You may remember Kristen Roupenian’s viral short story “Cat Person” as the one that launched a thousand think pieces, but whether you loved it or hated it, do not assume that it tells you anything about the rest of her debut collection. “You Know You Want This” goes way, way darker than “Cat Person” within the first 10 pages, incorporating vindictive preteens, “good” guys, and cursed spell books hidden in libraries. You definitely want it!
Greenlight Bookstore’s pick:
“Leading Men,” by Christopher Castellani
In the unforgiving world of literary fame, every artist is a genius and a real piece of work. The novel “Leading Men” tells the story of Tennessee Williams through two important figures in his life: Frank Merlo, his lover and stalwart companion during the 1950s, as Williams hustled for a place among the decade’s artistic greats; and Anja Bloom, a fading film actress in the present day, who reveals that she owns a lost Tennessee Williams play. Tennessee is a key player, but Frank and Anja take center stage in a story that asks us to consider our responsibility to art, and whether or not art can lead to redemption.
— Austin Broussard, Greenlight Bookstore [686 Fulton St. between S. Elliott Place and S. Portland Avenue in Fort Greene, (718) 246–0200, www.greenl
A collection of spare, absurd, and bitingly funny stories by Jen George, whose sensibilities lie somewhere between Helen DeWitt and a sentient Twitter bot. In fractured scenes, we impossible yet deeply familiar interactions play out between characters who seem to be less human people than uncanny manifestations of an inner monologue that both is and is not our own. A masterful debut.
— Samuel Partal, Community Bookstore [43 Seventh Ave. between Carroll Street and Garfield Place in Park Slope, (718) 783–3075, www.commun
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