Staff Pick

We all know the summer-in-the-city clichés. Open fire hydrants, ice cream trucks, the sexy kind of sweat. There’s a bit of that in Another Brooklyn, sure, but the true heat in this book is emotional. Jacqueline Woodson writes friendship better than just about anyone. It only takes her a second to show how much her characters adore each other, how loyal to each other they are. Woodson is a poet as well as a prose writer, and she knows how to make a few words pack a punch. You’ll want to linger over each scene, and when the book is done, you’ll be tempted to go right back to the beginning. And why not? It’s the start of summer, and there’s something about Another Brooklyn that makes you feel like you’ve got all the time in the world.

Another Brooklyn: A Novel Cover Image
ISBN: 9780062359988
Availability: Backordered
Published: Amistad - August 9th, 2016

Another Brooklyn: A Novel Cover Image
ISBN: 9780062359995
Availability: In Stock—Click for Locations
Published: Amistad - May 30th, 2017

Staff Pick

There are plenty of coming-of-age novels in which intelligent young women wrestle with their sexuality, or identity, or demons. The Idiot is the first novel I've ever read in which an intelligent young woman wrestles with her own intelligence. Selin, the protagonist, has complex friendships and a love interest and so on, but at its heart, The Idiot is about Selin observing her own relationship with language. Not surprisingly, Batuman’s language is itself a treat—sly and playful, Wodehouse-funny, as smart as I’ve ever read. Selin starts the novel with the Socratic knowledge that she knows nothing, but by the end of The Idiot, I knew one thing: I want to read every book Elif Batuman writes, and in the meantime, I’m already excited to reread this one.

The Idiot Cover Image
ISBN: 9781594205613
Availability: Hard to Find
Published: Penguin Press - March 14th, 2017

Staff Pick

Hala Alyan is a poet, and in her debut novel, it shows. The sentences in Salt Houses are clear and elegant, and so are the emotions. It is clear from the first page that Alyan knows her characters' inner lives well, and, Ferrante-style, she isn't afraid to tell us. This directness makes her occasional moments of lyricism—one character, doubting himself, thinks, I am the roar without the bite, the empty lion—shockingly effective when they happen. She knows how to write a line that feels like a kick in the teeth. But she knows how to write love, too, whether it's a father thinking about his young children or a teenage girl finding God. She knows how to write homesickness, longing, trauma. (I should mention that she's not just a novelist and a poet, she's a psychologist, too.) The emotional world of this novel is enormous and vivid, and even at its saddest, it was a world that I didn't want to leave.

Salt Houses Cover Image
ISBN: 9780544912588
Availability: Hard to Find
Published: Houghton Mifflin Harcourt - May 2nd, 2017