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 September 17, 2019.
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
In Bresson’s writings, one encounters an elegant spirit similar to that of his films, where poetically concise distillations of life are elusive enough to be elevated beyond immediate understanding. This collection of aphoristic musings covers an array of cinematic concerns; however, one could transpose many of these ideas into other creative realms beyond the silver screen. Bresson, an aesthete with spiritual pursuits, is a master of restraint, conjuring a sense of existential calm even in the briefest note: “One single mystery of persons and objects. Not to use two violins when one is enough.”
Picked by David in Fort Greene
Fleeing a failed fling by flying from Berlin to Paris (linguistically, culturally, emotionally)—a young French pianist recounts where she thinks she went wrong, with a particular focus on her tryst with a supposedly-genius composer. Not quite a monologue, all anxious musicality, her all-too-relatable remembrances create a cresting voyeuristic anxiety in the reader, building to an almost unbearable finish. Did I mention it's laugh-out-loud funny? For fans of Molly Bloom, melancholic Euro-lit, monologues, classical music & digressions.
Picked by Abe in Fort Greene
At the center of this thought-provoking, suspenseful novel is Judith Carrigan, a transgender woman reckoning with a tragic incident in her past. She could serve as an exonerating witness for an old friend, but to do so she'd have to annihilate the carefully drawn line between her pre- and post-transition selves. As much a meditation on identity as it is a page-turny mystery.
Picked by Sarah in Fort Greene
Henry Gamadge: rare book expert, occasional spy, and amateur sleuth in 1940s New York. Daly writes cozies in the Agatha Christie vein, but mid-century urban America is so texturally dense that it feels like reading about an alien planet; what even are the rules about hats? How does checking into a hotel work? What social faux pas just made everyone feel awkward? It makes for a meta-mystery that's kind of addicting, and Gamadge is such a good guy in a sea of incompetence, pettiness, and prejudice that it's a delight to hang out with him.
Picked by Jessica in Fort Greene
In this circular story, a stroller gets passed down from family to family, highlighting the spirit of giving, community, and friendship. It's a lovely read aloud that will inspire generosity in little and big humans alike.
Picked by Rebecca 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
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
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
Easily one of my top five favorite novels that I've read in the last several years. Deborah Levy is the kind of writer whose words carry you forward just because you don't want to stop reading her beautiful sentences. She's a master of portraying immense amounts of emotion in just a few words and creating characters who feel unique, surprising, and alive. This book is a beautiful and clever examination of what it means to be a woman and a daughter finding one's way in the world.
Picked by Katie in Fort Greene
This book is a bit of craft writing, secret history, and geology behind every classic pigment of the painters' palette. It's fascinating content that lasts in the mind, written with a light touch perfect for a summer full of museum visits. I read this one in art school, despite all the other reading I had to do, and it still informs how I look at a painting.
Picked by Emily in Fort Greene
In the Next Room has been one of my favorites for many, many years running; A poetic examination of intimacy, female friendship, and sexuality that somehow makes you laugh hysterically one moment and weep openly the next, this play will have you in pieces by the time you reach the climax.
Picked by Rose in Fort Greene
Anne Boyer might be the Baudelaire of the twenty-first century. Describing feeling and its absence in a world of shock, Boyer gives form to a kind of life that has only emerged recently, a life amid precarity, numbness and infoxication. In advance of her new book The Undying, out in September, I wanted to bring back this excellent 2015 book of prose poems, or essays, or memoir fragments, or philosophical theses on writing, sewing and other impossible acts.
Picked by Michael in Fort Greene
Originally published in 1950 and only recently translated, this Argentine novel explores the life of a 17-year-old girl who spends her days ignoring her family in favor of watching the people living in the house across the street. This lost gem of Latin American literature is as mesmerizing as is it haunting and dark - building an oppressive atmosphere of domestic life. A quick read that demands every page to be examined. Perfect for fans of Clarice Lispector and Virginia Woolf.
Picked by Oswald in Fort Greene
Everyone wants to be the heroine of their own life, but it’s hard when everything personal turns upside down. This book takes a mysterious place among the likes of Octavia Butler's Parable of the Sower and Naomi Shihab Nye's poetry. Almost immediately you're swept up by the fears of a poor, young, and pregnant woman making her way in the climate-change havoc world. This novel is rooted in how indigenous identity frames every experience you have - raising more questions than answers in Erdrich's distinctive prose-style.
Picked by Jackie in Fort Greene
Raymond Roussel was an aristocratic dandy convinced of his own literary genius who looked like Hercule Poirot and wrote like Jules Verne on LSD. The dude also authored some deliciously strange books, which read like schematics for dream architectures, often crafted by employing elaborate self-devised constraints and methods. This collection of his shorter works may be the best place of all to jump into Roussel's bizarre oeuvre. It's an absolute treat, making perfectly evident why the Surrealists, Oulipo, Foucalt, and the New York School poets held him so dear.
Picked by Jarrod in Fort Greene
Considering the character's prestige as a pop culture icon, a good Batman story must simultaneously reaffirm its established mythos while offering a new take, and Sean Murphy does both. By recasting the Joker as a rehabilitated seeker of redemption and Batman as an unpredictable source of fear, Batman: White Knight pulls it off, joining the club of classic Batman stories that include Frank Miller's The Dark Knight Returns and Jeph Loeb's Hush.
Picked by Geo in Prospect Lefferts Gardens
Richard Yates' 1961 classic is so much more than the on-screen reunion of Leo and Kate. April and Frank Wheeler are suburban perfection, a middle-class family who seems to have it all but fumble for more. Yates writes with heartbreaking clarity about identity, familial roles and dreams just out of reach. The truth revealed and the suspense created linger long after the last page.
Picked by Wynne 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.