Chris's Picks






Staff Pick Badge
The Power Broker: Robert Moses and the Fall of New York By Robert A. Caro Cover Image
ISBN: 9780394720241
Availability: Usually Ships in 1-5 Days
Published: Vintage - July 12th, 1975

An absolute must-read for any New Yorker, and just as important for anyone else interested in America, this is the epic true-life tale of Robert Moses, never elected to any office, who single handedly built and controlled almost all public works in New York for almost a half-century.  Beginning with a genius for bureaucracy and a simple idealistic dream to create parks and roads that go to them, over his long reign he becomes twisted by power, destroying neighborhoods wantonly and cursing the region forever through his intransigent opposition to mass transit. But no matter what, his ability to fundamentally alter one of the greatest, biggest cities in the world, without compromise, in an ostensible democracy, keeps every page incalculably educational and emotionally involving.  The author estimates that no one in the history of the world has built so much, and as you root for Moses and then against him, you never are in anything less than awe.

The book may seem intimidatingly sized, but it reads quickly and is as gripping as a thriller, with a real main character more fascinating and outsized than anyone would think to invent.  No matter where you're going today (if you were visiting our Dumbo store), you will use or see a Robert Moses project, and New York City (and by extension America) is in large part a product of his vision. If you want to learn how power works, or just want to read an incredible true story without parallel, I can't recommend this book highly enough.  Plus, you'll gain some arm strength. Buy it now!!!


Staff Pick Badge
Chelsea Girls: A Novel By Eileen Myles Cover Image
ISBN: 9780062394668
Availability: Usually Ships in 1-5 Days
Published: Ecco - September 29th, 2015

In Chelsea Girls, Eileen Myles draws on her childhood in 1950s and 60s Boston and her subsequent career as a poet in New York City. An autobiographical "poet's novel", it's written in a gripping, deceptively offhand style, with complex plot structure mimicking off-the-cuff storytelling. An exciting tale of artistic development during a particularly interesting time in NYC's cultural history, there are undisguised cameos from plenty of artistic luminaries during Myles' inspiringly ragged, decades-long path to becoming one of America's greatest living writers.


Staff Pick Badge
Satantango By László Krasznahorkai, George Szirtes (Translated by) Cover Image
ISBN: 9780811220897
Availability: Usually Ships in 1-5 Days
Published: New Directions - December 10th, 2013

In rainy, late Communist Hungary, rural villagers scheme, fight, fool each other, are fooled, and are deeply, relatably human.  It feels both mythical and post-apocalyptic, written in a jaw-dropping style, with bravura, multi-page sentences. Humor, philosophy, and astute emotional observations are built into every passage.

Staff Pick Badge
Severina (The Margellos World Republic of Letters) By Rodrigo Rey Rosa, Chris Andrews (Translated by) Cover Image
By Rodrigo Rey Rosa, Chris Andrews (Translated by)
This book may be out of print.
ISBN: 9780300196092
Published: Yale University Press - February 25th, 2014

The ultimate book about working in a bookstore, and one of my favorite books of all time.  Brilliantly sly, humorous and strange. A bookstore owner in Guatemala City is alternatingly menaced and seduced by an attractive shoplifter and her minder/boyfriend/grandfather.  In the tradition of slim, unforgettable works of Latin American fiction like Pedro Paramo, Distant Star, or The Invention of Morel, but with an addictive, charming style that is all Rey Rosa’s own.

Staff Pick Badge
Story of the Eye By Georges Bataille, Dovid Bergelson (Translator) Cover Image
ISBN: 9780872862098
Availability: Usually Ships in 1-5 Days
Published: City Lights Books - January 1st, 2001

Still perhaps the most transgressive book you’ll ever read, this timeless gem of a book was written under a pseudonym in the 1920s by Bataille, an influential philosopher and critic.  Figures as august as Roland Barthes and Susan Sontag have written in depth considering the metaphorical and psychoanalytical power of this shocking pornographic tale, and its effect on pop culture continues to reverberate with references in works by Bjork, Of Montreal, Richard Linklater and David Mitchell, among many many others.

Staff Pick Badge
Soul: And Other Stories By Andrey Platonov, Robert Chandler (Translated by), Robert Chandler (Introduction by), John Berger (Afterword by), Olga Meerson (Translated by) Cover Image
By Andrey Platonov, Robert Chandler (Translated by), Robert Chandler (Introduction by), John Berger (Afterword by), Olga Meerson (Translated by)
Email or call for price
ISBN: 9781590172544
Published: NYRB Classics - December 4th, 2007

The title novella is one of the greatest of all time, a moving meditation on human nature that is even more relevant today than when it was first written in the early, idealistic days of Soviet Russia.  The main character returns to his homeland in Turkmenistan in order to organize his tribe under Communism, but finds them sick and scattered, outcasts to the other tribes and without memory of their own.  As they wander through a haunting desert world of subtly anthropomorphized animals that must be defeated or tamed, Platonov finds the dzhan or soul of the people not in revolutionary materialism or ethnic pride - rather simple human dignity and self-expression.  It's a timeless and primordial tale, heartwarming in the most essential, hard-earned way, perfect for a quarantine read in these dark times.

Staff Pick Badge
Solo Faces: A Novel By James Salter Cover Image
ISBN: 9780865473218
Availability: Usually Ships in 1-5 Days
Published: North Point Press - June 1st, 1988

I waited a long time to read this book because it's about rock climbing. I shouldn't have. It's James Salter's best book and a small marvel that encapsulates the beauty and rigor of doing such a simple yet infinitely complex task - the existential, artistic, bohemian foolishness that made climbing what it was in the 1960s.