Pola Oloixarac’s follow-up to her widely acclaimed first novel is a time-jumping, post-human, science-fiction fever dream. Moving deftly between the 19th century and a near-future surveillance state, Oloixarac forgoes linear narrative in favor of impressionistic sketches of the colonial wreckage of the Americas, post-industrial environmental collapse, and mythical hallucinogenic plants that “break down the barriers between one species and another.”
— Samuel Partal, Community Bookstore [43 Seventh Ave. between Carroll Street and Garfield Place in Park Slope, (718) 783–3075, www.commun
Greenlight Bookstore’s pick: “Birthday,” by Cesar Aira
This memoir by Argentine writer Cesar Aira, written for his 50th birthday, is his strongest work to come out in a while — subtle and masterful, though very different from a lot of his other books in its intimate, more direct personal narrative. He finds an access route to the deepest regions of a passing thought without overworking anything. With Aira, you always want to go along for the ride.
— Jarrod Annis, Greenlight Bookstore [686 Fulton St. between S. Elliott Place and S. Portland Avenue in Fort Greene, (718) 246–0200, www.greenl
If you are experiencing anxiety, burnout, an identity crisis, or all of the above, Mary Laura Philpott’s memoir is a must-read. She writes about everything from the “dreaded 80” she got on a fourth grade test to the house-sitting job she accepted to temporarily escape her busy schedule. Her essays are personal but also relatable. Overachievers of any age will feel understood.
Victoria Rodriguez, Word [126 Franklin St. at Milton Street in Greenpoint, (718) 383–0096, www.wordbo