Community Bookstore’s pick: “Mrs. Caliban” by Rachel Ingalls
“Mrs. Caliban” is a brilliant cult classic, long out of print and recently republished by New Directions. Despondent housewife Dorothy, navigating suburban tedium and a cheating husband, wakes up one morning to discover a six-foot lizard man in her backyard. He has escaped from a research facility after killing his captors. She’s … intrigued. A setup worthy of a B-movie or an episode of “The Twilight Zone” is instead played for pathos. A surprisingly poignant and ultimately tragic meditation on identity and relationships.
— 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: “The Red Parts” by Maggie Nelson
This book is both a genre-bender and a page-turner, a cocktail of memoir, true crime, and psychoanalysis. Author Maggie Nelson’s aunt Jane was murdered in 1969, and the case remained unsolved until late 2004, when DNA evidence revealed a new suspect, who would be arrested and tried in front a court. At the time, Nelson was about to publish her book “Jane: A Murder,” which told the story of her aunt’s life and death in narrative verse. Nelson decided to attend the trial, and “The Red Parts” details all that follows. It is an examination of our cultural fascination with sexualized violence, and an inquiry into the nature of dread, grief, justice, and empathy.
— Melissa Hohl, Greenlight Bookstore [686 Fulton St. between S. Elliott Place and S. Portland Avenue in Fort Greene, (718) 246–0200, www.greenlightbookstore.com].
Word’s pick: “Catboy” by Benji Nate
This book is pure delight! Webcomic-turned-graphic novel “Catboy” centers on friendless art school grad Olive, who wishes on a falling star for her cat Henry to come hang out with her like a person. He does, but he’s still kind of a cat and thus hijinks ensue — including sardines, dog-sitting, figure drawing, and slumber parties with a mix of cat and human participants. “Catboy” is a bubblegum pop of a read — sugary-sweet, loud, and (if you’re like me), it will leave you in a sticky film of nostalgia for your early 20s.
— Ashanti White-Wallace, Word [126 Franklin St. at Milton Street in Greenpoint, (718) 383–0096, www.wordbookstores.com].