Community Bookstore’s pick: “X” by Chuck Klosterman
One of the highlights in Klosterman’s newest collection of essays, subtitled “A Highly Specific, Defiantly Incomplete History of the Early 21st Century” is the way he frames his interview subjects’ evasions and omissions. Another is how he reminds us that sports and music are both ephemeral and vastly important to us — or why would we care so much about them? Despite the “Early 21st Century” of the title, the book includes a healthy dose of retrospection into the late 20th, and while Klosterman focuses on rock music and football, his honesty and curiosity are spot-on and will keep percolating in the reader’s mind.
— Philipp Goedicke, 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 Ministry of Utmost Happiness” by Arundhati Roy
This novel from Arundhati Roy is so good that it draws you in right from the first sentence. It covers a broad territory, including class and caste, war, gender, sexuality and transsexuality, borders, love, longing, parenthood, and grace. The book is simultaneously about big things and little moments — moments that are at times hallowed and at other times mundane, but are all observations on humankind. Roy is a master at weaving the complexity of the warring border territory of India, Pakistan, and Kashmir into fiction, so much so that it is hard to believe that it has been 20 years since she last published a novel.
— Rebecca Fitting, 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: “How to Survive a Summer” by Nick White
There are not enough adjectives to describe how incredible Nick White’s debut novel is! Will Dillard is good at keeping the past buried, especially the haunting memories from summer when, as a teenager, he was sent to a camp to “cure” him of his homosexuality. Many years later, Will sets out on a road trip back to Mississippi, returning to that same, now-abandoned camp, in order to make peace with his past and move on with his life. This is a hauntingly beautiful, thrilling, masterful piece of work. White grabs your attention and keeps you glued to every page as you try and solve a mysterious death at the camp along with Will. This is the book of the summer, a true masterpiece, and an audacious debut.
— Christopher Perez, Word [126 Franklin St. at Milton Street in Greenpoint, (718) 383–0096, www.wordbookstores.com].