People's History of the United States and naturally, you want more! Become a total Zinn fan and read this phenomenal set of personal essays that reflects on the events that led him to become both a writer and a maker of history. Written in Zinn's signature style that ignites passion, curiosity, and frustration within readers, he offers intimate reflections on some of America's most volatile years and will make you question what it actually looks like to participate in a democracy.
These are the most beautiful Wintery stories I've had the pleasure of reading. She's a master of the art of building a place and the places she builds are sad and beautiful. Just pick it up and read the first story and you'll see what I mean.
Reading Galeano always feels like tapping into a memory with the compassion and romantic flair cranked way up. Embraces is especially personal; stories of his own life bounce off those of others, finding a way to cope with certain parts of history and celebrate what's usually forgotten. His crazy illustrations perfectly capture all the dissonance and absurdity that often comes with looking back at the world.
When proposed with the idea of being Godfather to his close friends new born baby girl, our protagonist Will Freeman tells them, and I'm paraphrasing, "You know me. I'll drop her at her christening. I'll forget her birthdays until her 18th, when I'll take her out and get her drunk...and possibly, let's face it, you know, try and shag her. I mean, seriously, it's a very, very bad choice." This is just a sampling of the sort of creation we are dealing with in the maestro Nick Hornby's tale of growing up when you're already in your mid-thirties.
For those still feeling hungry after Suzanne Collins' epic trilogy exploded through their lives, may I suggest plunging into the world of Eden and the Badlands, where a heroine even more conflicted than Katniss Everdeen navigates a dystopia even more disturbingly familiar. A ravaged landscape of poverty with one (walled) oasis of plenty, a gang of scrappy eco-terrorist teenagers pitted against an intractable system, an extremely human android (or two) who might or might not be able to overcome their programming, and some swooningly convincing romantic moments make this an addicting and often surprising read -- and like Collins' tale of economic inequality, it's a book whose extreme readability belies some serious ideas just beneath the surface.
A perennial favorite and one of the sources of our name, Fitzgerald's masterpiece is always a staff pick at Greenlight Bookstore.