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.
Fans of historical fiction will love “The Secret of the Glass,” a story told in 17th century Venice. In Murano, Venice, known for its unparalleled glass making, three glassmakers are found dead after trying to escape. Sophia Fiolario, secretly apprenticed under her father has a choice to make: marry a nobleman or escape. But escape won’t be easy for her — or for whom she leaves behind. Wonderful prose and delightful historical characters including Galileo make “The Secret of the Glass” a great read.
— Bina Valenzano, co-owner, The BookMark Shoppe [8415 Third Ave. between 84th and 85th streets in Bay Ridge, (718) 833-5115].
Jeanette Winterson’s new memoir, “Why Be Happy When You Can Be Normal” (due in March 2012), is a disarmingly dreamlike. We are guided through a frankly miserable youth, but coping in the aftermath is easy with Winterson’s charming and resilient prose.
— Eleanor Kriseman, Greenlight Bookstore [686 Fulton St. between S. Elliott Place and S. Portland Avenue in Fort Greene, (718) 246-0200].
Reading this book is like reading a meld of “Little Bee” and “Born to Run” — it’s a novel about a Rwandan runner headed to the Olympics, a Tutsi runner at a time when the Tutsi and Hutu are on the verge of violence. The opening chapter is one of the strongest andd most gripping I’ve read in a long time. Also, it’s a Bellwether Prize winner, which for me usually means that I’ll enjoy the book in question. Politics, family tragedy, a love story, a behind-the-scenes glimpse at competitive athletics — it’s quite a package.
Jenn Northington, event manager, WORD [126 Franklin St. at Milton Street in Greenpoint, (718) 383-0096].