Emily Wilson’s newly released translation of Homer’s Odyssey is notable for being the first by a woman, which is in and of itself remarkable. Even more impressive is the level of rigor and creative insight she brings to the text. Matching the line count of the original, and combining a great depth of scholarship with a unique poetic voice, Wilson’s translation makes Homer’s text feel more urgent and idiosyncratic, more alive, than it has in a very long time. A classic for the ages!
— Samuel Partal, Community Bookstore [43 Seventh Ave. between Carroll Street and Garfield Place in Park Slope, (718) 783–3075, www.commun
Greenlight Bookstore’s pick: “The Sixth Extinction” by Elizabeth Kolbert
Winner of the Pulitzer Prize, “The Sixth Extinction: An Unnatural History” investigates the indelible marks humans have left (and continue to leave) on the planet. Each chapter focuses on a particular species or setting, and Kolbert relays the terrain — be it terra firma, aquatic, psychological, or otherwise — with animated detail, and she brings animals never seen by 21st century eyes to life with clear, simple imagery. The present extinction is worth learning about (especially in the context of previous extinctions) so that we can use our knowledge of the past to shape the most preferable future.
— Melissa Hohl, Greenlight Bookstore [686 Fulton St. between S. Elliott Place and S. Portland Avenue in Fort Greene, (718) 246–0200, www.greenl
If you would like to understand painter Frida Kahlo as she was, pick up this book and read it without distraction — I encourage you to get lost in the pages of Sébastien Perez’s writing and Benjamin Lacombe’s illustrations. The excerpts from Kahlo’s journals are woven so well into the text that it almost feels like you are flipping through a book of thorned roses. This homage was done with such reverence and detail — from the words to the colors to the die-cuts — that I could not leave the store without a copy. I teared up when I read it for the first time, and hugged it following every re-read thereafter, wishing I could hug Kahlo just the same.
— Shevanee Cesar, Word [126 Franklin St. at Milton Street in Greenpoint, (718) 383–0096, www.wordbo