Community Bookstore’s pick: “Dark Constellations,” by Pola Oloixarac
Pola Oloixarac’s follow-up to her widely acclaimed first novel is a time-jumping, post-human, science-fiction fever dream. Moving deftly between the 19th century and a near-future surveillance state, Oloixarac forgoes linear narrative in favor of impressionistic sketches of the colonial wreckage of the Americas, post-industrial environmental collapse, and mythical hallucinogenic plants that “break down the barriers between one species and another.”
— Samuel Partal, Community Bookstore [43 Seventh Ave. between Carroll Street and Garfield Place in Park Slope, (718) 783–3075, www.communitybookstore.net].
Greenlight Bookstore’s pick: “Birthday,” by Cesar Aira
This memoir by Argentine writer Cesar Aira, written for his 50th birthday, is his strongest work to come out in a while — subtle and masterful, though very different from a lot of his other books in its intimate, more direct personal narrative. He finds an access route to the deepest regions of a passing thought without overworking anything. With Aira, you always want to go along for the ride.
— Jarrod Annis, Greenlight Bookstore [686 Fulton St. between S. Elliott Place and S. Portland Avenue in Fort Greene, (718) 246–0200, www.greenlightbookstore.com].
Word’s picks: “I Miss You When I Blink,” by Mary Laura Philpott
If you are experiencing anxiety, burnout, an identity crisis, or all of the above, Mary Laura Philpott’s memoir is a must-read. She writes about everything from the “dreaded 80” she got on a fourth grade test to the house-sitting job she accepted to temporarily escape her busy schedule. Her essays are personal but also relatable. Overachievers of any age will feel understood.
Victoria Rodriguez, Word [126 Franklin St. at Milton Street in Greenpoint, (718) 383–0096, www.wordbookstores.com].