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.
This book is my ultimate favorite! The way Plath describes this specific time in her life through the character of Esther Greenwood gives so much truth and power to mental health being so important and to the idea that we need to take care of ourselves. Most people find this book to be dark, but I feel quite the opposite, I enjoy the richness and clarity in Plath's words and images such that I am able to find the joy and humor in this novel. Also for Plath fans, check out her playlist on Spotify -- she reads her own poetry! It is delightful!
I really enjoyed Made for Love; it was quirky, hilarious, edgy and at times outlandish, but it kept me reading and held my attention, which is saying a lot for audio fiction. If you have a slightly off-kilter sense of humor and are ready for the unexpected, Made for Love is a great choice for you.
Here is a debut book by an Eastern European writer, published by a new independent press in Seattle. It’s an extended essay in the original, Montaigne sense, a kind of walking around and inventorying of the maze of memory and experience. For fans of Anne Boyer, WG Sebald, and everything in between.
If you’re not sure where to begin with short story collections, this is it. Tenth of December is the absolute best of what short fiction can be. It singlehandedly changed my perspective of the form and renewed my love for writing and reading at a time when I had lost sight of the wondrous possibilities of what fiction can do. In turns poignant, hilarious, and heart-wrenching, Saunders is a master of making you laugh while you cry, of showing the absurdities of life in all its multitudes, of reminding us that the act of being human is an inherently absurd endeavor that is nothing if not strange, a little painful, and - if you remember to look closely - uniquely beautiful because of those very things.
The Chilean director, author, and creator of Psychomagic, Alejandro Jodorowsky's book, Where the Bird Sings Best, is a surreal, mystical and magical story about his Jewish ancestors' immigration from Russia to Chile. The book mythologizes his family's journey through fantastic fables and psychedelic magical realism interwoven with esoteric imagery. At times both brutal and beautiful, Where the Bird Sings Best pays homage to his ancestors like only Jodorowsky can.
Baby Ralph is taking in the world around him: sound, shapes, colors, soft foods, Baldwin, Ellison, Balzac, etc. Although he has limitations, his genius astonishes everyone except himself. A book that mixes an outrageous kidnap plot with philosophical theory to dizzying satisfaction, Percival Everett proves again why he is one of the most underrated American authors working today.
A simultaneous interpreter in Buenos Aires leaves her job in hopes of living by rules of silence she developed in her manifesto. Mara’s new job as a museum security guard in a rural Argentine town seems ideal until her enlistment in a massive taxidermy project compromises her commitment to silence. Mara’s impact on her new community is messy and fascinating, and her single-minded pursuit of her strange ambition makes the novel perfect for fans of Sayaka Murata’s Convenience Store Woman.
This isn’t a book so much as a river. There are no periods, but you won’t be needing them. It pulls you through time—both linear and emotional--like nothing else. The second volume comes out March 17.
Pugtato finds a Thing, and begins a quest to discover what the Thing actually is. He asks his friends (surely someone must know), but nobody knows Thing's true purpose even though they pretend to. Everything in this story is deeply endearing from the gleam in this potato-pug's eye, to its perfect rotund shape, to its aptly named friends ("tomatoad" wow!). If you're in need of a hug in book form, this here is the book for you. Continue the fun: Pugtato Let's Be Best Spuddies comes out in March."
This is a great collection of short stories highlighting the cases of hard-boiled Private Investigator Jack Cardigan of the Cosmos Agency. It has all of the crackle and pop and sardonic wit of the Pulp Fiction written during the mid 1930’s and all of the suspense and intrigue of the period too. The crispness of the dialogue just pulls you in like a vortex and takes you under, back into another world and time when coffee costs a nickel but crime still didn’t pay; these stories are great escapist material and anyone who is a fan of Dashiell Hammett, Raymond Chandler or Cornell Woolrich will love this book. I hadn’t read these stories in two decades but when I picked this collection up again it reminded me why I love this era of American Mystery fiction so much.
Diving into the rich and varied lives of four women anthropologists who defined how we consider race and gender King writes with great insight and occasional humor about what society thought of them. Especially intriguing is the writing about Ella Deloria, a Dakota Sioux activist who wrote extensively about the Great Plains Native Americans. Take this book for inspiration and hope in carrying forward the incredible diversity of peoples living on Earth.
At a time when it's easy to get stuck in the doldrums, this slim volume of Sacks's work covers a range of philosophical and scientific subjects with the sort of depth, joy, and genuine curiosity needed to get your mind wandering again. Pick any essay depending on your mood and delve into the way time travels when you're busy or bored, or the way creativity takes a bit of aimless forgetting, or what exactly we're asking someone when we say "how are you?" A discursive pleasure from start to finish that tickled the sad sack in me.
This book is an accessible yet informative deep dive into social infrastructure and how it's affected American society in the past and the present (pre-pandemic), and how strategic and thoughtful planning around building intentional community networks, either physically/architecturally or socially, can affect how we function in the future. For example, in the 1995 Chicago heat wave, neighborhoods that had strong community networks, where people helped their neighbors, got through the crisis far better than disconnected neighborhoods. We weather storms better together. I read and deeply appreciated this book long before Covid and I've been thinking a lot about it again recently, as we start to shift toward the next phase of the pandemic: burgeoning rebuilding and recovery.
In the world of Deadendia, there's a portal to hell in the haunted house ride at Pollywood (like Dollywood, but maybe sort of ... evil?). The tone is more rollicking than scary, as the staff (trans gay teen Barney and his best friend Norma) navigate social anxiety, romantic complications, pet care, time travel, and keeping peace between planes of existence. I love these characters so much, and their saga has as much crazy wow-factor as a Marvel blockbuster, but with way more ethical accountability.
Set in a post-war Swiss boarding school, Fleur Jaeggy’s brief novel reads like a prose poem, excavating the pangs of youthful infatuation through the prism of time misplaced – and possibly misremembered. By turns haunting and tender, this selection pairs well with the arrival of cool autumn evenings.
A perennial favorite and one of the sources of our name, Fitzgerald's masterpiece is always a staff pick at Greenlight Bookstore.
Molly, a paleobotanist, is at her wits' end taking care of her two children while her husband is away on a business trip. One night a masked intruder slips into her home. What follows is a Twilight Zone episode that burrows and tendrils out into the safe spaces of your mind. Part thriller, part metaphysical nightmare, Phillips works her magic into the primal need to know oneself.
A delightful story about magic, identity, and growing into your family. Aster knows he is drawn to witchcraft, even though in his family that kind of magic is only for girls. With the help of a new friend (Team Charlie for life!) he embraces who he is and uses his gifts to save everyone from a mysterious, threatening force. A fun and thrilling story for young readers, but, hey, no age-ism here! Be the kid—and the witch—you were meant to be!
Thank goodness I read this for a book club because woah did I need to talk about it afterwards. It is quite possibly a perfect book, both in story and in structure. It follows the trip a Mexican woman takes from Mexico to the U.S. in search of her brother, and all the complexity surrounding her border crossing. But it doesn't just address the physical crossing (which is arduous and dangerous), Herrera also weaves in the mental and emotional logistics that surround human migration, cultural shifts, senses of place and of displacement, and the ensuing language shifts that a migrating person needs to navigate. It is short enough, and beautiful enough, that you may want to read it, then re-read it.
It's comforting to know that in this topsy-turvy world, we have stories like this one: a delightfully illustrated and tender reminder that cherished days with people you love are what make life magnificent, even when things don't go exactly as planned…