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.


 

 

Commentary (Paperback)

$15.00
ISBN-13: 9781937027100
Availability: On Our Shelves Now
Published: Ugly Duckling Presse, 12/2013
Marcelle Sauvageot is the missing link in a chain of badass literary French feminists, one that includes Colette, Simone De Beauvoir, and Marguerite Duras. Completed shortly before her death in 1934, Commentary was Sauvageot's only book--but what a book! At just under 100 pages, this book encompasses memoir, theory, fiction, epistle, love, rage, confession, confusion, despair.... Above all, Sauvageot is honest; sometimes brutal, but always honest.

 

(Jarrod)


On Boxing (Paperback)

$12.74
ISBN-13: 9780060874506
Availability: On Our Shelves Now
Published: Harper Perennial Modern Classics, 9/2006
So here's the deal: I love boxing, but Joyce Carol Oates?... not so much. With that, Joyce Carol Oates on boxing...I'm a fan of that. Oates' father was a huge boxing aficionado and this love - waxed nostalgia - is shared by Oates. Oates provides those new and old to the sport historical and philosophical context, from its founding in ancient Greece up to its complicated relationship with race in America. Her profiles of Jack Johnson, Muhammad Ali, and Mike Tyson will stick with you for some time and, at a minimum, seeing Joyce Carol Oates fan-girl OUT is worth the read.

 

(Grace)


The Whingdingdilly (Paperback)

$8.46
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.

 

(Grace)


$11.86
ISBN-13: 9781400078219
Availability: On Our Shelves Now
Published: Anchor, 1/2006
Every time I run a hot bath I think of this novel -- it has the most detailed instructions for the perfect bath I've ever read. But it also asks the unsettling question of whether you would give up such physical pleasures if the well-being of a friend depended on it. And what if it's not a friend, but a stranger? And what if we're not talking about a bath, but the prospect of torture? The story is a dreamlike adventure, Kafka meets J. D. Salinger, and the title alone is doing all sorts of philosophical work. Read to be provoked and engrossed and haunted (and let me know if you agree about the bath).

 

(Jessica)


$12.75
ISBN-13: 9781250039453
Availability: On Our Shelves Now
Published: Picador, 8/2013
Contributors and editors of the literary magazine n+1 are really nailing this whole "debut book that adroitly examines masculinity and the modern literary life" thing lately (see also: The Art of Fielding and Necessary Errors). Marco Roth's excellent memoir is a literary investigation into a family mystery, and I choose this title somewhat selfishly as a bookseller because it is just one of those books that can only lead to the reader buying more books. I recommend it especially if you enjoyed Alison Bechdel's Fun Home or the documentary Stories We Tell.

 

(Matt)


$12.75
ISBN-13: 9780374534295
Availability: On Our Shelves Now
Published: Farrar, Straus and Giroux, 2/2014
A Los Angeles novel of strange regard. Christa Wolf's pseudo- (or is it quasi-?) autobiographical tale of self-exiled German artists and thinkers three years after the fall of the Berlin Wall desperately tries to make sense of the memories tied to place, all of which are slowly unraveling.

 

(Geo)


Little Bird (Hardcover)

$14.41
ISBN-13: 9781592701186
Availability: On Our Shelves Now
Published: Enchanted Lion Books, 4/2012
Minimal text and the elegant (but humorous) images of Little Bird dance together to create a narrative about the importance of paying attention to the little things and everyone's favorite: sharing!  When a flock of birds flies out the back of his truck the protagonist, a balding overall-clad man, soon learns that sometimes when we sit down for a sandwich, we are in for much, much more...

 

(Halley)


Zeroville (Paperback)

$13.60
ISBN-13: 9781933372396
Availability: On Our Shelves Now
Published: Europa Editions, 11/2007
It is hard to find novels that capture California well. This is because, as Erikson has proved, California is not a novel at all, but a thousand movies. Fast-forward (or rewind) to the reclusive Vikar, a film-obsessed, anarcho-punk, Philadelphia transplant, and experimental film-editor-to-be with Montgomery Clift and Elizabeth Taylor tattooed on his head. Back-drop: seventies Hollywood--Manson and Iggy hovering in the dust. Foreground: 400 micro-chapters moshing through the interior violence of Vikar's head. A great, surprisingly accessible book.

 

(Will)


$16.11
ISBN-13: 9781556520044
Availability: On Our Shelves Now
Published: Chicago Review Press, 4/2012
Journalist Michael Hennessey said, "You have the impression that [Coltrane] expresses himself so completely and comprehensively in his music that when it comes to interviews there is little left to say." Coltrane's soft-spoken nature does seem to offset his dynamic playing style, but there are gems of insight within these pages as well as intimate moments from the private world of one of jazz's most important performers.

 

(Geo)


$14.45
ISBN-13: 9780684862583
Availability: On Our Shelves Now
Published: Simon & Schuster, 1/2005
As a pseudo-sequel to his 70s New Hollywood bible Easy Riders, Raging Bulls, Peter Biskind charts the transition from a truly independent cinema movement in the 90s to the "Indie Movie," in scare-quotes, a corporate-funded genre. This page-turner gets into the gossip-y nitty-gritty of a time long ago when Sundance and Harvey "Scissorhands" Weinstein were just on the rise, long before Kevin Smith was kicked off a plane for being too fat or Steve Soderbergh "retired" and started writing novels on Twitter, when America had a flirtation with an exciting New New Hollywood.

 

(Matt)


Book of Longing (Paperback)

$11.89
ISBN-13: 9780061125614
Availability: On Our Shelves Now
Published: Ecco, 6/2007
Leonard Cohen wrote most of these poems on top of Mount Baldy while he was living in robes, hanging out with an old friend who happened to be a Zen Master, and coping with his depression. Cohen returned to the city, but these lustful, wise, and often hilarious poems reveal him at one of his many peaks.

 

(Kurt)


Piano Stories (Paperback)

$14.41
ISBN-13: 9780811221801
Availability: On Our Shelves Now
Published: New Directions Publishing Corporation, 1/2014
Felisberto Hernández, one of the hidden jewels of 20th-cent. short fiction, is a beautiful translator of the peculiar language of memories--both their impetus and effect. Try to imagine a very old hotel in an unfamiliar country. It's the kind of place that takes on borders and residents for indeterminate lengths of time. Both Franz Kafka and Bruno Schulz kept rooms here, while Julio Cortazar worked for a time as concierge. There is a player piano running constantly in the lobby, whose music can be heard anywhere in the hotel, making each room more peaceful or eerie depending on the time of day.

 

(Jarrod)


The Instructions (Paperback)

$15.30
ISBN-13: 9781936365166
Availability: On Our Shelves Now
Published: McSweeney's, 7/2011
I can't write a blurb good enough for this book, one of the best books I have ever read, will ever read. I know it looks long. It's not. The pages fly by and you will miss each after it is gone. Gurion Maccabee is a lover, a fighter, a scholar, and maybe the messiah. He is 10 years old and he is an incomparable narrator. I would stay with him forever, but he's only got four days and 1,000 pages to tell of all that led up to the Events of November 17. Funnier and fiercer and braver and wiser, more compassionate and more savage, more romantic and more devastating than anything else out there, I swear. It's everything.

 

(Annie)


Ask the Dust (Paperback)

$12.74
ISBN-13: 9780060822552
Availability: On Our Shelves Now
Published: Harper Perennial Modern Classics, 2/2006
Join the fumbling and endearing Arturo Bandini as he fights his way to become a writer during the Great Depression in Los Angeles. It's all in this one - love, rejection, humor, grit, and a hope that can't be squashed.

 

(Kurt)


The Insomniacs (Hardcover)

$14.44
ISBN-13: 9780399256653
Availability: On Our Shelves Now
Published: Putnam Juvenile, 8/2012
Yawn, the sun is going down and it's bedtime. Or is it? Not for the Insomniacs, who have moved halfway around the world and are faced with a scheduling dilemma. Suddenly, day is night and night is day. Mr. and Mrs. Insomniac and their children are now a night family. Drenched in eerie illustrations, they find that they much prefer the night and their new nocturnal lifestyle. They are no longer just another day family. Alternate title: Jet Lag Primer.

 

(Halley)


The Great Perhaps (Paperback)

$12.71
ISBN-13: 9780393304565
Availability: On Our Shelves Now
Published: W. W. Norton & Company, 4/2010
I believe Joe Meno is one of the most underrated contemporary writers working today.  His 2009 novel, The Great Perhaps, rivals the work of Jonathan Franzen, Tom Perrotta and other great authors who are fascinated by the modern (and often dysfunctional) family.  I hope you'll enjoy this as much as I did.

 

(Emily)


No Fits, Nilson! (Hardcover)

$14.44
ISBN-13: 9780803738522
Availability: On Our Shelves Now
Published: Dial, 6/2013
Sometimes a kid's moods can seem like a giant blue gorilla: great fun to play with, a little scary when things get out of hand.  In OHora's sweetly beguiling book, Amelia's (maybe imaginary?) friend Nilson needs constant reminders to behave, but like Maurice Sendak's Wild Things, also helps her master her own chaotic impulses. The retro-chunky illustrations also illuminate the joys of banana ice cream and some very stylish watches.

 

(Jessica)


Daytripper (Paperback)

$16.99
ISBN-13: 9781401229696
Availability: On Our Shelves Now
Published: Vertigo, 2/2011
Daytripper is many things. It's a love letter to the authors' native Brazil, its particular color and flavor. It's a super hip, award-winning graphic novel by two superstar comics creators who are frequent collaborators of Gerard Way of My Chemical Romance. It's also a meditation on mortality and the meaning of life. Each section is a day in the life of the same man: the day of his death, at 11, 23, 30... and a look at what his life might have meant if that day was the end of it. It's trippy, beautiful, upsetting and satisfying, and like no other book I've ever read.

 

(Jessica)


The Devil in Silver (Paperback)

$12.75
ISBN-13: 9780812982251
Availability: On Our Shelves Now
Published: Spiegel & Grau, 9/2013
Victor LaValle is a novelist of ideas, crossed with a pop culture junkie, with a huge helping of compassionate humanist thrown in. The Devil In Silver adds to the tradition of literature about mental illness, from One Flew Over the Cuckoo's Nest on, with a motley crew in a dysfunctional Queens mental health facility battling the Devil, the system, and their own internal demons.  Devourable reading for anyone with a feeling for social justice or a taste for the uncanny in their fiction.

 

(Jessica)


Shantytown (Paperback)

$11.86
ISBN-13: 9780811219112
Availability: On Our Shelves Now
Published: New Directions Publishing Corporation, 11/2013
Oh, Cesar Aira, you have done it again. Shantytown reminds me how powerful stories can be, how people’s lives intertwine just as delicately and with just as much fragility as pirated lights strung above a shantytown - always delivering a new message to those who know where to look. A new drug, a corrupt police officer, and a charmingly curious, rather slow narrator drive both the mystery and the beauty of Shantytown. As a New Yorker, you will thank him for the perfect "slip it in your back pocket" packaging when you tear your nose away from his books long enough to leave the house.

 

(Halley)


Proxy (Paperback)

$12.75
ISBN-13: 9780982338797
Availability: On Our Shelves Now
Published: Belladonna, 4/2013
Queer, raunchy, devastating, hysterical, Proxy is the poetry book to read when you’ve fallen in love, out of love, or just need a reason to avoid the affair altogether.

 

(Grace)


Sweet and Vicious (Paperback)

$12.75
ISBN-13: 9780385335690
Availability: On Our Shelves Now
Published: Dial Press Trade Paperback, 8/2005
Henry falls for Grace instantly upon meeting her at the car wash. She hops into his car and they team up for adventure and action. Henry has recently come into the possession of a large quantity of stolen diamonds and when Grace discovers this, she is having none of it. Grace's attempts to stay true to her morals make Henry want to be a better man (although he struggles). They proceed to race across America offloading the diamonds while being pursued by gangsters and crooks who think the diamonds are rightfully theirs. A sexy, rollicking contemporary take on Bonnie and Clyde.

 

(Rebecca)


The Great Gatsby (Paperback)

$12.75
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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