Greenlight Staff Picks are 15% off!
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 27, 2019.
Set in the early 1970s, Nada chronicles the botched kidnapping of a US ambassador to France by a motley band of outsiders. The novel feels like a lost Jean-Pierre Melville film, with lean prose and an array of acronyms (see Luc Sante's superb introduction). At times reading like a communiqué, Manchette manages to subtly conjure the oppressive fog of political disillusion lingering among the margins of society in post-1968 Paris.
Picked by David in Fort Greene
A beautiful collection navigating the landscape of race, loss, and love. Abdurraqib's words may inspire you to cry big, globby tears in public spaces.
Don’t say I didn’t warn you…
Picked by Arti in Fort Greene
Natalie Scenters-Zapico’s second collection of poems explores the complexity of gender roles within the landscape of the poet’s hometowns of Ciudad Juárez and El Paso. Through rich lyricism and strange imagery these poems investigate feminized labor, violence, and desire on the US-Mexico border. Haunting and visceral, this is a must-read for fans of Dorothea Lasky, Khadijah Queen, and Ocean Vuong.
Picked by Phoebe in Fort Greene
These stories constantly nudge and overlap one another at their boundaries. A main character of one story may pop up in the background of another, and gossip flies and kids are measured up against each other. You become aware of a full community of individuals, reaching for joy, success, and connection, in their own sometimes shocking ways. If you think you've read the immigrant voice, or the Asian-American voice, well think again!
Picked by Emily in Fort Greene
If you've ever wondered what It all means, why Art and History are a series of failures, why New York City is hell and heaven on Earth—have I got the book for you! Lovable everyman György Korin finds a manuscript in '90s Hungary that purports to explain the secret history of our world, and does what anyone would do: travel to NYC to upload the manuscript and commit suicide promptly thereafter. Short single-sentence chapters orbit madness, lucidity, the slapstick and the cosmic for anepiphanic, vertigo-inducing experience. This is my favorite novel of all time.
Picked by Abe in Fort Greene
It's easy to imagine a dystopian future; it’s harder to imagine a utopian one. Cory Doctorow dares to do it, and it’s sprawling, messy, hilarious, terrifying and inspiring – and sometimes, even believable. There are exciting action scenes, lots of characters and conversations, and so many ideas. Pick it up for a hopeful way to start a new decade's reading, and maybe start doing some imagining of your own.
Picked by Jessica in Fort Greene
This sumptuous historical novel charts the life of war photographer Lee Miller, who began her career as a model in late-1920s Paris and entered into a complex relationship with Man Ray as his muse, student and lover. Scharer's inviting prose makes it easy to slide into Miller's fascinating and criminally overlooked story. Highly recommended for fans of Paula McLain and Anthony Doerr.
Picked by Sarah in Fort Greene
With a new solo album out, I've been revisiting Kim Gordon's memoir, which walks down the memory lane of what it was like being a frontwoman in a band while trying to juggle life and parenthood. She walked a line between the art and music scene in NYC in the 1980s-1990s (and still does!), both informing her work. Gritty, alive with connections and cross-pollination of different mediums, it's a great window into the downtown scene and NYC creative life.
Picked by Rebecca in Fort Greene
There are few writers who capture middle America so beautifully. A poet and farmer, Berry writes with scathing clarity about American culture's detachment from Earth. Honestly, reading anything by him will make you think differently, but this collection includes an essay about what culture has in common with decaying soil that is unforgettable. If you enjoyed Hillbilly Elegy, it’s the natural next step to consider What Are People For?
Picked by Jackie in Fort Greene
Zine meets practical manual meets bikespiration? Yes please. I was riding a bike every day for two years before I even learned how to grease a chain. So when I finally got my hands on this book, and realized there were helpful pictures and diagrams as well as step-by-step instructions for basic and more complex bike maintenance, as well as stories from people who are often marginalized in the largely white/hetero/masc scene of the bike shop, I felt like my world had been flipped. Keep it, get grease on it, give it to a friend, and get out there for a ride in this gorgeous sunshine!
Picked by Nora in Prospect Lefferts Gardens
Brooklyn-based artist Brian Blomerth creates an intimate retelling of the day Swiss chemist Albert Hoffman became the first person to ingest LSD. It takes only a single glance at any page to realize the thoughtful intricacy poured into this work, which serves as both an important staple for the cartooning form and a visible example of how esoteric artwork can be an alluring storytelling tool.
Picked by Joey in Fort Greene
A not so well to-do married couple in one of the oldest counties of concentrated wealth in America who unexpectedly cross paths with a never well-intending underworld front man in a story written so well that it could as easily be classified as both a literary novel and a crime thriller. Full of suspense and stolidity, sensuousness and savagery, sardonic wit and sanguine virtue, this one left me satisfied on all fronts.
Picked by Mustafa in Fort Greene
Innovative and disobedient to colonized structures of poetry, You Da One calls upon an "I" that no longer feels singular. By dissecting a universal understanding of identity and mob mentality, Tamayo reminds readers that a digital body is always in question. These poems complicate the multiplicity of self, attempting to collage a body into the “one,” while calling to mind what happens/is happening to a body that so often wishes to be decolonized.
Picked by Katixa in Fort Greene
Make no mistake, you will cry. Or at the very least be moved by the story of a single Syrian family in Assad-ruled Aleppo. It's wrought with passion and hope. The writing is eloquent, crystal clear, and harrowing in that it attaches itself to you for all 240 pages and then some. Time does what it wants in this book, and what it wants is to come back to the beginning and make characters and readers reflect on memory and the weight of the past. This crushing read is required for anyone looking to better understand Syria's current state. I first read this book 3 years ago and it has remained a consistent favorite of mine. Seriously, look no further.
Picked by Ikwo in Prospect Lefferts Gardens
In Udala Trees, two girls fall in love in a country at war with itself, where such a thing could cost them their lives. Ijeoma and Ndidi are children from different tribes when they meet during the Nigerian civil war. All too soon, they find themselves having to submit to familial and societal pressures, and the cost of doing so or not. These pages are drenched with emotion, and every sentence will rip you from your reality. I'm a sucker for a coming-of-age story, and even more so for a love story, and this book is no exception.
Picked by Ikwo in Prospect Lefferts Gardens
Kavan's masterstroke of slipstream sci-fi occupies a deeply strange and liminal space between Clarice Lispector at her most bizarre, Lost Highway, and Ballard's catastrophe novels. It’s part road novel and part polit-eco-disaster fantasia, where the unnamed search for the misremembered. All things exist at the edge of memory, and we're never sure whether its reality or dream we're trying to escape. A dark gem from a writer too long relegated to the realm of the forgotten.
Picked by Jarrod in Fort Greene
If this book were a beverage, it would be a warm cup of tea on a chilly day. A young robot named Z receives a mysterious letter in a bottle. It's signed, 'Love, Beatrice.' What is love? Z wonders, but it does not compute. Delightfully illustrated with soft landscapes and quirky, angular robots, readers journey alongside Z to discover the meaning of this perplexing word. An absolutely miraculous way to show kids just how many different things love can be. Every time I read it I feel warm, and cozy, and safe. I hope you do, too.
Picked by Rose in Fort Greene
With all the recent accusations of fake news and conspiracy theories, witch hunts and deep state politics, this timely book explores how our uniquely American paranoia is ingrained in the history of our country, how it continues to influence our culture and, more importantly, how it permeates into our politics. Scary and fascinating, this is a great entertaining read.
Picked by Shauna in Fort Greene
One of the most striking, impressive, haunting books I've ever read. Jenny Offill pulls off an incredible feat: a complex book told by an 8-year-old narrator watching the deterioration of her parents' marriage and her mother's mental health. The tension and beauty of the novel lies in the disparity between what the narrator sees but is too young to interpret. This is the sort of book that you can't put down until you finish, and it will linger a long time after it's done.
Picked by Katie in Fort Greene
Cortázar perfectly embodies Latin America’s fascination with death and the unknown with this terrifying collection of bizarre stories--like one that switches perspective from man to fish, another that tells the story of a brother and sister living together in their family home being taken over by unknown forces, and a tale of a young girl who spends her summer vacation in her family country house only to find out there’s a tiger roaming the halls. I recommend reading these stories with Brian Eno’s ‘Lizard Point’ playing quietly in the background.
Picked by Oswald in Fort Greene
There are stories, and there are stories. There are songs, and there are songs. There are rugs, and there are rugs. Some things, without our full understanding, embody a certain and ineffable brand of magic. Weaveworld is one of these things—the story concerns the fate of a hidden world of magic and rapture that, to save itself from certain destruction, has woven itself into an oriental rug. With this wide and sprawling epic, Barker delivers boundless wonder and unspeakable horror with a voice unlike any other out there today.
Picked by Austin in Prospect Lefferts Garden
Rimbaud’s prose poems capture the strange space we inhabit: a stillness between utopia and apocalypse, a bored, wavering impatience before the flood. Ashbery’s translation avoids the clunk and flourish of previous versions in favor of recognizing the weirdness of the poems, preserving their crystalline concision and vivid, fantastical images. This book also provides a genealogy of Ashbery’s own poetry, which like Rimbaud, accepts the danger of conveying simple beauty and agency in “this huge city under a sky stained with fire and mud…”
Picked by Michael in Fort Greene
On a spring day in 1988, Geraldine Cuotts is attacked on the outskirts of the reservation she calls home. Narrated from the perspective of her thirteen-year-old son, Joe, The Round House is at once a coming-of-age novel as well as a reckoning with native identities, land and the female body. As Joe and his father (a judge on the reservation, desperate to avenge his wife) grapple with the trauma their loved one has experienced, he's also forced to come to terms with the fact that men, even men we love and cherish, can violate us in unexpected ways. If the material sounds heavy, fear not. In Erdrich's capable hands this heavy subject matter is both delicate and direct, the prose fast moving and the language exquisite. It was my favorite book I read last year.
Picked by Wynne in Prospect Lefferts Gardens
There was a brief period last year where my sister toyed with the idea of not vaccinating my niece (ultimately, she did). New mothers grapple with the same fear, it seems: one of contamination—of failing in salubrity and, therefore, motherhood. New mother Eula Biss shared these fears and chose to investigate: In turns tender and tough, Biss dispels the myths of the anti-vaxx movement and reveals how they erode not just our trust in medicine, but our trust in each other. Fear is infectious, but so is knowledge. Take a deep breath. This’ll only hurt for a second.
Picked by Austin in Prospect Lefferts Gardens
Arguably the only thing better than Lindgren’s original novel is this wacky comic strip of her beloved character, Pippi Longstocking. There’s something about the kooky artwork, the bold primary colors, and dialogue that sometimes verges on non sequitur that will prime readers previously unfamiliar with the Strongest Girl in the World. (And that recent Chance the Rapper shout out doesn’t hurt, either.)
Picked by Geo in Prospect Lefferts Gardens
A perennial favorite and one of the sources of our name, Fitzgerald's masterpiece is always a staff pick at Greenlight Bookstore.