“A Legacy” by Sybille Bedford: Long in and out of print, Sybille Bedford’s “A Legacy” finally finds a home with the New York Review of Books Classics imprint. Set in the years leading up to the first World War, Bedford’s debut novel follows the tragic bond of two distinguished German households — the Merzes, a wealthy Jewish family in cosmopolitan Berlin, and the Feldens, an old Catholic family from the agrarian South. Bedford famously wrote of the book, “Is some of this a foundation of the vast and monstrous thing that followed?” With humor, pathos, and nuance, “A Legacy” captures a glimpse of life just before the 20th century unraveled.
— Hal Hlavinka, Community Bookstore [43 Seventh Ave. between Carroll Street and Garfield Place in Park Slope, (718) 783–3075, www.commu
“H is for Hawk” by Helen Macdonald: Mourning the loss of her beloved father, Helen Macdonald, a lifelong avid falconer, decides to adopt and train a goshawk — the largest and most notoriously difficult of all the falcons. What ensues through this book is wonderful, insightful nature writing about animals, humans, and how we c-exist both with each other and with our surroundings. Interwoven through these two storylines is a fascinating look at the life of T.H. White, who was the author of “The Once and Future King” and also was a falconer. In fact, he wrote a book about his own experiences, called “The Goshawk.” Macdonald reflects upon her experiences compared with his, all while mourning and ultimately healing and moving forward with her rich and vibrant life.
— Rebecca Fitting, Greenlight Bookstore [686 Fulton St. between S. Elliott Place and S. Portland Avenue in Fort Greene, (718) 246–0200, www.greenl
“Man V. Nature” by Diane Cook: Diane Cook’s stories run straight toward the indecent, knocking hard against mankind’s discomfort in the world. Whether it’s the lust-filled woman’s pursuit of meteorologist Dave Santana, or the stalker looming on the front lawn of a woman who’s recently given birth, each story holds a dark, fable-like quality. Cook’s language and storytelling will have you feeling like there is no way out — in the best way.
— Katie Sheperd, Word [126 Franklin St. at Milton Street in Greenpoint, (718) 383–0096, www.wordbr