I’ve been obsessively recommending Heller’s debut novel, “The Dog Stars,” for a few months. I’ll be equally eager to suggest his sophomore attempt. “The Painter” follows Jim Stegner, an artist from Santa Fe who has moved to the mountains of Colorado after some major tragedies in his life. He gets into some more trouble and has to go on the run. This book is brutal but beautiful. Fans of “Breaking Bad” will find wisps of Walter in Jim. In other words, he is an awful person for whom you find yourself cheering in some way or another.
— Katelyn Phillips, Word [126 Franklin St. at Milton Street in Greenpoint, (718) 383–0096, www.wordbr
Paula Bomer’s searing, sexy short story collection “Inside Madeleine” unabashedly examines womanhood, with every story focusing on a different moment of life transformation. At the core of each of Bomer’s narratives there is a profound insecurity, and the extreme lengths that these young women are willing to go to escape the crushing void that results from it. This is a perfect summer read, though not for easy-to-digest, happy endings.
— Bina Valenzano, co-owner, The BookMark Shoppe [8415 Third Ave. between 84th and 85th streets in Bay Ridge, (718) 833–5115, www.bookma
I’ve never read a book where all the characters were bees before, so I’ve nothing to compare it to but that said, “The Bees” is an exciting book. The perfect blend of courtly intrigue mixed together with a story of hierarchical power play. Taking place inside a beehive, the book follows the arc of one queen bee’s life cycle, but tells the story through the voice of one of the worker bees. While being nothing at all like “The Hunger Games,” if you liked that trilogy, try this new book next.
— Rebecca Fitting, Greenlight Bookstore [686 Fulton St. between S. Elliott Place and S. Portland Avenue in Fort Greene, (718) 246–0200, www.greenl