Greenlight Bookstore’s pick: “Dominicana,” by Angie Cruz
This book, set in the mid-1960s, follows the immigration story of 15-year-old woman coming from the Dominican Republic to Washington Heights to enter into a somewhat arranged marriage to a much older man. It is set at the cusp of Washington Heights becoming predominantly Dominican, and at a cultural crossroads, when both the Dominican Republic and New York City were experiencing massive periods of change. It is an immigrant’s story, and conveys the strength necessary to be an immigrant facing the unknown: the bravery, language barriers, the tough choices one has to make, how difficult it is. And despite how much strength it takes, this story conveys how demeaningly people can treat immigrants. Full of pride, love, emotion, sex, one really shocking pigeon scene, family, strength, and warmth, I cannot recommend “Dominicana” highly enough.
— Rebecca Fitting, 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: “Ill Nature,” by Joy Williams
This classic collection of essays on environmentalism by Joy Williams is even more urgent, more outraged and outraging, and more bitingly funny now than when it was written nearly 20 years ago. A howl against apathy, cynicism and cowardice that manages to include a piece narrated by Ted Kaczysnki’s cabin. A transcendentally inspired touch.
— Samuel Partal, Community Bookstore [43 Seventh Ave. between Carroll Street and Garfield Place in Park Slope, (718) 783–3075, www.communitybookstore.net].
Word’s picks: “Slay,” by Brittney Morris
2019 has been a year of strong debuts and “Slay” continues that trend. With this young adult novel, Morris delivers with an incredible story that ties in heavy social issues with the excitement of online gaming. I loved seeing a Black geek girl in action, coding and creating space in a world that wasn’t necessarily designed for her. Morris sprinkled some serious Black Girl Magic on this one!
— Kim Small, Word [126 Franklin St. at Milton Street in Greenpoint, (718) 383–0096, www.wordbookstores.com].