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 launching 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: “Viola in the Spotlight”
Adriana Trigiani is perhaps one of my favorite authors of all time … and I read a lot of books each week. Her writing instantly draws you into each character. Trigiani has a flair for writing about family drama that will have you laughing and crying through to the end. In her latest young adult novel, “Viola in the Spotlight,” the title character finds her way back to Brooklyn for the summer, but is home where she really belongs? Pick up a copy and find out for yourself! Better still, Trigiani will be at The BookMark Shoppe on April 19 at 7 pm, when you can meet her and pick up my other favorites by her, including “Lucia Lucia,” “Very Valentine” and “Queen of the Big Time.”
— Bina Valenzano, co-owner, The BookMark Shoppe [8415 Third Ave. between 84th and 85th streets in Bay Ridge, (718) 833-5115].
Greenlight’s pick: “Witches On The Road Tonight”
The Greenlight staff is crazy about “Witches On The Road Tonight,” the new novel by our neighbor, Sheri Holman. The author of book club favorite “The Dress Lodger” writes engrossing and accessible fiction that also addresses the big themes of class, gender, politics and culture through unique and compelling characters. This novel is partly about American fears, from witches in 1930s Appalachia to cheesy 1980s horror movies to the terrifying 24-hour TV news cycle of the 21st century. It’s also deliciously atmospheric, suspenseful, heartbreaking and sometimes spooky — it will stick with you like last night’s strange dreams.
— Jessica Stockton Bagnulo, co-owner, Greenlight Bookstore [86 Fulton St. between S. Elliott Place and S. Portland Avenue in Fort Greene, (718) 246-0200].
WORD’s pick: “A Visit from the Goon Squad”
WORD agrees that Jennifer Egan’s experimental novel is one of our favorite books, and since its recently out in paperback, you really have no more excuses not to pick it up. Egan takes some big risks in this novel — one chapter is entirely composed of PowerPoint slides, one takes us briefly into the future, the cast of characters is huge and varied — and pulls them all off. The last two chapters in particular are a one-two punch to the emotional gut. Don’t let the phrase “linked story-set” scare you off! Pick it up and dive in.
— Jenn Northington, event manager, WORD [126 Franklin St. at Milton Street in Greenpoint, (718) 383-0096].