Don’t hit the beach this summer without bringing the essentials — sunscreen, a towel, and a great book. We asked bookworms from some of Brooklyn’s best literature emporiums to name their top new titles to read while soaking up some rays.
“Mislaid” by Nell Zink
Fresh on the heels of her fantastic debut “The Wallcreepers,” Nell Zink just keeps proving that she’s the real deal. In her new novel “Mislaid,” Zink’s funny, smart, offbeat voice returns as the driving force of a tragicomedy that lays bare the weird mechanics of the American family. At it’s very best, this race-swapping, gender-bending story of misrepresentation can stand comparison to Shakespearean comedy, but you’ve still never read anything like it.
— Hal Hlavinka, Community Bookstore [43 Seventh Ave. between Carroll Street and Garfield Place in Park Slope, (718) 783–3075, www.commu
“Young Skins” by Colin Barrett
This sharp, vibrant collection takes place on the periphery of Irish society, and is able to capture the angst of becoming an adult with no lack of swagger. Unlike his American counterparts — the elusive young male author, weighed down by irony and pretension — Barrett writes with an immediacy that is clear and effective, story after story. In the end, “Young Skins” is a reminder that, for all its power and glory, being young can be a heartrending affair.
— Sam Jaffe Goldstein, Community Bookstore
“On the Move” by Oliver Sacks
Oliver Sacks has told the stories of many intriguing, eccentric minds throughout his life as a neurologist and writer, and he applies the same curiosity and compassion to himself in “On the Move,” a self-portrait that comprises hardships, hard work, and profound love. And who knew he was a competitive weight lifter!
— Jaye Bartell, Word [126 Franklin St. at Milton Street in Greenpoint, (718) 383–0096, www.wordbrooklyn.com].
“Everything I Never Told You” by Celeste Ng
Newly out in paperback, this is one of our favorite books from last year. On the first page, we learn that a teenage girl is missing, but in order to find her, we delve into the past — of her childhood, of her mother’s unrealized dreams of achievement, and of her father’s unrealized dreams of acceptance. Each character is shaped by other people’s expectations of them, and Ng masterfully weaves together the narratives into a powerful novel.
— Emily Pullen, Word
“The Argonauts” by Maggie Nelson
As she did with “Bluets,” Maggie Nelson brings philosophy and queer theory to the personal stories she shares of love, relationships, and (now) parenthood. I would pair this book with Jenny Offill’s “Dept. of Speculation” and Sarah Manguso’s “Ongoingness: The End of A Diary.” Nelson is just so masterful at allowing for a fluid boundary between the intellectual and the intertextual, the art and the artifice, the poetic and the personal.
— Emily Pullen, Word
“More Happy than Not” by Adam Silvera
Published as a young adult debut, Adam Silvera’s “More Happy than Not” is also great for adults. Aaron Soto lives with his mother and brother in a one-bedroom apartment in the Bronx where his father committed suicide. The book circles around a surgery popular in New York City that is used to erase bad memories as Aaron tries hard to be more happy than not. During a game of manhunt, Aaron meets Thomas and another story unfolds. If you like coming-of-age stories, here’s your summer read. It will be available June 2.
— Jessica Marquardt, Greenlight Bookstore [686 Fulton St. between S. Elliott Place and S. Portland Avenue in Fort Greene, (718) 246–0200, www.greenlightbookstore.com].
“The Other Side” by Lacy M. Johnson
Okay, so this is a dark memoir, but if you’re looking for something you won’t put down this summer, here it is. “The Other Side” chronicles Lacy Johnson’s relationship that turns abusive and leads to her kidnapping. What is best about this book is that she admits to her own faults, her own fears, her own responsibility of how we build relationships and fall in love with each other. She talks about domestic violence in a very real way and looks at it from every direction.
— Jessica Marquardt, Greenlight Bookstore