For those still celebrating Halloween, “Of Shadows” is a visual cornucopia of the weird, the dark, and the enchanted, from amulets to wax figures and wands. The book features haunting photos of 100 objects culled from the collection of the beloved Museum of Witchcraft and Magic in Cornwall, England. Hex your friends!
— Samuel Partal, Community Bookstore [43 Seventh Ave. between Carroll Street and Garfield Place in Park Slope, (718) 783–3075, www.commun
In a novel about heartbreak, loss, and resilience across decades, Makkai displays her talent for constructing personalities so vivid you could invite them to dinner. Set in both 1980s Chicago and modern-day Paris, Makkai’s worlds alternate and overlap skillfully, and each is required to unfold the full portrait of the recurring characters. With subtle suspense and merciful humor, she portrays people clinging to love of any kind — amid disaster, disease, and uncertainty — for fear of losing their own identity. The time-span allows for a satisfying perspective, as both reader and character reckon with how we are shaped by our tragedies, while trying our best to let them go.
— Ben Hoffman, Greenlight Bookstore [686 Fulton St. between S. Elliott Place and S. Portland Avenue in Fort Greene, (718) 246–0200, www.greenl
If you have ever read an essay by Kiese Laymon, you know his writing packs a punch. So too with this beautiful memoir — it is a moving coming-of-age story, a powerful reckoning with forces of oppression and addiction in America, and an indispensable work of nonfiction for our times. While it deals with well, heavy, issues, it is leavened with Laymon’s heart, sly humor, and hard-won wisdom. Essential reading.
— Nick Pauley, Word [126 Franklin St. at Milton Street in Greenpoint, (718) 383–0096, www.wordbo