Community Bookstore’s pick: “Tyll,” by Daniel Kehlmann
In this rich retelling of the German folktale of Tyll Ulenspiegel, Kehlmann infuses his 17th-century hero with a modernist bent and a dash of existential angst: like a trickster god meets Paul Newman from “Cool Hand Luke.” On the run from Jesuits and soldiers alike, Tyll does a stint as a court fool, works intelligence for multiple factions of the 30 Years War, travels with the famed occultist Athanasius Kircher, and meets drunken clergy and a sympathetic hangman along the way, while exposing hypocrisy and speaking truth — or irony — to power wherever he goes. A delightful blend of folklore and philosophy, romanticism and satire.
— 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: “Separation Anxiety,” by Laura Zigman
Zigman’s latest novel “Separation Anxiety” has some very original humor and some very odd situations, but it also has plenty of heart. What starts off as a wacky, off-beat story about a wife and mother in her 50s who has the sudden urge to wear her dog in a baby sling evolves into a very human story that is easy to relate to, while maintaining a consistent tone throughout.
— Geo Ong, 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: “With the Fire on High,” by Elizabeth Acevedo
Stunning in every sense, “With the Fire on High” is a spectacular follow-up to Acevedo’s 2018 debut “The Poet X.” It taps into something so organic and heartfelt that you can only sit back and marvel at her prowess. There’s a richness to Acevedo’s prose that can only come from a skilled wordsmith. “With the Fire on High” is not written in verse like its predecessor, but it still reads like poetry, with short chapters that pack a punch and words that paint the most vivid of pictures. With this book, Acevedo cements her place as a star of the young-adult genre.
— Kim S., Word [126 Franklin St. at Milton Street in Greenpoint, (718) 383–0096, www.wordbookstores.com].