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‘What I Had Before I Had You’ ‘The Lost Sisterhood’ ‘Redeployment’

What to read this week

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WORD’s pick: “What I Had Before I Had You” by Sarah Cornwell

I was truly impressed with Cornwell’s debut, which centers on a mother and a daughter and the ways that mental illness has had an impact on them through generations. As you’re reading, you’re enthralled by the story and the characters and the Jersey Shore in the summer, and sprinkled throughout are these wonderful sentences that make you stop — simple yet resonant like the clear ping of crystal stemware. It reminded me a bit of Simon Van Booy, and I don’t think I’ve seen as strong and solid of a debut since Emily St. John Mandel.

— Emily Pullen, WORD [126 Franklin St. at Milton Street in Greenpoint, (718) 383–0096, www.wordbrooklyn.com].

The BookMark Shoppe’s pick: “The Lost Sisterhood” by Anne Fortier

Two stories are woven together brilliantly in this modern day retelling of a mythical band of women warriors — legend has called them Amazons. Diana Morgan, an Oxford academic, has always been fascinated with Amazonian tales since her troubled grandmother recounted these fabled adventures to her as a child. Now a mysterious foundation has asked for her help in translating inscriptions unearthed in the Sahara. A parallel story takes readers on a journey about the first Amazon queen, Myrina, and her story of love, loss, and redemption. Separated by thousands of years, this fast-paced adventure takes readers from England to North Africa, the coastline of Greece to the ruins of Ancient Troy. “The Lost Sisterhood” is a spellbinding read showing how fate, one way or another, catches up with us all.

— Bina Valenzano, co-owner, The BookMark Shoppe [8415 Third Ave. between 84th and 85th streets in Bay Ridge, (718) 833–5115, www.bookmarkshoppe.com].

Greenlight Bookstore’s pick: “Redeployment” by Phil Klay

Move over Tim O’Brien, there is a new guy in town. Phil Klay writes powerfully, clearly, and humanely about contemporary war from the individual soldier’s perspective. Each short story in this taut collection comes at the Iraq War from a slightly different emotional angle — leading up to war, preparing for war, being in the midst of war, returning to war, how relationships suffer as a result of war, and the long-lasting after affects of war and trauma. This book is a must-read and if we have our way, it will win at least one major award this year!

— Rebecca Fitting, Greenlight Bookstore [686 Fulton St. between S. Elliott Place and S. Portland Avenue in Fort Greene, (718) 246–0200, www.greenlightbookstore.com].

Posted 12:00 am, March 8, 2014
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