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.
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Mustafa: Her size - massive, her current heading - Westward, her Captain’s mindset - questionable, her destructive power - immense, her most dangerous asset – her undetectability; her current location – unknown. For any one who is a lover of a great plot driven suspense techo-thriller that has all of the real-world complexities of the Cold War in the 1980s; this novel is for you. This is the novel that introduces the Character of Jack Ryan to the world.
Chris: "The Vulture is a cool murder mystery based in downtown Manhattan in the late 1960s. Four people reckon with the seemingly senseless killing of John Lee. Lee was just like me and you, taking it day by day. Just trying to make it by in this funny world. The book flows with a similar rhythm to the elegant word play and melodies found in Scott's music. The incident awakens the community, provoking analysis of the system that led to such violence. A beautiful and profoundly sad portrait of street life. An important who done it novel encompassing all of the fixtures of the corner."
Oliver: "A captivating anthology centering trans and queer lives and the messiness of your 20's. Every character is richly developed, with storylines that immerse you. I often thought of my own queer friends and found-family in NYC while reading. Girlfriends is fresh, relatable, and beautiful."
Ezra: "This amazing little book always brings a tear to my eye. Wonderfully illustrated, poetic, and applicable to any age, it shows you how to befriend (rather than flee) grief, how to listen to and speak with it, and how to understand grief as an experience both painful and beautifully necessary. It doesn't make the pain overly specific either -- this is a book about all forms of loss and the flurry of feelings that come with it. I wish there were more books like this one, for children and adults alike."
Autumn: "This Thing Between Us is heartbreaking, surreal, unsettling, and terrifying. Thiago just tragically lost his wife and is trying his best to process his grief and conquer his self-blame, but feeling like something in the universe is out to get you certainly doesn't help. If you're a fellow horror fan I will always recommend this book."
Mandy: "Elena's daughter, Rita, is found hanging from the church bell tower, but Elena knows it couldn't be suicide. A shrewd account of a mother's certainty in her grief, the burdens of caregiving, and the foisting of religious expectations on women. I implore you to find out for yourself what Elena doesn't know."
Maritza: "Walter Schmidt is wholly unprepared to take care of himself and his wife, who is suddenly and mysteriously unable to get out of bed after years of homemaking. I love a messy narrator, and Walter is awful: a menace and a grouch who cannot make his own coffee or feed his dog without mishap, and he takes that out on those around him. That said, the novel's more tender moments and little emotional revelations surprised me and made the book one of my favorites of 2023."
Kyle: "This novel is perfectly subway sized and provides a scorching hot distraction from the unpredictability of a Brooklyn winter. Dogs of Summer follows two young girls growing up on the outskirts of the Canary Islands in the early aughts. It deals with the confusion of early sexual desire, the conflict of living as working class in a tourist economy, and the pressure to conform to the expectations of family. Abreu depicts the obsession of young friendship with the psychological acuity only lived experience can provide and the result is a blistering and visceral account of a summer you'll never forget. A quick read like a fever dream for fans of Elena Ferrante and Ottessa Moshfegh."
Jessica: "For the soothing of griefs of all kinds, for all ages: this quiet picture book is revelatory. Whether or not you know (or are) someone who is sad at the moment, reading this sweet and simple book is a lovely reminder of what we really need, and what we can do for each other."
Rich: "What if Shelley’s Frankenstein monster had been raised in a loving, nurturing home by a family of queer, free-thinking artists instead of being feared and abandoned by those who created him. Cordova’s beautiful and heartbreaking debut novel explores what it means to truly love someone or something unconditionally, and how we can create new life and love from even the most debilitating grief. As I read the last chapter, I found myself sobbing on a plane, wishing that everyone could experience the kind of love that Cordova’s characters have for their beautiful Monstrilio."
Ashli: "A tale of bravery, boldness, and adventure, The Queen in the Cave is a whimsical story of sisterhood and what you can find when you follow your curiosity. Reading this felt like a modern-day fairytale, yet there was no prince or princess—just three young girls exploring their sense of wonder and seeing where it takes them, both together and apart. What drew my attention to this book was its beautiful cover, and as you read, you will find equally beautiful and intricate illustrations that perfectly compliment the story being told, and help set its playful, oddball tone. PLUS, imagine putting this on display in your child's (or yours) bedroom... *chef's kiss*."
Janele: “A girl comes of age against the knife.”
A lyrically devastating exploration of family and grief. It will cut your heart open in tragically beautiful ways.
Ashli: It's a tale as old as time... but told in a totally new way. No face-to-face dialogue, no in-person interactions. Love, Rosie tells the the love story of two best friends told through their letters, emails, group chat messages, texts, etc. etc. If you love friends to lovers, British accents (use your imagination), and an infuriating dose of miscommunication and missed opportunities, then read this book (AND WATCH THE MOVIE!)
Mandy, Autumn, & Maritza: Beautiful writing anchors a harrowing plot in Hawk Mountain, a literary horror novel that follows a young father whose childhood bully forces his way back into his life, all while befriending his six year-old and shaking traumatic memories loose. Our favorite book of last year-- thank you to A.L. for the recommendation.
Oliver: A hauntingly beautiful story about grief, trauma, and healing. With lyrical prose and a powerful understanding of the ghosts that can follow us throughout life, this is the perfect novel to get swept up in.
Jessica: If you have any interest in:
* magic including seeing invisible beings, defying gravity, and doorways to other realms
* non-Western fantasy landscapes
* queer coming of age / coming to the city stories
* family drama on a continental scale
* witty and gorgeous prose
* also high-stakes heists, avant garde theater, romantic tensions, and experiments in urban infrastructure... just go ahead and read this book, and then we can be friends.
David: Cortázar's masterpiece. A scouring of the undefinable. Part eloquent ramble, part literary bebop. Translated with immeasurable grace by Gregory Rabassa.
Dante: If you are looking to take a respite from often "overlooked" historical fiction, convoluted, dense, story plots that make you turn back a couple pages multiple times, speculative narratives that are too close to real life, AS. WE. KNOW.IT... then I invite you to give Katherine Heiny's short story collection Games and Rituals a peek. It highlights people maneuvering through having an elderly father mistake his hearing aid for a peanut, discovering a credit card charge that puts their marriage into a tailspin, finding unrequited love with a co-worker and its aftermath, and...I'll let you discover the rest.
Hopefully, this collection provides connection and a loud chuckle at the inner workings of the person next to you on the bus, train, Uber, pool, round trip or one way flight, in line waiting to buy overly priced macadamia nuts at the neighborhood market.
Mandy: 12 gothic fantasies about death, sex, and the occult. Let us say no more.
Autumn: This memoir is poetic, graceful, and gorgeous and simultaneously raw, heart-wrenching, and brutal. Brian Broome has so generously shared with us his very honest and evocative journey to allowing himself the permission to exist in his own skin and take up space in this world. I will never be able to recommend this book highly enough.
A perennial favorite and one of the sources of our name, Fitzgerald's masterpiece is always a staff pick at Greenlight Bookstore.