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 January 22, 2019.


 

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Proxies: Essays Near Knowing Cover Image
$13.56
ISBN: 9781937658458
Availability: On Our Shelves Now
Published: Nightboat Books - April 7th, 2016

 

Blanchfield writes single-subject essays from memory (no internet usage here!), remembering and misremembering, on things like tumbleweeds, peripersonal space, containment, and house-sitting. He’s playing with Barthes’s concept of “idiorhythmy,” or the individual and the community, and reminds us to consider our selves — exterior and interior — as mirrored in perceptual patterns around us. If that’s not enough to convince you, read the blurbs by Maggie Nelson and Claudia Rankine. These essays are blunt, brief, driving, and devastating. 

Picked by D in Fort Greene


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Finite and Infinite Games Cover Image
$12.75
ISBN: 9781476731711
Availability: On Our Shelves Now
Published: Free Press - January 5th, 2013

 

In a place and time that too often feels obsessed with winners and losers, heroes and villains, tragic outcomes and happy endings, here is an idea for a different kind of play. More metaphysical meditation than philosophical treatise (I’m not much of a philosophy buff and would recommend this to other non-philosophers), Finite and Infinite Games is, really, just another perspective, another way of framing. What I like about this frame is its openness, its lean toward improvisation, and its sense for listening (communication is required for play!). Change the rules. The rules are changing. Change to keep up the game. Play on! Play on! Play on!

Picked by Niko in Prospect Lefferts Gardens


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Then We Came to the End: A Novel Cover Image
$12.75
ISBN: 9780316016391
Availability: On Our Shelves Now
Published: Back Bay Books - February 26th, 2008

 

Before my life began as a bookseller, I worked in an office. I can attest that Ferris has distilled something unexpected from the plain potatoes of office culture and bottled it here like happy-hour vodka. Then We Came to the End plucks the lid off the office of a downsizing ad agency to show us those inside scrambling to protect their monotonous existences. From its top-down view, in a voice omniscient and excruciatingly gossipy (first-person plural narration, anyone?), the story summons something so unique from the materials of the mundane. Prior office experience not needed to apply.

Picked by Austin in Prospect Lefferts Gardens


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Well Cover Image
$11.01
ISBN: 9781559362535
Availability: On Our Shelves Now
Published: Theatre Communications Group - May 1st, 2006

When I first picked up this play, I wasn’t sure what to expect. I thought perhaps it would be just as convoluted as every other metatheatrical piece I’ve ever experienced—but instead what I found was a wonderfully self-aware, hilarious, and poignant story that I couldn’t put down. With a fragile mother-daughter relationship driving the show, there are bound to be mishaps, and the result is an entirely exposed discussion of family, empathy, and what it truly means to be well.

Picked by Rose in Fort Greene


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Question Bridge: Black Males in America Cover Image
By Deborah Willis (Editor), Natasha Logan (Editor), Andrew Young (Introduction by)
$25.46
ISBN: 9781597113359
Availability: On Our Shelves Now
Published: Aperture - October 27th, 2015

This is a photo essay collection that asks carefully curated questions, from the knee slapping hilarious to family fight inducing, of black men around the country in a post civil rights era. This book challenges stereotypes and illicit empathy of being a black man in this country.

Picked by Dante in Fort Greene


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Moon: A Peek-Through Picture Book Cover Image
$14.44
ISBN: 9781524769666
Availability: On Our Shelves Now
Published: Doubleday Books for Young Readers - February 20th, 2018

I can't resist a book with gorgeous composition and the reminder that Earth is a network of life forms. With cutout phases of the moon and rhyming couplets, Moon swiftly became one of my favorites. The moon waxes and wanes as creatures around the world celebrate nighttime, making this the perfect goodnight book for a curious mind.

Picked by Nora in Fort Greene 


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The Time Traveler's Wife Cover Image
$15.30
ISBN: 9781476764832
Availability: On Our Shelves Now
Published: Scribner - May 6th, 2014

Audrey Niffenegger masterfully plays with time, space, and the bounds of human relationships in a novel that is fantastical, but reads more like realistic literary fiction. Although in real time the couple are only 8 years apart in age, Henry and Clare’s relationship is anything but linear due to Henry’s mysterious “chronological impairment.” The couple are brought together because of this characteristic, and then repeatedly forced apart by it as well, creating moments both humorous and devastating. Do not be turned away by the seemingly confusing premise (or the reputation of the movie!): this Odyssey-esque novel is stunning and will keep you riveted throughout.

Picked by Sophie in Fort Greene


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The Vast Fields of Ordinary Cover Image
$7.64
ISBN: 9780142418208
Availability: On Our Shelves Now
Published: Speak - March 17th, 2011

Fans of Simon vs. The Homo Sapiens Agenda, I proffer you this gem of a book, dusted off from when I first read it years ago during a transitional summer of my own. One of the rare coming-of-age stories that takes place not in high school (we meet our narrator at the start of summer following his graduation), and draws from "rom-coms" and "coming out" stories without getting stuck in their sappier conventions, TVFOO is expertly woven with Nick Burd's vivid prose and brings us a main character both complicated and instantly recognizable. This one's for those who need a reminder that the world is ultimately vast, and that we never run out of room to be who we are. 

Picked by Austin in Prospect Lefferts Gardens


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Backlash: The Undeclared War Against American Women Cover Image
$13.59
ISBN: 9780307345424
Availability: On Our Shelves Now
Published: Broadway Books - August 15th, 2006

Though the 1970s saw great gains for American women, Backlash focuses instead on the 1980s, a decade revealed through Faludi's reporting as fraught with subtle anti-feminist agitprop and an escalating culture war that enlisted consumerism, mass media, and politics to warp the message of feminism and roll back the gains earned by 1970s activism. The work suggests that those unwilling to learn from feminist history will stumble blindly through its darkest chapters. No less relevant in our own time, Backlash persists as one of the most essential pieces of journalism for understanding the importance of the women's movement in America.

Picked by Austin in Prospect Lefferts Gardens


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Revolutionary Road (Vintage Contemporaries) Cover Image
$14.41
ISBN: 9780375708442
Availability: On Our Shelves Now
Published: Vintage - April 25th, 2000

 

Richard Yates' 1961 classic is so much more than the on-screen reunion of Leo and Kate. April and Frank Wheeler are suburban perfection, a middle-class family who seems to have it all but fumble for more. Yates writes with heartbreaking clarity about identity, familial roles and dreams just out of reach. The truth revealed and the suspense created linger long after the last page.

Picked by Wynne in Prospect Lefferts Gardens


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Ronia, the Robber's Daughter Cover Image
By Astrid Lindgren, Patricia Crampton (Translated by)
$5.94
ISBN: 9780140317206
Availability: On Our Shelves Now
Published: Puffin Books - February 5th, 1985

Ronia is clever and fast on her feet. She climbs sheer rock cliffs to practice not being afraid. She knows her heart and how to stand by it. As much a tale of childhood adventures, it’s a story about families—those we’re born to, those we choose, and making our place among them. I admit nostalgia: Mom read us Ronia’s story when we were small. A few decades later it is still a delight. Recommended for young folks 9-13 years old. Great for folks of any age. Especially good shared and read aloud. Watch out for harpies, yell for spring!

Picked by Niko in Prospect Lefferts Gardens


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Hawkeye - Volume 1: My Life As A Weapon (Marvel Now) Cover Image
By Matt Fraction (Text by), David Aja (Illustrator), Javier Pulido (Illustrator)
$14.44
ISBN: 9780785165620
Availability: On Our Shelves Now
Published: Marvel - March 19th, 2013

 

A superhero comic for superhero fans and non-superhero fans alike. What happens when Clint Barton, the Avenger known as Hawkeye, is put in charge of an apartment building in Brooklyn? It seems like bad luck seems to follow him wherever he goes. If it weren't for his dog Lucky and protege extraordinaire Kate, he'd be in worse shape than his heavily-bandaged face already lets on. Witty dialogue, wonderful artwork - this comic has something for everyone. 

Picked by Geo in Prospect Lefferts Gardens


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Bandette Volume 1: Presto! Cover Image
$12.74
ISBN: 9781616552794
Availability: On Our Shelves Now
Published: Dark Horse Books - November 5th, 2013

Bandette possesses all the charm and skill that makes her the self-proclaimed world's greatest thief. Imagine if Audrey Hepburn was ever cast as Catwoman, or if Amelie knew karate. Sure, she steals things, but in a Robin Hood kind of way. Except she keeps some things for herself and her loyal gang of urchins when she deems it appropriate. Paul Tobin's playful characters are rendered in Colleen Coover's beautiful watercolor style, homaging the French and Belgian comics of the past.

Picked by Geo in Prospect Lefferts Gardens


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Trash Cover Image
$12.75
ISBN: 9780452283510
Availability: On Our Shelves Now
Published: Penguin Books - September 24th, 2002

 

The stories found in Trash aren't for the timid reader—they chronicle the realities of extreme poverty as experienced in the South with inventive, engaging and graphic language, especially exploring hardships surrounding women and themes of survival. This book, particularly the story "River of Names," is arresting, wrenching and filled with as many accounts of love as horror. Trash is for readers who seek stories that will cut deep.

Picked by Kathryn in Fort Greene


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Slow Days, Fast Company: The World, The Flesh, and L.A. Cover Image
By Eve Babitz, Matthew Specktor (Introduction by)
$13.56
ISBN: 9781681370088
Availability: On Our Shelves Now
Published: NYRB Classics - August 30th, 2016

In the back of my mind, I thought, Anytime I want, I can forsake this dinner party and jump into real life.

 

Eve Babitz's life is a dinner party, but you can't hate her for it: she curates it perfectly and offers up each dish with wit and compassion. The backdrop is her glamorous, incomparable LA. She weaves her ideas into sensual yet hilarious portraits It's easy to float in and out of Eve's tipsy, extravagant world. 

Picked by Lily in Fort Greene


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Octavia's Brood: Science Fiction Stories from Social Justice Movements Cover Image
By Walidah Imarisha (Editor), Adrienne Maree Brown (Editor), Sheree Renee Thomas (Foreword by)
$15.30
ISBN: 9781849352093
Availability: On Our Shelves Now
Published: AK Press - April 7th, 2015

 

In this vibrant anthology inspired by Octavia Butler, editors adrienne maree brown and Walidah Imarisha make it boldly clear that envisioning worlds free of injustice is itself a revolutionary act of speculative fiction. They banded together writers, journalists, and community activists to create a collection centering marginalized folks at the intersections of race, class, gender, sexuality, and ability that is nourishing. These snapshots of apocalyptic futurescapes and fantastical regimes with people of color spotlighted as the heroes at every turn never shy away from the realities that POC inhabit on a daily basis – oppression, resistance, and radical imagination. 

Picked by Sherina in Fort Greene


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Gentlemen of the Road: A Tale of Adventure [title page only] Cover Image
$12.75
ISBN: 9780345502070
Availability: On Our Shelves Now
Published: Del Rey - September 30th, 2008

Michael Chabon says he originally wanted to call this adventure story Jews With Swords—set in medieval Europe, it draws from little-known Jewish history and legends, as well as the grand tradition of swashbuckling tales from Dumas to comic books.  It's an irresistibly charming miniature epic, with larger-than-life characters, hilarious tight scrapes and desperate pitched battles galore, and just enough of a love story to leave one filled with longing.  It's Chabon at his best, an explosion of brilliant sentences and pure joy in storytelling, that also manages to engage with the long history of both antisemitism and Jewish creativity.

Picked by Jessica in Fort Greene


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I Am Sorry to Think I Have Raised a Timid Son Cover Image
$13.60
ISBN: 9780804170444
Availability: On Our Shelves Now
Published: Vintage - February 9th, 2016

Each essay in this book is a wild ride, but when woven together they make a unique memoir of one man and his relationship with his father. Through the strange tales of others—including a disconcerting, up-close-and-personal look at a gathering of Juggalos (a subculture composed of fans of the Insane Clown Posse) and a man who is attempting to make himself immune to poison by seeking out bites from increasingly deadly snakes—this book is a hilarious and vulnerable exploration of the culture of masculinity in America, and the way it creates divides between men, the people they love, and quite often, themselves.

Picked by Katie in Fort Greene


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Rat Queens Volume 1: Sass & Sorcery Cover Image
$8.49
ISBN: 9781607069454
Availability: On Our Shelves Now
Published: Image Comics - April 8th, 2014

This rowdy crew is made up of crude and crass monster-slayers-for-hire, who get as much thrill from decapitating an evil dragon as a one-night-stand after a night of heavy drinking. For the Rat Queens, that oftentimes happens all in a row (with variations on order). Whatever (mis)adventures the Rat Queens have, they’re always entertaining. In short, Rat Queens is Lumberjanes for adults. 

Picked by Geo in Prospect Lefferts Gardens


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News of the World: A Novel Cover Image
$13.59
ISBN: 9780062409218
Availability: On Our Shelves Now
Published: William Morrow Paperbacks - June 20th, 2017

At a time when many of us are questioning the contrived boundaries of masculinity, it’s a joy to get to know Jiles’s protagonist Captain Kidd, who is as hard-bitten as the classic heroes of the Western genre without sacrificing an ounce of compassion. I was touched by his frank affection for fierce little ten-year-old Johanna, who was taken from her white family years ago and raised by the Kiowa. Unprepared and unwilling to rejoin the world of forks and corsets, she proves to be a resourceful little hellion, and a wicked shot to boot. Kidd and Johanna make a delightful team, and I left feeling refreshed.

Picked by Sarah in Fort Greene


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Son (Giver Quartet #4) Cover Image
$8.49
ISBN: 9780544336254
Availability: On Our Shelves Now
Published: HMH Books for Young Readers - May 6th, 2014

Little-known fact: Lowry's revered YA novel The Giver is actually the first of a quartet. All are worth reading, since Lowry expands on the weird biome she's created and the communities that try to thrive in it. Yet there is a special sense of closure—and a revisit to that feeling of creeping irony—in this fourth and final chapter, which tells the story of Claire, the young woman who gave birth to Gabriel. (And nah, as enjoyable as they are, you don't need to read the middle two to understand what's happening in this one.) 

Picked by Emily in Fort Greene


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Autobiography Cover Image
By Benvenuto Cellini, George Bull (Translated by), George Bull (Introduction by), George Bull (Notes by)
$14.45
ISBN: 9780140447187
Availability: On Our Shelves Now
Published: Penguin Classics - November 1st, 1999

If you are a student of artist history, recently read Walter Isaacson's best-selling Leonardo Da Vinci, or are a Caravaggio cognoscente, you should pick up this artist's first-person account of Renaissance Italy. With an easy directness, Cellini--a Florentine goldsmith born in 1500--describes a city where diversity was valued and a time when Liberal Arts scholarship was a life's purpose. On any given day, there's also violence and murder, love and unguarded sexuality. Unlike da Vinci and Caravaggio, Cellini shares the struggle of his creative process through one of the most important autobiographies in the Western canon.

Picked by Heather M. in Prospect Lefferts Gardens


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The Great Gatsby Cover Image
$14.45
ISBN: 9780743273565
Availability: On Our Shelves Now
Published: Scribner - September 30th, 2004

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


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