Staff Picks

The staff of Greenlight Bookstore (and our sister store Yours Truly, Brooklyn) read widely and passionately, and love to recommend books they've especially enjoyed!  You can peruse and purchase current staff picks from the list below.


We Have Always Lived in the Castle: (Penguin Classics Deluxe Edition) Cover Image
By Shirley Jackson, Jonathan Lethem (Afterword by), Thomas Ott (Illustrator)
ISBN: 9780143039976
Availability: Available In Store Now (while supplies last)
Published: Penguin Classics - October 31st, 2006

This chilling story by horror icon Shirley Jackson is about two sisters navigating a disruption to their extremely private life when an unfavorable guest arrives. Following the mysterious deaths of most of their family members, village outsiders Merricat, Constance and Uncle Julian live in secrecy in their once majestic mansion. The appearance of cousin Charles instigates an upheaval of the carefully crafted reality the trio have been living in. I love this story because of the deeply personal and nuanced relationship the sisters have. The sisters’ bondage is unhealthy, but this is a horror story so the author leads us to feel compassion for the sisters rather than judgement. Topics like agoraphobia, mob mentality and ritual make this story poignant to the isolation and unrest we have experienced as of late. 

- Emilie

Say Say Say: A novel Cover Image
ISBN: 9780525565529
Availability: Available In Store Now (while supplies last)
Published: Vintage - June 16th, 2020

Lila Savage drew on her decade of experience as a caregiver for her fantastic debut novel Say Say Say. This is a warm and empathetic book with a well-drawn interiority for its millennial caregiver protagonist Ella. It's a procedural but for emotional labor, the kind of book where the decision whether or not to read the newspaper at work can be gripping and relatable.

- Matt

Rebellious Mourning: The Collective Work of Grief Cover Image
By Cindy Milstein (Editor)
ISBN: 9781849352840
Availability: Available In Store Now (while supplies last)
Published: AK Press - September 19th, 2017

This collection of essays from AK Press brandishes grief as a weapon of healing and communication. It gives the reader an insight to latch onto, making us realize grief as we all know can be nasty and sometimes it shows the worse of human instincts, but if you embrace it and mold it into something life affirming, the chain reaction can be a wonderful stroke of positivity. 

- Dante

Lanark: A Life in Four Books (Canons #1) Cover Image
By Alasdair Gray, William Boyd (Introduction by)
ISBN: 9781782117148
Availability: Available In Store Now (while supplies last)
Published: Canongate Books - October 3rd, 2017

Lanark: A Life in Four Books follows a protagonist on a disorienting journey through his life and rebirth, as he navigates unfamiliar landscapes and bizarre encounters with the people around him. It weaves surrealist, fantastic, and dystopian threads into a story that is confusing, compelling, and provocative. If you are looking for a weird escape, this book is for you.

- Mei

I Know Why the Caged Bird Sings Cover Image
By Maya Angelou, Oprah Winfrey (Foreword by)
ISBN: 9780812980028
Availability: Available In Store Now (while supplies last)
Published: Random House Trade Paperbacks - April 21st, 2009

I'd only heard of I Know Why the Caged Bird Sings through the ether of what I feel is a greater, shared black experience. I had written a lyric using the title of the book with hopes of expressing the feeling of being trapped in ones environment or cage, and singing a song of release or freedom. But having never read the book I felt it wasn't right to use the metaphor. I picked up this book and couldn't put it down from start to finish. Maya Angelou writes in a way that not only invites you in to her happiness as a black woman, but also her trauma, regrets, her fears and her contentment. This book gave me a feeling of reconciliation and joy. 

- Malachi

The Heavens Cover Image
ISBN: 9780802147974
Availability: Available In Store Now (while supplies last)
Published: Grove Press - November 19th, 2019

If you ever have the uncanny sensation that there must have been a better version of this timeline that's just slipped out of sight, read this book. Or, read it for Newman's immersive, viscerally true scene-making, from the group dynamics of a Manhattan rooftop party in the 2000s to the physical sensations of waking up in an Elizabethan-era bedroom. Or for an exploration of the slippery interface between mental illness and an irrational reality. Or if you just love a page-turner. Who knows what consequences your choice will have?

- Jessica

Blessing the Boats: New and Selected Poems 1988-2000 (American Poets Continuum #59) Cover Image
ISBN: 9781880238882
Availability: Available In Store Now (while supplies last)
Published: BOA Editions - April 1st, 2000

- Sam Park

Laura Dean Keeps Breaking Up with Me Cover Image
ISBN: 9781626722590
Availability: Available In Store Now (while supplies last)
Published: First Second - May 7th, 2019

Laura Dean Keeps Breaking Up With Me is one of the best graphic novels of the last decade. Mariko Tamaki and Rosemary Valero-O'Connell beautifully capture how it feels to be a teenager and tackle difficult topics with incredible grace. It's hard to walk away from toxic relationships. It's hard to prioritize friends when you feel like you're drowning in your own heartbreak. But here, Tamaki and Valero-O'Connell remind us that both are possible, through a truly stunning story with characters we want to root for and art that breathes life into each page.

- Sam Puc

Emergency Monster Squad Cover Image
By Dave Horowitz, Dave Horowitz (Illustrator)
ISBN: 9780399548505
Availability: Available In Store Now (while supplies last)
Published: Nancy Paulsen Books - August 25th, 2020

Bright colors, creepy creatures and fright delights are mixed into this fun for all ages story. In the "Emergency Monster Squad" real-life paramedic Dave Horowitz takes us for a spin in the "Am-boo-lance" and spreads gratitude for the hard work of EMS teams. A fun read with health consciousness rolled right in, this book is great for lovers of Blair Thornburgh's "Skulls!" and other things that go bump in the night.

- Jackie

In at the Deep End Cover Image
ISBN: 9780358299592
Availability: Available In Store Now (while supplies last)
Published: Mariner Books - May 26th, 2020

You know when a book ends but you want to keeping flipping the pages, not quite ready to get off the ride? That's In at the Deep End for you. Kate Davies will take you on nothing short of an exhilarating ride and she'll makes no apologizes for it. Poor Julia stumbling through her self-proclaimed and newly minted "lesbian life" is the perfect remedy for readers who wanted The Pisces to be an extra 200 pages. At its core this book is an examination of the wetland between self-discovery and self-assurance, teeming with risqué sex parties, love and things that look like it, and wit! It's everything you need from a rom-com, in book form.

- Ikwo

The Cancer Journals Cover Image
By Audre Lorde, Tracy K. Smith (Foreword by)
ISBN: 9780143135203
Availability: Available In Store Now (while supplies last)
Published: Penguin Classics - October 13th, 2020

Our world often dismisses the pain of Black women. In The Cancer Journals, poet Audre Lorde offers a critical meditation on her mortality. I left with the unexpected aspects of her grief: playful sensuality, disorienting fear, and radical body acceptance. She reminds us that in our deepest moments of despair, we are not alone.

- Regina

Queer, There, and Everywhere: 23 People Who Changed the World Cover Image
By Sarah Prager, Zoe More O'Ferrall (Illustrator)
ISBN: 9780062474322
Availability: Available In Store Now (while supplies last)
Published: HarperCollins - May 29th, 2018

LGBTQ history is not taught in the classroom. The queer community has had to excavate the artifacts of lives lived in the shadows of society ourselves. With an infinitely readable compendium like this, Prager has granted us access to a history - our history. From profiles of high figure leaders to little known trailblazers across eras & continents, we receive a most satisfying education - that we have always been here. And we are no longer in the shadows. (Fun fact: I narrated this book for the Library of Congress!)

- K.

Anatomy of a Murder Cover Image
ISBN: 9780312033569
Availability: Available In Store Now (while supplies last)
Published: St. Martin's Griffin - March 15th, 1983

An innocent woman brutally violated at the hands of a local womanizer; or was she? An enraged soldier whose actions were justified to defend his wife’s virtue; or were they? A selfless lawyer whose only stake in a controversial case was the cause of Justice; or was it? One of the most provocative legal thrillers of its time is a well written page turner and a fascinating exploration of the triumphs and failings of the American Legal System.

- Mustafa

A Map of Home: A Novel Cover Image
ISBN: 9780143116264
Availability: Available In Store Now (while supplies last)
Published: Penguin Books - August 25th, 2009

A Map of Home follows the coming-of-age of Nidali, a queer Middle Eastern child/teen/woman, equal parts funny and tender, growing up under the weight of her family's history of exile and loss. Jarrar manages to capture the universal exploration of family, puberty, sexuality and identity while anchoring the reader in turbulent Kuwait [then Egypt, then the US]. I was so grateful to find bits of my own family and feelings of inherited loss in Jarrar's somewhat-autiobiographical novel. For readers who love a coming-of-age story, but want to leave the rich, white, Brooklynite behind.

- Shanni

Bright Dead Things: Poems Cover Image
ISBN: 9781571314710
Availability: Available In Store Now (while supplies last)
Published: Milkweed Editions - September 15th, 2015

Reading Limon’s poetry always reminds me, in the most lovely way, of the quote “I tell you this to break your heart [...] that it break open and never close again to the rest of the world.” Limon moves through so much landscape, both physical and emotional - from grief and loss, to love, finding ones place in the world, and the sweet wonders it has to offer. I cannot tell you how often the line “I want to try and be terrific, even for an hour” rings in my ears like quiet prayer. And to top it all off, reading the last line of the last poem always brings me to tears: “Say you’d still want this: us alive, right here, feeling lucky.”

Bootycandy Cover Image
ISBN: 9780573703980
Availability: Available In Store Now (while supplies last)
Published: Samuel French, Inc. - December 31st, 2014

Bootycandy is structured as a series of vignettes, but is centered on the character of Sutter, growing up and discovering the world around him in relation to his sexuality. Each scene explores various scenarios of African-American life, from a phone conversation, to a lesbian wedding gone wrong and a playwriting conference where demands are asked of the audience. If you are looking for something to make you kiki, cry, and gut-punch you with emotion then this is the play for you. O'Hara's writing is magnificent; the way he plays with style and structure in this piece is utter genius.

- Karl

The Prince and the Dressmaker Cover Image
ISBN: 9781626723634
Availability: Available In Store Now (while supplies last)
Published: First Second - February 13th, 2018

Back when I used to host the young reader's book group here at Greenlight, The Prince and the Dressmaker was a crowd favorite. It's filled with gorgeously illustrated fashion, features a sweet friendship-to-romance story, and kicked off a great discussion of gender diversity. Perfect for ages 8 and up (and up: I'm 30, and I loved it). 

- Sarah G.

Reverse Cowgirl (Semiotext(e) / Native Agents) Cover Image
ISBN: 9781635901184
Availability: Available In Store Now (while supplies last)
Published: Semiotext(e) - February 18th, 2020

After reading DeTransition, Baby, my idea of the narratives trans authors could tell was completely upended. McKenzie Wark’s novel draws from her own experiences in a similarly messy, glorious way; she paints a wholly embodied trans experience that avoids trying to conform to the benchmarks we’ve been given. It is at times epistemological, hysterical, erotic, and grim, but always relatable.

- Casey

The Color of Magic: A Novel of Discworld Cover Image
ISBN: 9780062225672
Availability: Available In Store Now (while supplies last)
Published: Harper - January 29th, 2013

A funny, engaging fantasy romp starring a bad wizard, a clueless tourist and a suitcase with a temper. It's a delightful way to while away an afternoon or two. If you love arch humor, rambling plots and a vividly imagined world sitting on the back of a turtle, you'll love this first in a series adventure.

- Marie

High on the Hog: A Culinary Journey from Africa to America Cover Image
ISBN: 9781608194506
Availability: Available In Store Now (while supplies last)
Published: Bloomsbury USA - January 24th, 2012

A culinary journey from Africa to America, Dr. Jessica B Harris explores the African diasporic experience through food. I found this book to be so enriching because food is something that we eat everyday yet we are not grounded in the knowledge of knowing where our foods originally comes from. Dr. Harris draws you in and I learned so much about the history of the continent as well as food. The book has been turned into a much needed series. If you read this book and love it; then you should read Toni Tipton Martin's  The Jemima Code. African diasporic history is American history. People needs to sit with that, masticate and digest. 

- Alisha

How to Write an Autobiographical Novel: Essays Cover Image
ISBN: 9781328764522
Availability: Available In Store Now (while supplies last)
Published: Mariner Books - April 17th, 2018

Regularly a novelist, Alexander Chee offers up clear and cool essays that draw from a wide variety of facets of his own character. Some are as broad a subject as his time in ACT UP in the 80s, and some are as honed in as the rose garden in his backyard in Brooklyn. They add up to a case study on identity that's very empowering to read.

- Emily

Whatever Happened to Interracial Love?: Stories Cover Image
ISBN: 9780062484154
Availability: Available In Store Now (while supplies last)
Published: Ecco - December 6th, 2016

I just love a vignette. I love an author who's able to drop me in a world that begs me to explore; to get to know the characters, their lives, their hopes and fears. And then, right as you get comfortable, you leave to explore the next. With different styles, different perspective, each story is truly a different, little world. I devoured this collection. 16 short stories written by a Black women set in the 1960s. 16 short stories about people, and their lives, and the little details that make them human and connect them to each other. Can't recommend enough.

- Bria