Love Your Bookstore: Books Are Magic

November 6, 2019 | 3 min read

This piece is the third in a series of posts supporting the 2019 Love Your Bookstore Challenge, which is sponsored, in part, by The Millions.

As part of this year’s Love Your Bookstore Challenge—which aims to draw attention to physical bookstores and runs from November 8 through November 17—we asked the team at Brooklyn’s Books Are Magic for their staff picks and must-read titles.

Wild Milk by Sabrina Orah Mark

These glorious, distilled, funny, and sometimes devastating stories engage with the past, our present, politics, trauma, terror, and love. At the same time, they offer a stunning and close-up portrait of an American family.(Will Walton, bookseller)

Pet by Akwaeke Emezi

Emezi’s prose is poetic and perfect, their worldbuilding is seamlessly engaging, and the images and ideas they evoke in this delicious bite of a book are searing. It’s a critical examination of the society we live in today, of the future we hope to create, and of the constant, enduring need to keep our eyes and hearts open so that we can take care of the most vulnerable among us. (Rauscher)

Geekerella by Ashley Poston

If you’ve ever seen A Cinderella Story starring Hilary Duff and Chad Michael Murray, that’s the exact fluffy, hearth-warm vibe you’re getting with this masterwork of a book. (If you haven’t seen that movie, go ahead and do that right now, because it’s fantastic and you’re worth it.) Geekerella is a 300-page ode to sci-fi, to fandom, to the ridiculous alignment of fate and circumstance that we call love—and the comfort and security that we can find in the support of another human being, no matter how many light-years away from us they may be.  (Rauscher)

All Happy Families by Herve Le Tellier (translated by Adriana Hunter)

This is my favorite memoir EVER, and Adriana Hunter’s translation is flawless. Le Tellier’s upbringing was not particularly sad or tragic, yet he talks (with great humor) about the emotional malnourishment that led him to have a loveless relationship with his parents. (Danni Green, bookseller)

Locked In: The True Causes of Mass Incarceration and How to Achieve Real Reform by John F. Pfaff

This book will change your understanding of the current conversation around incarceration in the U.S. (Green)

A Moonless, Starless Sky: Ordinary Women and Men Fighting Extremism in Africa by Alexis Okeowo

I dare anyone to read this book and not be moved to political action. Okeowo tells stories of moxie, love, and the fight for justice in societies bent on being unjust. (Green)

Black Light by Kimberly King Parsons

Just like turning on a black light in an otherwise clean hotel room, these stories unveil all the dirty secrets we keep hidden in plain sight. Parsons’s sentences are sharp and unapologetically honest, and her characters are so imperfect it makes them ever more relatable. The question remains—do you want to turn off the light or keep staring at the mysterious stains? (Anthony Piacentini, bookseller)

Working by Robert Caro

This is such a smart, delicious, specific book. Caro is a genius biographer and historian, and this book gives us a glimpse of his process, passion, and background. A warning, though: By reading this, you’re committing yourself to reading the rest of his books… (Margaret Myers, assistant buyer)

Her Body and Other Parties by Carmen Maria Machado

My mom forbid scary stories at home because I had nightmares so dang often, but I am a little nightmare myself, so I snuck them anyway and rarely regretted it because the stories were so visceral, exciting, and worth it. Few books have made me feel that same urgency as an adult, but the stories in Her Body and Other Parties did. These stories are sensual, eerie, and sensitive to so many of the fears and pleasures that vulnerability cultivates. (Maritza Montañez, bookseller)

The Collected Schizophrenias by Esmé Weijun Wang

There are certain books that expand your understanding so broadly that you can’t imagine forming thoughts on a subject before reading them. Reading The Collected Schizophrenias, I was surprised at my own ignorance about societal misconceptions of the schizophrenias—but this was swiftly corrected by the essays therein. The book describes the author’s own experience with schizoaffective disorder and the difficulty in understanding the complexity of the schizophrenias, exploring the way it’s diagnosed by the medical community and dismantling the terror associated with schizophrenia. I learned something from every single page of this book. (Michael Chin, events director)

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