Word’s picks: “Motherhood,” by Sheila Heti
Even if you are really, really sure that you don’t want children, it is hard to avoid thinking about them once you reach a certain age. Heti’s novel-that-doesn’t-quite-seem-like-a-novel thoughtfully explores the ambivalence toward childbearing that so many women have experienced, and it reminds both mothers and the childless alike that procreation is not the only thing that women are here to do.
— Eliza Thompson, Word [126 Franklin St. at Milton Street in Greenpoint, (718) 383–0096, www.wordbookstores.com].
Greenlight Bookstore’s pick: “Heavy,” by Kiese Laymon,
This memoir unearths the deep roots of American violence, showing how they wrap around communities, selves, and psyches. In America, according to this book, everyone is heavy with something. Trauma does not exist in a vacuum, a result of an individual action — it is built into our landscape and identity, especially for those pushed to the outskirts: people who are black, poor, queer, woman, femme. Food and health do not exist in a vacuum either, and access, need, and comfort are different for different people, marked by privilege — as are our choices.
— Rex Leonowicz, Greenlight Bookstore [686 Fulton St. between S. Elliott Place and S. Portland Avenue in Fort Greene, (718) 246–0200, www.greenlightbookstore.com].
Community Bookstore’s pick: “Sun Gardens,” by Anna Atkins
Anna Atkins, often credited as the first female photographer, is also the producer of the first ever photo book, the arresting “Photographs of British Algae,” which she compiled by laying plant specimens directly on paper and making ghostly contact prints. She stitched the prints together and mailed them to her subscribers, who bound the leaves into unique books. This beautifully printed companion to the exhibition at the New York Public Library makes a perfect start to your 2019.
— Samuel Partal, Community Bookstore [43 Seventh Ave. between Carroll Street and Garfield Place in Park Slope, (718) 783–3075, www.communitybookstore.net].