“The Crystal World,” by J.G Ballard
This utterly unique novel follows an English doctor sent to a remote leper colony in the African interior. Floating upriver, he discovers a swiftly growing region of petrified jungle. Things really get interesting when this strange crystallization of life forms is linked to a “leak in time.” Ballard’s recently republished 1966 masterpiece reads like a post-human “Heart of Darkness,” and now features a brilliant forward by Robert MacFarlane.
— 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:
“Say Say Say,” by Lila Savage
Lila Savage drew on her decade of experience as a caregiver for her fantastic debut novel “Say Say Say.” It is a warm and empathetic book with a well-drawn interiority for its young, millennial caregiver protagonist, Ella. It is like a procedural for emotional labor; the kind of book where the decision whether or not to read the newspaper at work can be gripping and relatable.
— Matt Stowe, Greenlight Bookstore [686 Fulton St. between S. Elliott Place and S. Portland Avenue in Fort Greene, (718) 246–0200, www.greenl
The piecemeal redemption of Helene Stapinski’s outlaw family roughly approximates Jersey City’s troubled ascent from its inception as a city of smokestacks and vice to legitimacy and the nick-name “America’s Golden Door.” When casual graft was the rule of the day, and knowing whose palms to grease could spell the difference between poverty and cornucopia, the author’s family was embroiled in the urban corruption that caricatured New Jersey for generations. “Five-Finger Discount,” subtitled “A Crooked Family History” chronicles Helene Stapinski’s life from within a criminal enterprise, and discusses what comes after.
— Steven Warren, Word [126 Franklin St. at Milton Street in Greenpoint, (718) 383–0096, www.wordbo