Staff Picks

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All of the booksellers on the Greenlight Bookstore staff read widely, and each periodically recommends 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.



Prelude to Bruise (Paperback)

ISBN-13: 9781566893749
Availability: On Our Shelves Now
Published: Coffee House Press, 9/2014
This book is so good it will give you night sweats. Jones' debut collection, Prelude to Bruise, is a cross between James Baldwin's Giovanni's Room and a jukebox that plays only Nina Simone. Each poem radiates from unearthed insight into the history of sexuality, masculinity, repression and violence and how they encircle the black body. Both the devoured and the devourer, this book should be savored like the last slice of pie on earth. Get it in your life.



With My Dog Eyes (Paperback)

ISBN-13: 9781612193458
Availability: On Our Shelves Now
Published: Melville House, 4/2014
It's a frightening and beautiful effort in a long line of attempts to represent interiority on the page. It's a formal & figural ode to human brokenness. It's a really, really good book to read over a (several) drink(s) as you sit alone in the dark corner of the bar, or on the train home afterwards. Also, read it to your dogs.



ISBN-13: 9781595340757
Availability: On Our Shelves Now
Published: Trinity University Press, 7/2011
Aelian's zoological accounts are mostly ridiculous legends taken as fact, so when he stumbles on something resembling the truth it's almost a surprise. The whole thing is hilarious, made even better by the comically detached, earnest tone he uses to report on how bears are born as formless lumps, licked into shape by their mothers, or how starfish are at war with oysters. It's not 100% frivolous, though - there's plenty of real value for animal lovers interested in what Romans (apparently) believed about nature.



ISBN-13: 9780143105145
Availability: On Our Shelves Now
Published: Penguin Classics, 1/2008
This book has the most vividly haunting language I've ever read. Nothing stands still; Schulz's uncanny descriptions seesaw between being gorgeous and grotesque, and he stirs the grey objects of his world off the page with sudden vitality. He died young, so this short collection is all we have, but his stories are slow reads in the best way and only become more absorbing upon re-reading. Don't miss the chapter exploring the soul of a puppy.



ISBN-13: 9780544259003
Availability: On Our Shelves Now
Published: Clarion Books, 3/2014
Does Peggy know her way of life casts a dull, pallid light on the wasteland that is the life of a city chicken?  Bok. She only finds solace in her routine until the winds of fate whisk her away to the cold, disorienting, nightmare of modernity.  Peggy copes by following the sunflower of hope, the one thing that reminds her of home. Bok.  Peggy is one of us.  Peggy is all of us. And now, without further Bok, we present you: Peggy.


(Halley & Sam)

ISBN-13: 9781567923735
Availability: On Our Shelves Now
Published: David R. Godine Publisher, 7/2009
When I first read this I was taken with Perec's cleverness and the magnificent complexity of the story. And many years later I still am. He's created a universe in one apartment block. The craftiness of his architecture, the wit of his allusion - the result is playful but not frivolous.



Migrant (Hardcover)

ISBN-13: 9781419709579
Availability: On Our Shelves Now
Published: Harry N. Abrams, 4/2014
Accordion-style, this is a richly detailed yet simply illustrated black and white story book. The odd trimsize, the accordion, and the ribbon-tied packaging of the book gives it a very special and unique feel. One side tells the story in English, and the reverse side tells the same story in Spanish, both with accompanying illustration. It follows the challenging life of a rural Mexican family leading up to (and through) migration to the United States where they seek out work and income. It shows what this does to children and family, it shows the danger, the separation and the border crossing, as seen through children's eyes. It is a book that's worth spending some time with.



ISBN-13: 9780345441263
Availability: On Our Shelves Now
Published: Ballantine Books, 9/2000
Don't let the frivolous cover fool you - this is a smart, richly nuanced read that gives insight into the lives and minds of women in an Orthodox community in Memphis, TN. The insular community is shaken up when the main character Batsheva moves in and it changes the nature of the way the women and their daughters interact. Touching on how religion, tradition, family, and self reflection play out in the inner lives of women, this is a book with profound observation on how people navigate their world.



Words of Stone (Paperback)

ISBN-13: 9780060782306
Availability: On Our Shelves Now
Published: Greenwillow Books, 9/2005
This is the perfect summer read for anyone who is or has ever been a kid wandering though endless summer days. For anyone who has ever been too alone with their thoughts, for anyone who has ever encountered or yearned to encounter a magical summer friendship. Told in alternating chapters by Blaze and Joselle, Henkes creates two incredibly vivid and compelling characters, beautiful and flawed, two misfits-- one of the quiet variety and the other the loudmouth variety-- who discover that maybe, just maybe, they fit with each other.



The Basic Eight (Paperback)

ISBN-13: 9780060733865
Availability: On Our Shelves Now
Published: Ecco, 5/2006
Yearbook Contests This Book Wins:
- Best High School Novel Not Involving Wealthy Prep School Girls
- Best Unreliable Narrator Under 20
- Best Absinthe Trip Scene
- Best Non-Kids Book by Daniel Handler AKA Lemony Snicket
- Best Summer Read That Will Crack You Up While Creeping You Out, and Also Remind You Why You're So Glad High School Is Behind You



Valencia (Paperback)

ISBN-13: 9781580052382
Availability: On Our Shelves Now
Published: Seal Press, 3/2008
Ugh, THIS book. THIS book got me through the closet, my first heartbreak, my first breakup, and, possibly, my early twenties. Valencia is based on Michelle Tea's first year living in San Francisco in the 1990s and dissects her failed relationships and entrance into San Francisco's queer subculture. At times nostalgic, but mostly bitter, raw, and honest, Tea's prose packs a punch and her content... well... I'll just say it's not for the faint of heart.



Roxaboxen (Paperback)

ISBN-13: 9780060526337
Availability: On Our Shelves Now
Published: HarperCollins, 4/2004
Out of desert glass, crates, and cacti, a group of children create the town of Roxaboxen. Illustrator and author Barbara Cooney of Miss Rumphius teams up with Alice McLerran in this children's classic.



The Curse of Lono (Hardcover)

ISBN-13: 9783836548960
Availability: On Our Shelves Now
Published: Taschen, 7/2014
If you haven't read this one before, don't worry, it's a hard one to track down--literally.  In and out of print since 1983, The Curse of Lono periodically returns to be devoured by the masses, like the titular Hawaiian deity. Herein, we find the good doctor on a savage romp through our 50th state of the union, leading his last true charge in ultimate Gonzo fashion. I like to think of Lono as Gonzo journalism's grotesque self portrait, completed just before being relegated to the realm of caricature. While HST is in top form throughout, the real star of the show is Ralph Steadman, the incomparable who populates the pages with some of his most gloriously twisted renderings--in full, triumphant color! This gorgeous edition is one to snatch up before Lono goes away again.



ISBN-13: 9781416591818
Availability: On Our Shelves Now
Published: Scribner, 3/2012
One of the loveliest memoirs I've read to date.  Alexandra Styron paints a vivid portrait of her father, the famous novelist, William Styron (Sophie's Choice), a brilliant but difficult man and father.  Honest, endearing and absolutely delightful.



A Novel Bookstore (Paperback)

ISBN-13: 9781933372822
Availability: On Our Shelves Now
Published: Europa Editions, 8/2010
A secret committee of booklovers and writers open a bookstore in Paris that claims to sell only the very best that literature has to offer. When one of the committee members is gravely hurt, the rest of group looks outside to its enemies, other readers and writers who are disturbed by the bookstore's apparent snobbery. A fun, dark comedy about reading, books, criticism and literary snobbery. Which side are you on?



ISBN-13: 9781771000284
Availability: On Our Shelves Now
Published: Douglas & McIntyre, 8/2012
When an 80-ton fin whale gets trapped in Aldridges Pond in Burgeo, a small fishing village on the south coast of Newfoundland, resident naturalist Farley Mowat envisioned the wide gap of understanding between humans and whales cinched just a tiny bit. To his shock and dismay, he ends up wrestling with the notion that man will always be savage. How such an animal, one for whom man has held such fascination for centuries, has also inspired such violence, is perhaps a mystery as big as the whales themselves.



ISBN-13: 9781582344775
Availability: On Our Shelves Now
Published: Bloomsbury USA, 4/2005
It's hot and humid down in the subway and all you can do is stare at the rats. There's no internet down there. But there's this book! This book about rats! You're learning and because of Robert Sullivan's most awesome prose it's also a page turner! He turns over a rock and discovers something new, or, in this case walks into an alley and discovers the whole history of rats along with where they came from and how they move through the city. Also fun facts about exterminators and the Revolutionary War. Not to mention there was a Rat King of New York. Bet you're wondering what that means...



Parched (Hardcover)

ISBN-13: 9780823429493
Availability: On Our Shelves Now
Published: Holiday House, 3/2014
For those still feeling hungry after Suzanne Collins' epic trilogy exploded through their lives, may I suggest plunging into the world of Eden and the Badlands, where a heroine even more conflicted than Katniss Everdeen navigates a dystopia even more disturbingly familiar.  A ravaged landscape of poverty with one (walled) oasis of plenty, a gang of scrappy eco-terrorist teenagers pitted against an intractable system, an extremely human android (or two) who might or might not be able to overcome their programming, and some swooningly convincing romantic moments make this an addicting and often surprising read -- and like Collins' tale of economic inequality, it's a book whose extreme readability belies some serious ideas just beneath the surface.



Giant Dance Party (Hardcover)

ISBN-13: 9780061960833
Availability: On Our Shelves Now
Published: Greenwillow Books, 4/2013
What do you do if you love to dance, but performing in front of an audience turns you into an ice pop? You start a school for dance. What do you do if no one signs up to take lessons from you... and then a bunch of giants ask you to teach THEM how to dance? In this funny and warm and wonderfully illustrated book, we learn that you say YES. It turns out that anyone can get stage fright, even giants. But it also turns out that anyone can dance, and that giant dance parties are very, very fun.



The Whingdingdilly (Paperback)

ISBN-13: 9780395313817
Availability: On Our Shelves Now
Published: Sandpiper, 4/1982
Scamp is sick of being a boring old farm dog, so he asks a witch to turn him into something else.  Unfortunately, that "else" turns out to be a whingdingdilly...a creature who looks more like a quilt than a true animal.  The perfect book for parents and kids who breeze through picture books but aren't quite ready for read-aloud chapter books.



The Great Gatsby (Paperback)

ISBN-13: 9780743273565
Availability: On Our Shelves Now
Published: Scribner, 10/2004

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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