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.
The BookMark Shoppe’s pick: “Cleopatra’s Daughter”
Many know the tragic ending to the real life story of Cleopatra and Marc Antony. But not many people know the story continued on with Cleopatra’s children. Follow Cleopatra Selene, daughter to Cleopatra, as she is forced to leave her home land of Egypt, into the harsh lands of Rome and defend her family name and honor in this new book by Michelle Moran.
— Bina Valenzano, co-owner, The BookMark Shoppe [8415 Third Ave. between 84th and 85th streets in Bay Ridge, (718) 833-5115].
Greenlight’s pick: “It Happened on the Way to War: A Marine’s Path to Peace ”
This is a book that surprised me, it is a very special, moving, and affecting read. While training to be a Marine, the tireless Rye Barcott juxtaposed his life and was simultaneously working to found a NGO in one of the poorest slums of Nairobi, Kenya. Partnering with local community members who formed a tight bond, Barcott involved people in the surrounding community to initiate change from the ground up, and in “It Happened on the Way to War,” he tells, and honors their story. Really, words can’t justify how moving this book is. Humanity at its best.
— Rebecca Fitting, co-owner, Greenlight Bookstore [686 Fulton St. between S. Elliott Place and S. Portland Avenue in Fort Greene, (718) 246-0200].
WORD’s pick: “Matterhorn”
Hailed as one of the best novels on the Vietnam War when it came out last year, “Matterhorn” by Karl Marlantes is now out in paperback. This book absolutely blew me away, and I don’t mind telling you I’m not much of a war-novel reader. While the novel tackles big issues — the politics of war, racism in the troops, all the blood and guts you can stand and then some — it’s Marlantes’ attention to the small, almost invisible details of daily life during war-time that makes it so affecting. Long, intense and worth every single second you’ll spend reading it.
— Jenn Northington, events manager, WORD [126 Franklin St. at Milton Street in Greenpoint, (718) 383-0096].