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 April 27th, 2018.


 

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Comfort Me with Apples: More Adventures at the Table (Random House Reader's Circle) Cover Image
$14.45
ISBN: 9780812981629
Availability: On Our Shelves Now
Published: Random House Trade - May 25th, 2010

Reichl’s second memoir begins in a commune in Berkley in the late 1970s as she embarks on a career as a food writer, marrying her love of storytelling and food. What follows is an intimate, witty first-hand account of the birth of an American food revolution. She candidly writes of her first marriage and its dissolution, her various lovers along the way, and her journey to the modest door steps and early first restaurants of young Alice Waters, Wolfgang Puck, Johnathan Waxman, and other world-renowned chefs. With each chapter accompanied by an emotionally corresponding recipe, Reichl continuously reminds us that food and life go hand in hand.

Picked by Kate in Ft. Greene


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We Have Always Lived in the Castle: (penguin Classics Deluxe Edition) (Penguin Classics Deluxe Editions) Cover Image
By Shirley Jackson, Jonathan Lethem (Introduction by), Thomas Ott (Illustrator)
$14.45
ISBN: 9780143039976
Availability: On Our Shelves Now
Published: Penguin Books - October 31st, 2006

Shirley Jackson is one of my horror queens! If you're a fan of the macabre then buckle up! This Gothic tale will hold you uncomfortably close and won't disappoint. Jackson's perfectly haunting and atmospheric world oozes agoraphobia and throws some witchcraft into the mix. I am getting excited just thinking about it! The goosebumps are rising.  

Picked by Erika in Prospect Lefferts Gardens


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Henchgirl Cover Image
By Kristen Gudsnuk, Kristen Gudsnuk (Illustrator)
$15.29
ISBN: 9781506701448
Availability: On Our Shelves Now
Published: Dark Horse Originals - April 11th, 2017

Mary Posa works as a henchgirl for the local supervillain. She doesn't necessarily like being bad, but it pays the bills. When an aspiring superhero with a not-altogether useful superpower convinces her to try do-gooding, will Mary stay the course or turn heel against her better judgment? The adventures of this henchgirl are hilarious and heartfelt, capped by a pretty unexpected "Because comics" denouement.

Picked by Geo in Prospect Lefferts Gardens


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We Shall Overcome: The Story of a Song Cover Image
$14.44
ISBN: 9781423119548
Availability: On Our Shelves Now
Published: Jump at the Sun - December 17th, 2013

I have been reading this book with my five-year-old, and it has opened up conversations about racial injustice and resistance that she can understand. The illustrations are wonderful, the history is solid, and the prose is musical, as it should be in telling the story of one of the greatest anthems of the Civil Rights Movement. And the book doesn't end in the 1960s with "then everything was fixed", but lets the song go on singing in many voices into other struggles, providing courage and hope.

Picked by Jessica in Prospect Lefferts Gardens


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Pilgrim at Tinker Creek Cover Image
$13.59
ISBN: 9780061233326
Availability: On Our Shelves Now
Published: Harper Perennial Modern Classics - September 10th, 2013

You could read Pilgrim for the prose alone. You could read it, just as well, for the wit alone—Annie Dillard is a hilarious beast. While you’re at it, you might read this for the wonder of it all, for the incessant, insightful, wonder-filled seeing Dillard exercises. If you want a real treat, though, read this with the seasons—neverminding beginnings or ends either way; pausing, as needed, to let the seasons catch up. A year walking with the pilgrim is a year well spent. 

Picked by Niko in Prospect Lefferts Gardens


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The Art of the Lathe (Working Classics) Cover Image
$13.56
ISBN: 9781882295166
Availability: On Our Shelves Now
Published: Alice James Books - January 1st, 1998

B.H. Fairchild has been described as "one of those poets that prose writers love." This has proved to be true for myself. When it comes to poetry, I prefer the Metaphysicals with a smattering of Shakespeare. But Fairchild's narrative poems in lyrical free verse sweep me away--they immerse me in his mid-western, blue collar world, one in which low class and high culture are mingled, things that are not commonly considered beautiful are elevated, and Dodge trucks and iconography exist on the same plane.

Picked by Heather C. in Prospect Lefferts Gardens


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Catalog of Unabashed Gratitude (Pitt Poetry) Cover Image
$13.56
ISBN: 9780822963318
Availability: On Our Shelves Now
Published: University of Pittsburgh Press - January 7th, 2015

Lush with figs, flowers, dirt and feet that persist despite earth-shattering pains, Gay’s poetic universe makes magic of the ordinary and gives us gratitude as a form of rebellion. I return to these poems to feel better on a bad day and to make good days the best. A remarkably self-aware delight, this collection of odes and celebrations blooms with enough nuance to make even the most seasoned skeptic swoon.

Picked by Maria in Prospect Lefferts Gardens


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For the End of Time: The Story of the Messiaen Quartet Cover Image
$21.21
ISBN: 9780801472978
Availability: On Our Shelves Now
Published: Cornell University Press - March 24th, 2006

The gold medal for "Most Beautiful Piece of Music" must go to Olivier Messiaen's 1941 magnum opus "Quartet for the End of Time". The eight-movement piece moves from jarring timbres and short repetitive rhythms to slow and outright gorgeous melodies; at times these changes occur within single movements. This book details the harsh circumstances in which the piece—composed while Messiaen was a prisoner during WWII—was written. Using interviews with Messiaen as well as other members of the original quartet (clarinetist Henri Akoka, violinist Jean le Boulaire and cellist Étienne Pasquier), it's a fascinating read aned a great introduction for anyone unfamiliar to Messiaen's work.

Picked by Justin in Ft. Greene


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A Manual for Cleaning Women: Selected Stories Cover Image
$14.45
ISBN: 9781250094735
Availability: On Our Shelves Now
Published: Picador USA - August 2nd, 2016

A lot happens in this audacious collection of stories: a lifetime of incident and insight. Loosely autobiographical—even in conversation with her own children Berlin would blur the real and imaginary—it spans the experiences of a prodigiously hardworking woman. From cleaning houses or working at an ER in Oakland to falling for a scuba diver on the Pacific coast of Mexico, Berlin's characters toil, love, leave, and start over, clearing a path of observations. 

Picked by Ben in Ft. Greene


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Daytripper Cover Image
$16.99
ISBN: 9781401229696
Availability: On Our Shelves Now
Published: Vertigo - February 8th, 2011

Every time Brás dies, he has discovered different joys but seems to have the same regrets. This graphic novel applies the dramatic tone of popular comics to the everyday moments of this world, re-framing what doesn't sound like much to be, in actuality, the most grave and beautiful thing in the world.

Picked by Emily in Ft. Greene


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How Should a Person Be?: A Novel from Life Cover Image
$14.45
ISBN: 9781250032447
Availability: On Our Shelves Now
Published: Picador USA - June 25th, 2013

Sheila Heti’s voice is indispensable and unlike any other—fearless, dynamic, rigorous, yet unfailingly funny and sexy. If you’re interested in personal approaches to philosophical questions (like Maggie Nelson), sincere visions of female friendship (like Ferrante), the fluid boundary between fiction and confession (like Knausgaard), or the ethics and obligations of artistic practice, How Should A Person Be? is an exciting and wonderful discovery. Heti has shown me again and again how to better approach the project of living.

Picked by Lily in Ft. Greene


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The Gone-Away World (Vintage Contemporaries) Cover Image
$14.41
ISBN: 9780307389077
Availability: On Our Shelves Now
Published: Vintage - August 11th, 2009

Gone-Away World wins all the awards in the grand awards assembly in my head. It has the most gonzo pulp adventures, the wildest larger-than-life characters, the cleverest witticisms, the most absurd pratfalls, the most astonishing plot twists, the most biting critique of the military industrial complex, the strangest and most affecting love stor(ies), the deepest reverence for compassion and ingenuity, and the lowest tolerance for greed and hatred and stupidity.  It's all action and laughs except then you find you really, really need to talk about it all with someone over a drink or seven.  I can't actually tell you anything else about it because I might spoil something (I'm possibly overexcited), so read the back and then go ahead and buy it so you can start reading it and we can talk then.

Picked by Jessica in Ft. Greene


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Nova Cover Image
$13.60
ISBN: 9780375706707
Availability: On Our Shelves Now
Published: Vintage - June 11th, 2002

Nova is a space opera set in the 32nd century, rife with memorable personalities, an unflinching faith in the Tarot, captivating technologies (eg. a musical instrument that can simulate and stimulate all the senses), and sociopolitical commentary that feels particularly current. To put it simply, it's brilliantly fun, especially for those into genuine cyberpunk fiction (before there was such a thing).

Picked by Vanessa in Ft. Greene


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The Raincoats' the Raincoats (33 1/3) Cover Image
$12.71
ISBN: 9781501302404
Availability: On Our Shelves Now
Published: Bloomsbury Academic - October 5th, 2017

Jenn Pelly's book is not just an illuminating piece of criticism and history about a specific album that has always been mythic and enigmatic to me, but also, more generally, a vital feminist reclamation of what it means to be punk that manages to weave together everything from Helene Cixous to Chris Kraus to 10 Things I Hate About You.

Picked by Matt in Fort Greene

 


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When Women Were Birds: Fifty-Four Variations on Voice Cover Image
$14.45
ISBN: 9781250024114
Availability: On Our Shelves Now
Published: Picador USA - February 26th, 2013

On her deathbed, Terry Tempest Williams' mother made it a point to tell her she was leaving Williams all her journals. A strange inheritance (Williams was unaware that her mother kept journals) made all the stranger by the fact that every single one of them was blank. So begins Williams' musings and meditations on what it means to be a woman and what it means to have a voice. Lovely and wise, I find myself coming back to this book over and over again whenever I need a little guidance.

Picked by Kristie in Ft. Greene


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Sleepless Nights (New York Review Books Classics) Cover Image
By Elizabeth Hardwick, Geoffrey O'Brien (Introduction by)
$11.90
ISBN: 9780940322721
Availability: On Our Shelves Now
Published: New York Review of Books - August 31st, 2001

Imagine packing a Knausgaardian quantity of life into one high-density snowglobe.

Picked by Jonah in Ft. Greene


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Emma Goldman: Revolution as a Way of Life (Jewish Lives) Cover Image
$13.60
ISBN: 9780300198232
Availability: On Our Shelves Now
Published: Yale University Press - September 24th, 2013

With a force of scrutiny that begets clarity, Vivian Gornick considers the Passion of Emma Goldman, and finds with Goldman as her subject the culmination of her lifelong intellectual project: an inquiry into the mad pursuit of life within a system of social inequities, and the rarefied self that is forged in that chase. Gornick's perfect sentences are perceived on the level of the muscle, the nerve. To read her on Goldman's irreducible conviction is to be imparted -- even briefly -- an acute and luminous sense of the way to exist in a world tumultuous, on a precipice, and pliant enough for change.

Picked by Stephanie in Prospect Lefferts Gardens


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Zama Cover Image
By Antonio Di Benedetto, Esther Allen (Translator), Esther Allen (Preface by)
$13.56
ISBN: 9781590177174
Availability: On Our Shelves Now
Published: New York Review of Books - August 23rd, 2016

"His hair had been white forever. He was born old and could not die. His solitude was appalling.” Is that Santa? No, that's just the divine creator as hatefully described by our lovely anti-hero, Don Diego de Zama. Unable to escape godforsaken colonial Paraguay or his own wretched condition, forced to dissociate to a mesmerizing, staccato first-person (glimpses of Di Benedetto's screen-writing), Don Diego blurs through a life of maté, cold schemes, and violent temptation. Will his heinous attitude lead him out of purgatory? Probably not.

Picked by Julian in Fort Greene

 


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Anti-Gone Cover Image
$15.30
ISBN: 9781927668511
Availability: On Our Shelves Now
Published: Koyama Press - September 5th, 2017

Connor Willumsen is a master artist and storyteller, and his delicate line ties together this dreamlike, cyberpunk-esque tale involving a decaying metropolis, a mysterious jet-skiing DVD vendor, psychedelic drugs, and a pet crocodile named Blade. A gorgeous demonstration of the experimental possibilities of sequentiality and narrative in comics. Dazzling cartooning.

Picked by Ben in Prospect Lefferts Gardens


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The Autobiography of Benvenuto Cellini (Penguin Classics) Cover Image
By Benvenuto Cellini, George Bull (Translator), George Bull (Introduction by)
$14.45
ISBN: 9780140447187
Availability: On Our Shelves Now
Published: Penguin Books - 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 Book Company - October 1st, 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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If on a Winter's Night a Traveler Cover Image
$12.71
ISBN: 9780156439619
Availability: On Our Shelves Now
Published: Mariner Books - October 20th, 1982

Calvino's book-of-books is the most satisfactory puzzle a book lover could possible wish for. Each chapter is a novel in itself, wildly different and mysteriously linked, building to an unimaginable but inevitable conclusion. This is the place to start with Calvino, the grand old man of literary puzzle-makers, and perfect for your own winter's night.

Picked by Jessica in Prospect Lefferts Gardens


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Me and Momma and Big John Cover Image
By Mara Rockliff, William Low (Illustrator)
$14.44
ISBN: 9780763643591
Availability: On Our Shelves Now
Published: Candlewick Press (MA) - August 28th, 2012

Based on a true story and written with a readable cadence, this is a working parents’ book, an NYC book, and an art and maker's book. In the 1980s the Church of Saint John the Divine started an artisan apprenticeship program, teaching neighborhood residents a trade so that they could have a local job. The mother in this story becomes a stonemason and works on the church. She's tired yet proud, and one day she brings her children to see the building and the fruit of her labor, and they're proud, too.

Picked by Rebecca in Fort Greene


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Push (Vintage Contemporaries) Cover Image
$12.71
ISBN: 9780679766759
Availability: On Our Shelves Now
Published: Vintage - April 29th, 1997

I first read Push over 20 years ago, and it's stayed with me all this time. It holds up upon re-read, and it's time for a new generation of readers to discover or re-discover this book. Searing, relentless, shocking and visceral. Lyrical, poetic, necessary. Despite the overwhelming atrocities inflicted upon her by life, 16 year old Precious is a character who still has hope. You will take her into your heart and she will never leave you.

Picked by Rebecca in Fort Greene


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