The BookMark Shoppe’s pick “Ellis Island” by Kate Kerrigan “Ellis Island” is set in Ireland in the 1920s, where Ellie Hogan, content with her life until her husband gets injured, is forced to temporarily move to America. Even while ripped from everything she has always know, Ellie quickly adapts to her New York lifestyle, loving her new sense of freedom — until a death in the family tests her resolve. Part one of a trilogy, “Ellis Island” is a must-read for any historical fiction fan. — Bina Valenzano, co-owner, The BookMark Shoppe [8415 Third Ave. between 84th and 85th streets in Bay Ridge, (718) 833-5115].
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 running this semi-regular column featuring must-reads, handpicked and written about by the staff at some of our favorite independent bookstores in Brooklyn.
Greenlight’s pick “The Sense of an Ending” by Julian Barnes This year’s Man Booker Prize-winner could not be a more perfect novel. British in tone, narrated by a middle-aged man thinking back on younger years, the main character is wisely observant, while at the same time admitting readily how many obvious things he missed during his life. The reader follows his memories through school friendships, including the death of a school; and his first tumultuous relationship, which is inextricably tied to the death of the friend. It all resurfaces in ways that cause the narrator to face them all over again and learn new things about himself and his past. Told with wisdom and simplicity, this book is entirely worth reading, and holds up to the test of re-reading as well. — Rebecca Fitting, co-owner, Greenlight Bookstore [686 Fulton St. between S. Elliott Place and S. Portland Avenue in Fort Greene, (718) 246-0200].
WORD’s pick “It Chooses You” by Miranda July However you feel about July’s fiction and movies, this new collection is fascinating. In between working on other projects, she spent a summer interviewing people who listed items for sale in the PennySaver, print predecessor to Craigslist, accompanied by a photographer. What kind of person is behind “Bengal Leopard Baby — Call For Prices,” or a vintage hairdryer at $5? July catalogs her creative process alongside the interviews, and the result is a book is both a piece of random fun and a look inside the artistic brain. — -Jenn Northington, event manager, WORD [126 Franklin St. at Milton Street in Greenpoint, (718) 383-0096].