Who can you always count on when you’re in a bind and need a good book? Your neighborhood bookstore, of course, whose employees read all the newest books before you do. That’s why we’re running this semi-regular column featuring must-reads, handpicked and written about by the staff at some of our favorite independent bookstores in Brooklyn.
The BookMark Shoppe’s pick: “The Postmistress”
This novel by Sarah Blake follows the lives of three women during World War II. Two women in the sleepy town of Franklin, Mass., listen to the news being delivered by Frankie Bard in London. Filled with personal heartache and hope and devastation that comes with war; this is a must read.
— Bina Valenzano, co-owner, The BookMark Shoppe [8415 Third Ave. between 84th and 85th streets in Bay Ridge, (718) 833-5115].
Greenlight’s pick: “When God Was a Rabbit”
The main character in Sarah Winman’s novel is sacrilegious in the way that only a child can be (case in point, she names her pet rabbit “God” because she hasn’t yet learned that it’s uncommon to do so). This is a book about a family told through the young daughter’s voice. She has a brother whom she’s crazy about, in the slightly oppressive way that only a little sister can adore a big brother. Set in England, spanning childhood to adulthood, the voice of Elly sticks in your head long after reading it. She’s a singular, precocious narrator with an unconventional family that feels real upon reading about them.
— Rebecca Fitting, co-owner, Greenlight Bookstore [686 Fulton St. between S. Elliott Place and S. Portland Avenue in Fort Greene, (718) 246-0200].
WORD’s pick: “Vaclav & Lena”
I had to pry myself away from this one. Haley Tanner captures the voices of these characters so aptly, their evolution from children to teenagers is perfectly handled, and the plot tugs your heartstrings without ever descending into sentimentality. It reminded me of “The Girl Who Fell From the Sky” in both its ability to tackle difficult issues and its young adult crossover potential. It’s a gorgeous debut that captures the spirit of the immigrant experience in New York, as well as the joys and pains of first loves and first revelations.
— Jenn Northington, events manager, WORD [126 Franklin St. at Milton Street in Greenpoint, (718) 383-0096].