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 running this semi-regular column featuring must-reads, handpicked and written about by the staff at some of our favorite independent bookstores in Brooklyn.
“Tweak “is the true story of a young man’s journey from hell to redemption. Nic Sheff led a privileged childhood, but that didn’t stop him from experimenting with alcohol and marijuana at the age of 11. What started as fun eventually led to a full-blown addiction. This will be the most difficult story you may ever read, but the hardest to put down.
— Bina Valenzano, co-owner, The BookMark Shoppe [8415 Third Ave. between 84th and 85th streets in Bay Ridge, (718) 833-5115].
Even if you’re not a regular nonfiction reader, “Moonwalking with Einstein,” a quirky and often funny exploration of human memory written by Joshua Foer (younger brother of Jonathan Safran Foer, the greatest writer of his, or anyone’s, generation) will hook you with its engaging narrative and fun facts. Foer covered the national memory championships as a journalist, but ended up a competitor, and began investigating the ancient techniques of memorization pioneered by the Greeks and still used today. With digressions into neuroscience, psychology, pop culture, and history, this is far from a self-help book, but it might inspire you to create your own “memory palace,” and maybe even help you remember your shopping list.
— Jessica Stockton Bagnulo, co-owner, Greenlight Bookstore [686 Fulton St. between S. Elliott Place and S. Portland Avenue in Fort Greene, (718) 246-0200].
What an incredible book. The main character in “The Hottest Dishes of the Tartar Cuisine” is thoroughly detestable in her manipulations of everyone around her, but despite that (or, more likely, because of it!), I miss her very much now that she’s gone. I don’t think I’ve enjoyed hating a narrator so much since I read “Money” by Martin Amis. Author Alina Bronsky’s use of language is vibrant and surprising and I was heartbroken when the book was over. It often seems like everybody who comes in the store is looking for a funny book for a change of pace; I can’t wait to sell them this one.
— Stephanie Anderson, store manager, WORD [126 Franklin St. at Milton Street in Greenpoint, (718) 383-0096].