Five Brooklyn books to get you through the end of summer

I was pretty excited the other day when I found out that my debut novel Olga dies in a dream, was nominated for the Brooklyn Public Library Book Award. The award is designed to recognize books that celebrate the spirit of Brooklyn, and for that reason it was one of the best endorsements a local girl could receive for learning to read at her public library.

A few months ago I made a list of Brooklyn movies that will really help you get to know the place, which got me thinking about some great Brooklyn books to check out with the upcoming Labor Day weekend want to grab your hand and dip into it . These books, to me, celebrate the spirit of Brooklyn—not Brooklyn(™), the hyper-developed place where the hip live, but Brooklyn, the working-class suburb where the people live live. Some are written by locals, some are not. And I’m sure I’ve missed some – so please get in touch and tell me which Brooklyn books I’ve crossed off the list.

(And speaking of Labor Day, if you’re in Washington, D.C. this holiday weekend, I’ll be at the Library of Congress’ National Book Festival on a panel entitled “Is Anything Funnier Than Politics?” and one after that host a book signing.

Without further ado, a Brooklyn end-of-summer reading list.

Did nobody give a damn what happened to Carlotta?by James Hannaham: In this brand new novel release (out in bookstores today!), Carlotta Mercedes returns to a changed Brooklyn after 20 years in prison – where she began her transition to life as a woman in an all-male cellblock. The novel is both hilarious and heartbreaking, with language that goes at your throat. I don’t want to give too much away here, but with an unforgettable voice, Hannaham takes on gentrification, the prison and parole system, and more.

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