When I encountered “We Were Witches,” I knew it was something new. The narrator, a teen-queer-mama-feminist-witch named Ariel, will take up residence in your heart beginning on page one. Set against the backdrop of the Bush administration of the ‘90s, “We Were Witches” is like a one of the “stern and wild teachers” who tells you, “if you don’t like the fairy tales you’ve been handed ... you don’t have to conform to them. You can re-author them.”
Community Bookstore’s pick: “Motherless Brooklyn” by Jonathan Lethem
Jonathan Lethem’s wry take on the New York Noir gangster story is both a sly tribute to the great detective fiction of yore and a love letter to the author’s beloved borough. We follow Lionel Essrog, a small time mobster with Tourette’s syndrome, and his band of misfits as they navigate the ins and outs of organized crime, family, and the Gowanus canal.
— Samuel Partal, Community Bookstore [43 Seventh Ave. between Carroll Street and Garfield Place in Park Slope, (718) 783–3075, www.commun
Ever since she started garnering praise in the “alt lit” scene, Chelsea Martin has stood out as one of the most honest, unpretentious, and hilarious authors alive, and her new book, sub-titled “Essays from a Lowbrow Life” exemplifies each of those qualities. It is a brutally self-deprecating, yet entirely relatable and moving memoir of an eccentric child of the Internet. If you don’t believe it, just read the introduction and see if you can walk away without wanting more.