I am a fan of their music, but I did not know much about the artists themselves before digging into this comprehensive (but not overwhelming) history of the members of the “27 Club” — musicians including Kurt Cobain, Amy Winehouse. and Jimi Hendrix who died at the age of 27. Sounes writes of their lives realistically, pointing out numerous similarities in their upbringings, relationships, and behaviors that link them in their tragically early deaths. Also, there is no glorifying of the rock star life or the ones who lived it, which makes this an especially intriguing study. Separated into two parts, “Life” and “Death,” this is a great read for any music fan or curious mind.
— CJ Schmidt, WORD [126 Franklin St. at Milton Street in Greenpoint, (718) 383–0096, www.wordbr
Truth inspires fiction. Set in 19th-century Iceland and inspired by true life events, “Burial Rites: brings readers on a journey of the last months alive for a condemned woman. Agnes Magnusdttir, along with two others, was found guilty of murdering her master. Political intrigue brings her to live out her final days on a peasant’s farm. First shunning her, the family there finally understands Agnes, learning there are only half-truths in gossip, even at the expense of a life. Take note of the pronunciation guide in the beginning and journey through the story of the last public execution in Iceland.
— Bina Valenzano, co-owner, The BookMark Shoppe [8415 Third Ave. between 84th and 85th streets in Bay Ridge, (718) 833–5115, www.bookma
After Alice Munro’s Nobel Prize in Literature win this fall, the short story is finally making a comeback. Tom Barbash’s newest short story collection, “Stay Up With Me,” stands as testament to this, offering a round of stories that will appeal to both readers who are new to the genre as well as seasoned veterans. Exploring the deep, though frayed, nature of close relationships, Barbash draws us into a diverse set of characters and their neuroses and love for one another.
— Grace Ecton, Greenlight Bookstore [686 Fulton St. between S. Elliott Place and S. Portland Avenue in Fort Greene, (718) 246–0200, www.greenl