Who can you always count on when you’re in a bind and need a good book? Your neighborhood bookstore, of course, whose employees read all the newest books before you do. That’s why we’re launching this semi-regular column featuring must-reads, handpicked and written about by the staff at some of our favorite independent bookstores in Brooklyn.
“The Imperfectionists” is one of the most original stories I have come across as it follows the lives of a group of people working at an international newspaper based in Rome, Italy. Each chapter introduces us to a new character while maintaining the common thread of the life of the newspaper. It still amazes me how author Tom Rachman was able to capture the pivotal point in a character’s life while showing all of their imperfections. This is a must-read!
— Bina Valenzano, co-owner, The BookMark Shoppe [8415 Third Ave. between 84th and 85th streets in Bay Ridge, (718) 833-5115].
We’re big China Mieville fans at Greenlight, and his newest novel in paperback, “Kraken,” is suspenseful, thought-provoking, sometimes scary and often funny — perfect for springtime beach or park reading. In fantasist Mieville’s version of London, the supernatural realm is the territory of gangland thugs, cult leaders and a special branch of the police. They’ve all got theories about the coming apocalypse — which seems to be connected to the magical disappearance of a rare giant squid from a museum. Full of unforgettable images and bizarre characters, the novel is a race against time and through Mieville’s incomparable imagination.
— Jessica Stockton Bagnulo, co-owner, Greenlight Bookstore [686 Fulton St. between S. Elliott Place and S. Portland Avenue in Fort Greene, (718) 246-0200].
My favorite thing about “Kitchen Daughter” is how it defies expectation. The premise sounds gimmicky: a woman with undiagnosed Asperger’s loses her parents, her buffer from the world, and whilst fighting with her sister over her future discovers she can summon ghosts by cooking their favorite recipes. I know, I know. But author Jael McHenry (a contributor to Culinate and other food sites) unites these precarious plot elements beautifully. Dark and hopeful by turns, “The Kitchen Daughter” is a moving, unaffected novel about the ways that grief can simultaneously derail us and open new doors.
— Jenn Northington, event manager, WORD [126 Franklin St. at Milton Street in Greenpoint, (718) 383-0096].