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 4, 2019.


 

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Ocean of Sound: Ambient Sound and Radical Listening in the Age of Communication Cover Image
By David Toop, Michel Faber (Foreword by)
$13.56
ISBN: 9781788160308
Availability: On Our Shelves Now
Published: Serpent's Tail - October 30th, 2018

David Toop guides readers on an excavation of sound documentation, cataloging sonic explorations throughout the 20th century: from a never-realized collaboration between Edgard Varèse & Charlie Parker to the new-German sounds of Kraftwerk. Recordings of Amazonian frog choirs are discussed with the same reverence as a Tokyo radio station where programming schedules reflect tidal patterns. This is a book about the transcendent nature of listening with patience & care, which we should all consider in this age of elaborate distraction.

Picked by David in Fort Greene


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The United States of Paranoia: A Conspiracy Theory Cover Image
$13.59
ISBN: 9780062135568
Availability: On Our Shelves Now
Published: Harper Perennial - October 14th, 2014

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


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Last Things (Vintage Contemporaries) Cover Image
$14.41
ISBN: 9781101872079
Availability: On Our Shelves Now
Published: Vintage - March 17th, 2015

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


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Blow-Up: And Other Stories Cover Image
$13.60
ISBN: 9780394728810
Availability: On Our Shelves Now
Published: Pantheon - February 12th, 1985

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


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Teacher/Pizza Guy (Made in Michigan Writers) Cover Image
$14.44
ISBN: 9780814347157
Availability: On Our Shelves Now
Published: Wayne State University Press - August 26th, 2019

These everyman's poems about teaching high school, working night shifts and part time jobs, delivering pizza, etc., are a wonder and a delight. Kass captures the small moments in the broad swath of life's fullness, but doesn't get bogged down by them. This is no oppressive working class tale-telling, it's a celebration of all the little things that make up complicated life.

Picked by Rebecca in Prospect Lefferts Gardens


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Weaveworld Cover Image
$16.99
ISBN: 9780743417358
Availability: On Our Shelves Now
Published: Gallery Books - April 1st, 2001

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


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Illuminations Cover Image
By Arthur Rimbaud, John Ashbery (Translator)
$13.56
ISBN: 9780393341829
Availability: On Our Shelves Now
Published: W. W. Norton & Company - October 29th, 2012

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


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Afterworlds Cover Image
$11.04
ISBN: 9781481422352
Availability: On Our Shelves Now
Published: Simon Pulse - September 29th, 2015

Surviving a terrorist attack will change everything... especially the rules of living on this plane of existence. This book tells two stories, one of an inter-dimensional ghost love story and the other of the rising young star, Darcy, who wrote the love story and is now trying to make it in New York's publishing scene. Westerfeld masterfully keeps readers guessing in a thrilling novel that gives voice to fears about everything from falling in love, to surviving a mass shooting, to learning how to keep friends in the adult world for the first time. 

Picked by Jackie in Fort Greene


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Safari Honeymoon Cover Image
$12.75
ISBN: 9781927668047
Availability: On Our Shelves Now
Published: Koyama Press - June 3rd, 2014

Jesse Jacobs has long been a leader in the Canadian underground comics scene, and it’s easy to understand why with one peek at Safari Honeymoon. A poetic and humorous voice within a community that's known to break with the conventions of visual storytelling, I findJacobs' work to be well worth pouring over multiple times. His attention to detail with both dialogue and illustrative form makes for a body work that’s a pleasure to recommend!

Picked by Joey in Fort Greene


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Twist in the Tale Cover Image
$19.54
ISBN: 9781250102003
Availability: On Our Shelves Now
Published: St. Martins Press-3PL - December 1st, 2004

I discovered this work by (Sir) Jeffrery Archer over 30 years ago. If you enjoy reading well-written short-stories in the vein of Graham Greene and W. Somerset Maugham--stories that have both a literary and cinematic quality with a bit of a twist--you too will surely enjoy this particular offering by Mr. Archer. 

Picked by Mustafa in Fort Greene 


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The Round House: A Novel Cover Image
$14.44
ISBN: 9780062065254
Availability: On Our Shelves Now
Published: Harper Perennial - September 24th, 2013

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


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Blue Self-Portrait Cover Image
By Noemi Lefebvre, Sophie Lewis (Translator)
$13.56
ISBN: 9781945492105
Availability: On Our Shelves Now
Published: Transit Books - April 3rd, 2018

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


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Long Black Veil: A Novel Cover Image
$13.60
ISBN: 9780451496331
Availability: On Our Shelves Now
Published: Broadway Books - January 9th, 2018

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


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Unexpected Night (Henry Gamadge Mysteries #1) Cover Image
$12.71
ISBN: 9781937384777
Availability: On Our Shelves Now
Published: Felony & Mayhem - October 7th, 2013

 

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


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On Immunity: An Inoculation Cover Image
$13.60
ISBN: 9781555977207
Availability: On Our Shelves Now
Published: Graywolf Press - September 15th, 2015

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


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The Vast Fields of Ordinary Cover Image
$7.64
ISBN: 9780142418208
Availability: On Our Shelves Now
Published: Speak - March 17th, 2011

Fans of Simon vs. The Homo Sapiens Agenda, I proffer you this gem of a book, dusted off from when I first read it years ago during a transitional summer of my own. One of the rare coming-of-age stories that takes place not in high school (we meet our narrator at the start of summer following his graduation), and draws from "rom-coms" and "coming out" stories without getting stuck in their sappier conventions, TVFOO is expertly woven with Nick Burd's vivid prose and brings us a main character both complicated and instantly recognizable. This one's for those who need a reminder that the world is ultimately vast, and that we never run out of room to be who we are. 

Picked by Austin in Prospect Lefferts Gardens


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Pippi Longstocking: The Strongest in the World! Cover Image
$16.96
ISBN: 9781770462151
Availability: On Our Shelves Now
Published: Drawn and Quarterly - October 20th, 2015

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


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In the Next Room: Or the Vibrator Play Cover Image
$11.86
ISBN: 9781559363600
Availability: On Our Shelves Now
Published: Theatre Communications Group - November 16th, 2010

 

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


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Batman: White Knight Cover Image
$16.99
ISBN: 9781401279592
Availability: On Our Shelves Now
Published: DC Black Label - October 9th, 2018

 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


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Revolutionary Road (Vintage Contemporaries) Cover Image
$14.41
ISBN: 9780375708442
Availability: On Our Shelves Now
Published: Vintage - April 25th, 2000

 

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


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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.