Zinzi Clemmons’s debut novel occupies the volatile and vital space of the in-between: raised in Pennsylvania, main character Thandi feels the push-and-pull of black and white, mother and daughter, American and not. Thandi’s world dislocates further when she loses her mother and must confront life after loss. “What We Lose” is a powerful and subtly hybrid narrative, using prose paragraphs, vignettes, and images. Its simultaneous chronicling of love and grief is like a sun shower — another space of the in-between. It can rain while the sun still shines.
In his book “Other Minds: The Octopus, The Sea, and the Deep Origins of Consciousness” philosopher and scuba diver Peter Godfrey-Smith introduces us to the strange world of cephalopods. Following an evolutionary branch which diverged from our own around 600 million years ago, these creatures are the closest thing to an alien intelligence humankind has encountered. Drawing from contemporary models of cognition, the history of cephalopod research, and his repeated dives to a reef site he dubs “Octopolis,” Godfrey-Smith braids science, mythology, and memoir into a fascinating meditation on the nature of mind.
— Samuel Partal, Community Bookstore [43 Seventh Ave. between Carroll Street and Garfield Place in Park Slope, (718) 783–3075, www.commun
“Island of Point Nemo” is the perfect end-of-summer adventure you’ve been looking for. The discovery of three right feet on the beaches of Scotland sends a team of oddballs on a transcontinental journey to find a missing diamond. Jean-Marie Blas de Robles seamlessly weaves the narrative of a French e-reader factory into the confusing, exhilarating mix, spicing it up with some bizarre sexual escapades, carrier pigeons, global warming, and an island that may hold the key to the whole mystery. This is a must-read for anyone looking for a 21st century Sherlockian adventure with all the requisite twists and turns.
— Alison Gore, Word [126 Franklin St. at Milton Street in Greenpoint, (718) 383–0096, www.wordbo