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 August 8, 2018.
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
Okay! I think I popped out of my mother's womb crying, not from the shock of entering this loud world, but because they weren't the loud sounds I wanted to hear. So, as I got older, and started to make my own decisions, naturally I gravitated to rock n roll! punk! riot grrl! "LOUD! I HAVE SOMETHING TO SAY!" music. Sleater-Kinney allowed me to explore myself as a teenager, and still does, to this day! But hey, this isn't about my relationship with Carrie's band, and it's not all about Sleater-Kinney. This memoir is a beautiful reflection on a confusing childhood, self-identity, relationships, self-care and so much MORE. A wonderful read that I have pushed onto almost all my friends. Carrie is a force, both to be reckoned with, and one to find comfort in.
Picked by Erika in Prospect Lefferts Garden
If Dashiell Hammet invented the hard-boiled lexicon, Raymond Chandler turned it into poetry. Here, we find the consummately down-and-out Philip Marlowe on a case that slips in and out of focus so many times that by the middle of the book, the plot seems to have dissolved entirely. But that hardly matters because, like Marlowe, the reader is pulled forward by vague uncertainly rather than any definable outcome. There's a reason Chandler has been citied as an influence by eveyone from Tom Waits to the Cohen Brothers, and it's all in The Long Goodbye. A great read to see you through the last languid months of summer.
Picked by Jarrod in Fort Greene
A book for anyone willing to delve into the truly bizarre corners of human nature. Cheryl, the book's protagonist, is a strange and sweet bundle of neurosis that is fumbling her way through her desires. It's startling and funny and sexual and moving and and and!
Picked by Kristi in Fort Greene
I knew Austerlitz was going to be a special read by the third or fourth page. I don't recall it being anything specific, but I could already feel the narrative picking up a subtle momentum, like a train embarking on its scenic route. Austerlitz is meandering and descriptive and a lot like getting to know someone over many cups of tea. Underneath layers of experiential storytelling, there lies the actual narrative about a hundred pages in, and getting there is somehow just as mesmerizing as having gotten there.
Picked by Geo in Prospect Lefferts Gardens
The simplest words, for the smallest child, about the biggest things: morning and evening, seasons, families of all kinds, work and play, food and music and being young and old. The sweetest rhyme and rhythm, and pictures you can look into again and again and always find something new. This is a book for all ages, and for all seasons, but especially for summer.
Picked by Jessica in Prospect Lefferts Gardens
I always feel an unease when I return to this book: a quickening of the heart, a sudden empty of my stomach, and tears racing down my cheeks. Mayra Santos-Febres' Sirena Selena is a wonderful book that at its heart asks us all how have we lied to ourselves and why? Pick this up if you've loved, if you've been hurt, been the cause of hurt, and/or just want a good read.
Picked by Nicholas N. in Prospect Lefferts Gardens
On the night of Claire Limyè Lanmè's 7th birthday, a day of love marked by the death of her mother, she disappears suddenly into the night. As Claire runs throughout the novel, the book's readers are are pulled into the interwomen lives of the community in Ville Rose, Haiti. A stunning fable about love, family and sacrifice, Edwidge Danticat earns her place as one of our most gifted storytellers.
Picked by Itiola in Fort Greene
In 1937, a young, free-spirited Englishwoman is left for dead in the streets of Peking. Two detectives, one Chinese and one British, investigate the murder, mere weeks before the beginning of the world's most catastrophic war. Together, they wend through the seedy underworld of a long-lost imperial China, replete with destitute White Russian refugees, roving gangs scouring the city's Badlands, and degenerate-infested houses of ill-repute. And, though the detectives are unable to solve the crime before the Japanese army descends like a deluge upon the decaying city, the author does. True story.
Picked by Nick T. in Fort Greene
This book is a totally heartwarming, tender gem. I picked it up on a whim, as neither a usual graphic novel reader nor someone who had a clue who Jomny Sun is, and I could not put it down. We follow a little aliebn who thinks all of the animals on earth are ‘humabns’, and learns lessons about what it means to be human from the animals. It’s full of what feel simultaneously like grand philosophies on humankind and naïve hilarious one liners. It’s great for all ages and the cutest book ever!!
Picked by Laura in Prospect Lefferts Gardens
I love cozy Victorian novels with women scientists and gay romances and some science and some magic and some danger and some philosophy and maybe a little bit of time travel. Are there other novels like that? I don't care, this is the best one.
Picked by Jessica in Fort Greene
Soak in the wildly imaginative mind of surrealist painter and writer Leonora Carrington. Darkly playful (and often grotesque) illustrations accompany the stories of this genuinely bizarre book for children and adults alike.
Picked by Vanessa in Fort Greene
An alien bird named Loma steals a magic coat that transports her to Earth and right into the body of a comatose, teenaged mean girl. Loma awakes in her new body and calls herself Shade, but she also needs to get used to how everything works on Earth and the fact that everyone around her hates her. As wonderful as this story is, it pales in comparison to the psychedelic pastel colors.
Picked by Geo in Prospect Lefferts Gardens
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 Fort Greene
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
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
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
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
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
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
"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
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
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
A perennial favorite and one of the sources of our name, Fitzgerald's masterpiece is always a staff pick at Greenlight Bookstore.