“The Perfect Mother,” by Aimee Molloy
In Aimee Molloy’s new mystery, the May Mothers gather every week in Prospect Park with their newborns to trade tips, offer support, and become friends — until one of the babies goes missing. The group rallies around to help solve the mystery, and to help brinag the missing baby home. Utterly relatable as a high-suspense page-turning motherhood mystery, Aimee Molloy also perfectly captures what it’s like to be a parent in Brooklyn, from the beer garden play dates and overactive list-servs to the parenting techniques, advice, and styles.
— Rebecca Fitting, Greenlight Bookstore [686 Fulton St. between S. Elliott Place and S. Portland Avenue in Fort Greene, (718) 246–0200, www.greenl
“Black Swans” by Eve Babitz
For some fizzy fun with a splash of self-reflection and social commentary, try Eve Babitz’s short story collection “Black Swans.” This love letter to Los Angeles explores the friendships, loves, passions, and flings of an artist and writer with a singular voice: casual, colloquial, and propulsive, with enough insight and humor to elevate even the most frivolous excursions. What at first seems like an unfiltered array of impressions — about aging, or tango, ambition, or jealousy — comes together as a considered meditation on a theme. These stories will make you rethink your own interconnected memories and the beautiful people that inhabit them — though they may not be as beautiful as Babitz’s.
— Ben Hoffman, Greenlight Bookstore.
“Madness is Better than Defeat,” by Ned Beauman
Ned Beauman’s latest novel is a madcap tale of espionage and old Hollywood in the Honduran jungle. A disgraced CIA agent recounts the mission that ended his career: a complicated standoff between a conglomerate attempting to disassemble an ancient Mayan temple and ship it back to America, and the film crew that plans to shoot at said temple. Who is working for whom, and who is informing on them, is impossible to keep straight. Thomas Pynchon meets the Marx Brothers in this crazed, hilarious, and erudite novel.
— Samuel Partal, Community Bookstore [43 Seventh Ave. between Carroll Street and Garfield Place in Park Slope, (718) 783–3075, www.commun
She is known for her groundbreaking environmental writing, including her most famous book “Silent Sprint,” but Rachel Carson spent most of her life studying and writing about the sea. This poetic meditation on life in the ocean, at once alien and internal, makes for fascinating, and moving, reading. Take your beach read to the next level.
— Samuel Partal, Community Bookstore.
“Sunburn,” by Laura Lippman
Do not start this cunning thriller the night before you have anything important to do. Lippman gives us a spiraling, tightly plotted noir about two lovers in over their heads — with murder.
— Mike Lindgren, Word [126 Franklin St. at Milton Street in Greenpoint, (718) 383–0096, www.wordbo
May you find yourself, as I was, with face pressed in close to this book, breath held, eyes rapidly running over its lines, opening wide at its sudden turns and revelations, resisting the urge to jump ahead to find out if Lucy — or if Alice — whether they… I was utterly and happily absorbed in the story of a tense, dangerous reunion between two former best friends, set amidst the heat and alleyways of Tangier on the edge of independence.
— Nneoma Amadi-obi, Word.