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 November 24, 2018.


 

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Bandette Volume 1: Presto! Cover Image
$12.74
ISBN: 9781616552794
Availability: On Our Shelves Now
Published: Dark Horse Books - November 5th, 2013

Bandette possesses all the charm and skill that makes her the self-proclaimed world's greatest thief. Imagine if Audrey Hepburn was ever cast as Catwoman, or if Amelie knew karate. Sure, she steals things, but in a Robin Hood kind of way. Except she keeps some things for herself and her loyal gang of urchins when she deems it appropriate. Paul Tobin's playful characters are rendered in Colleen Coover's beautiful watercolor style, homaging the French and Belgian comics of the past.

Picked by Geo in Prospect Lefferts Gardens


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Trash Cover Image
$12.75
ISBN: 9780452283510
Availability: On Our Shelves Now
Published: Penguin Books - September 24th, 2002

 

The stories found in Trash aren't for the timid reader—they chronicle the realities of extreme poverty as experienced in the South with inventive, engaging and graphic language, especially exploring hardships surrounding women and themes of survival. This book, particularly the story "River of Names," is arresting, wrenching and filled with as many accounts of love as horror. Trash is for readers who seek stories that will cut deep.

Picked by Kathryn in Fort Greene


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Slow Days, Fast Company: The World, The Flesh, and L.A. Cover Image
By Eve Babitz, Matthew Specktor (Introduction by)
$13.56
ISBN: 9781681370088
Availability: On Our Shelves Now
Published: NYRB Classics - August 30th, 2016

In the back of my mind, I thought, Anytime I want, I can forsake this dinner party and jump into real life.

 

Eve Babitz's life is a dinner party, but you can't hate her for it: she curates it perfectly and offers up each dish with wit and compassion. The backdrop is her glamorous, incomparable LA. She weaves her ideas into sensual yet hilarious portraits It's easy to float in and out of Eve's tipsy, extravagant world. 

Picked by Lily in Fort Greene


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Octavia's Brood: Science Fiction Stories from Social Justice Movements Cover Image
By Walidah Imarisha (Editor), Adrienne Maree Brown (Editor), Sheree Renee Thomas (Foreword by)
$15.30
ISBN: 9781849352093
Availability: On Our Shelves Now
Published: AK Press - April 7th, 2015

 

In this vibrant anthology inspired by Octavia Butler, editors adrienne maree brown and Walidah Imarisha make it boldly clear that envisioning worlds free of injustice is itself a revolutionary act of speculative fiction. They banded together writers, journalists, and community activists to create a collection centering marginalized folks at the intersections of race, class, gender, sexuality, and ability that is nourishing. These snapshots of apocalyptic futurescapes and fantastical regimes with people of color spotlighted as the heroes at every turn never shy away from the realities that POC inhabit on a daily basis – oppression, resistance, and radical imagination. 

Picked by Sherina in Fort Greene


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Gentlemen of the Road: A Tale of Adventure [title page only] Cover Image
$12.75
ISBN: 9780345502070
Availability: On Our Shelves Now
Published: Del Rey - September 30th, 2008

Michael Chabon says he originally wanted to call this adventure story Jews With Swords—set in medieval Europe, it draws from little-known Jewish history and legends, as well as the grand tradition of swashbuckling tales from Dumas to comic books.  It's an irresistibly charming miniature epic, with larger-than-life characters, hilarious tight scrapes and desperate pitched battles galore, and just enough of a love story to leave one filled with longing.  It's Chabon at his best, an explosion of brilliant sentences and pure joy in storytelling, that also manages to engage with the long history of both antisemitism and Jewish creativity.

Picked by Jessica in Fort Greene


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I Am Sorry to Think I Have Raised a Timid Son Cover Image
$13.60
ISBN: 9780804170444
Availability: On Our Shelves Now
Published: Vintage - February 9th, 2016

Each essay in this book is a wild ride, but when woven together they make a unique memoir of one man and his relationship with his father. Through the strange tales of others—including a disconcerting, up-close-and-personal look at a gathering of Juggalos (a subculture composed of fans of the Insane Clown Posse) and a man who is attempting to make himself immune to poison by seeking out bites from increasingly deadly snakes—this book is a hilarious and vulnerable exploration of the culture of masculinity in America, and the way it creates divides between men, the people they love, and quite often, themselves.

Picked by Katie in Fort Greene


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Rat Queens Volume 1: Sass & Sorcery Cover Image
$8.49
ISBN: 9781607069454
Availability: On Our Shelves Now
Published: Image Comics - April 8th, 2014

This rowdy crew is made up of crude and crass monster-slayers-for-hire, who get as much thrill from decapitating an evil dragon as a one-night-stand after a night of heavy drinking. For the Rat Queens, that oftentimes happens all in a row (with variations on order). Whatever (mis)adventures the Rat Queens have, they’re always entertaining. In short, Rat Queens is Lumberjanes for adults. 

Picked by Geo in Prospect Lefferts Gardens


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The Last Samurai Cover Image
$16.11
ISBN: 9780811225502
Availability: On Our Shelves Now
Published: New Directions Publishing Corporation - May 31st, 2016

Helen DeWitt's THE LAST SAMURAI hinges on coincidences and chance but is never sentimental.  Sibylla is a struggling single-mom, who works as both a secretary at a British publishing house and transcribes old issues of dated magazines after hours. Her ten-year-old son, Ludo, reads Homer in Greek on the Tube and speaks some half dozen languages, which appear throughout the novel.  Ludo wants to know who his father is, but Sibylla refuses, referring to the man only as Liberace.  Its eccentricity and odd structure is seductive, and DeWitt's disruption, rejection really, of what defines a novel, makes is proudly idiosyncratic, fragmented and intertextual. 

Picked by D. in Fort Greene


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Dhalgren Cover Image
$17.00
ISBN: 9780375706684
Availability: On Our Shelves Now
Published: Vintage - May 15th, 2001

 

Dhalgren is a novel of collapse, of shifting realities and slippages in time precipitated by some unknown cataclysmic event, or many, or is it just the fabric of systems unthreading? I love Dhalgren because it feels like now, it feels like the past, future, and never. It speaks to the way I experience life and time: discontinuous and supernatural; and how I experience society: fragile, painful, beautiful, horrific. This book is how a dystopian collapse would go down: physical structures might fall, go up in flames, but people will attempt to claw onto the last bits of power and order they know, while others exist as if they always knew this day would come. 

Picked by Rex in Prospect Lefferts Gardens


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News of the World: A Novel Cover Image
$13.59
ISBN: 9780062409218
Availability: On Our Shelves Now
Published: William Morrow Paperbacks - June 20th, 2017

At a time when many of us are questioning the contrived boundaries of masculinity, it’s a joy to get to know Jiles’s protagonist Captain Kidd, who is as hard-bitten as the classic heroes of the Western genre without sacrificing an ounce of compassion. I was touched by his frank affection for fierce little ten-year-old Johanna, who was taken from her white family years ago and raised by the Kiowa. Unprepared and unwilling to rejoin the world of forks and corsets, she proves to be a resourceful little hellion, and a wicked shot to boot. Kidd and Johanna make a delightful team, and I left feeling refreshed.

Picked by Sarah in Fort Greene


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The Book of Sand and Shakespeare's Memory Cover Image
By Jorge Luis Borges, Andrew Hurley (Translated by), Andrew Hurley (Introduction by), Andrew Hurley (Notes by)
$13.60
ISBN: 9780143105299
Availability: On Our Shelves Now
Published: Penguin Classics - December 18th, 2007

This collection is, for me, Borges’ most satisfying. I love his earlier stories as well, but here I feel the old tyke relax. Instead of working to prove his paradoxes airtight, he seems more apt to grin, delivering his fairytales and fantasies without obligation. In the first story, “The Other,” which recounts the meeting of two men named Borges, the older tells the younger, “Perhaps our dream will end, perhaps it won’t. Meanwhile, our clear obligation is to accept the dream, as we have accepted the universe and our having been brought into it and the fact that we see with our eyes and that we breathe.” 

Picked by Niko in Prospect Lefferts Gardens


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Son (Giver Quartet #4) Cover Image
$8.49
ISBN: 9780544336254
Availability: On Our Shelves Now
Published: HMH Books for Young Readers - May 6th, 2014

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


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Hunger Makes Me a Modern Girl: A Memoir Cover Image
$13.60
ISBN: 9780399184765
Availability: On Our Shelves Now
Published: Riverhead Books - October 25th, 2016

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


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Austerlitz Cover Image
By W.G. Sebald, James Wood (Introduction by)
$14.45
ISBN: 9780812982619
Availability: On Our Shelves Now
Published: Modern Library - December 6th, 2011

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


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All the World Cover Image
By Liz Garton Scanlon, Marla Frazee (Illustrator)
$15.29
ISBN: 9781416985808
Availability: On Our Shelves Now
Published: Beach Lane Books - September 8th, 2009

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 


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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
$15.30
ISBN: 9781250094735
Availability: On Our Shelves Now
Published: Picador - 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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How Should a Person Be?: A Novel from Life Cover Image
$15.30
ISBN: 9781250032447
Availability: On Our Shelves Now
Published: Picador - 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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Autobiography Cover Image
By Benvenuto Cellini, George Bull (Translated by), George Bull (Introduction by), George Bull (Notes by)
$14.45
ISBN: 9780140447187
Availability: On Our Shelves Now
Published: Penguin Classics - 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 - September 30th, 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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