Brooklyn bookstore staff picks for June 13

What to read this week

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Greenlight Bookstore’s pick: “More Happy Than Not” by Adam Silvera

Young people looking for realistic fiction, LGBTQ youth looking to see themselves on the page, and teens from the Bronx should all seek out Adam Silvera’s “More Happy Than Not.” Silvera is a new voice in young adult literature, and he captures the immediacy of being a teenager. Aaron Soto, our narrator, wants to forget all his bad memories and is interested in a new procedure that will let him do that. Then he meets Thomas and a friendship unfolds.

— Jess Pane, Greenlight Bookstore [686 Fulton St. between S. Elliott Place and S. Portland Avenue in Fort Greene, (718) 246–0200,].

Karl Ove Knausgaard’s autobiographical series “My Struggle” has created more awareness of Norwegian authors, like these two picked by our bookstore experts:

Word’s pick: “Against Nature: The Notebooks” by Tomas Espedal, translated by James Anderson

So you are out of Knausgaard until next year. Consider Espedal, whose “Notebooks” project is strikingly similar in concept to the more famous Norwegian’s multi-volume biography-as-novel. There are differences between the two, particularly on the sentence level (where Knausgaard describes a child’s birthday party for 80 pages, Espedal might drop a single, heart-rending sentence), but the larger goals of these multi-book projects are nearly identical — to describe daily experience and, in doing so, express some version of freedom. “Against Nature,” Espedal’s second notebook, (“Against Art” is the first) is a compendium of labor — in love, in factories, and in writing — and it is totally sad and magnificent.

— Chad Felix, Word [126 Franklin St. at Milton Street in Greenpoint, (718) 383–0096,].

Community Bookstore’s pick: “Shyness and Dignity” by Dag Solstad, translated by Sverre Lyngstad

Suffering from a “My Struggle” hangover? Pick up “Shyness and Dignity” by Dag Solstad, a fellow countrymen often cited, before Knausgaard’s world takeover, as Norway’s best. Solstad’s novel reveals a decisive day in Elias Rukla’s life, one marked by a passionate engagement with literature and a deep-seated alienation from contemporary culture. With its breezy pacing and meticulous detail, “Shyness & Dignity” has a remarkable digressive quality that is as formally innovative and psychologically gripping as anything by Knausgaard. And at a trim (and slightly grim) 150 pages, it is the perfect summer travel companion!

— Hal Hlavinka, Community Bookstore [43 Seventh Ave. between Carroll Street and Garfield Place in Park Slope, (718) 783–3075,].

Posted 12:00 am, July 11, 2015
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