WORD’s pick: “Stay Up With Me” by Tom Barbash
The episodes of awkwardness, embarrassment, selfishness, and loneliness that exist in this collection hit humanity on the nose. Tom Barbash’s crisp, minimalist storytelling cuts to the chase and leaves his characters exposed. What particularly moved me were the incredible flaws of his older characters. Often, his youthful characters are flawed in the way youth is flawed, but are open, kindhearted people. The older characters, however, are self-seeking and completely, utterly lost. Each story is better than the next, and I am sure I will go back to them again.
— CJ Schmidt, WORD [126 Franklin St. at Milton Street in Greenpoint, (718) 383–0096, www.wordbrooklyn.com].
The BookMark Shoppe’s pick: “In The Blood” by Lisa Unger
“In The Blood” is Lisa Unger’s most thrilling psychological thriller yet. Lana Granger has spent most of her young adult life as a student at Sacred Heart College. What better way to avoid facing the world than to remain in college? But as a condition of her trust fund, Lana will need to find part-time employment. When her college professor and mentor suggests a part-time nanny position to a bright, energetic boy, Lana quickly agrees. What Lana learns is that young Luke, who attends a school for troubled children, can be extremely is volatile and vicious. He reminds of her of another young troubled boy from her past, a past she had succeeded in running away from. Or so she thought. A gripping parallel story of diary entries brings this novel to a head in an explosive, jaw-dropping ending. A fast-paced story best read with a several nightlights on.
— Bina Valenzano, co-owner, The BookMark Shoppe [8415 Third Ave. between 84th and 85th streets in Bay Ridge, (718) 833–5115, www.bookmarkshoppe.com].
Greenlight Bookstore’s pick: “How to Read a Novelist” by John Freeman
Get ready to add to your “to-be-read” pile. John Freeman’s essays and interviews with some of the world’s top authors in “How To Read a Novelist” are thoughtful, engaging, and passionate. I have purchased numerous new books based on Freeman’s essays, and am planning to revisit quite a few more with fresh eyes.
— Emily Russo, Greenlight Bookstore [686 Fulton St. between S. Elliott Place and S. Portland Avenue in Fort Greene, (718) 246–0200, www.greenlightbookstore.com].