With her debut novel “Catalina,” Liska Jacobs has rightly earned her comparisons to Joan Didion and Jean Rhys. Protagonist Elsa is still reeling from the loss of her job and the end of her affair with her married boss. She decamps to her native Los Angeles for a weekend sailing trip with friends (her ex-husband and his new girlfriend among them) and attempts to forget her loneliness with lots of pills, drinking, and sex. But this is much more than a story of a woman on the edge — it is a vivid and ultimately feminist exploration of modern womanhood and class. Jacobs’ writing is lush and beautifully detailed, and I cannot wait for what she writes next.
— Cait Mullen, Word [126 Franklin St. at Milton Street in Greenpoint, (718) 383–0096, www.wordbo
Community Bookstore’s pick: “Men and Apparitions,” by Lynne Tillman
Equal parts cultural criticism and coming-of-age story, Lynne Tillman’s genre-defying new novel “Men and Apparitions” narrates the youth and career of Ezekiel Hooper Stark, an ethnographer of family photographs. In fluid prose, Tillman mines our collective obsession with images, and the ways in which we locate ourselves in media and memory.
Greenlight Bookstore’s pick: “Hello Hello,” by Brendan Wenzel
If Earth Day and the return of spring have rekindled your family’s interest in our third rock from the sun, consider “Hello Hello” by Brendan Wenzel, a delight for children and adults alike. This clever, vibrant introduction to the diversity of the animal kingdom has enough hidden detail to satisfy the most voracious repeat reader. Its simple refrain combines with unexpected rhymes, opposites, shapes, and colors to create a perfect fit for the 3–5 crowd, and an illustrated index listing every creature with its conservation category calls out to the curious and concerned of any age. Wenzel’s expressive, practically addictive mixed-media animal artwork is all over this book, right down to the end-papers and — underneath the jacket — embossed on the front cover. It’s a gift that keeps on giving.