brooklyn book store

these just in … 27 December, 2007

When the Ground Turns in Its Sleep
by Sylvia Sellers-Garcia

New In Hardcover $24.95 - 10%

As Sellers-García’s rich debut opens in 1993, Nítido Amán is seeking his origins in Guatemala following his father’s death by spending a year as a teacher in the remote village of Río Roto. His father had said that the Amáns came from a place very near there, but was never specific as to the family’s home village. Upon arrival, Nítido is immediately mistaken for an arriving priest and is too tired at first to correct the man who meets his bus and settles him in the sacristry. When, the next morning, his innocent questions about the burned schoolhouse and the path to a certain village are met with evasion, stony silence and worse, Nítido begins to suspect that Río Roto hides a deep trauma. On the third morning, when he is suddenly called in to give a woman last rites, Nítido, for reasons even he doesn’t fully understand, tacitly accepts the role of priest. In a moving tale of mourning and revelation, Sellers-García puts Nítido’s secret and hidden origins on a slow-motion collision course with the secrets of the town. While the pace is slowed by Nítido’s letters to his dead father, this spare and vivid debut brings together wrenching personal and political histories.

The How of Happiness: A Scientific Approach to Getting the Life You Want
by Sonja Lyubomirsky

New In Hardcover $25.95 - 10%

Drawing on her own groundbreaking research with thousands of men and women, research psychologist and University of California professor of psychology Sonja Lyubomirsky has pioneered a detailed yet easy-to-follow plan to increase happiness in our day-to-day lives-in the short term and over the long term. The How of Happiness is a different kind of happiness book, one that offers a comprehensive guide to understanding what happiness is, and isn’t, and what can be done to bring us all closer to the happy life we envision for ourselves. Using more than a dozen uniquely formulated happiness-increasing strategies, The How of Happiness offers a new and potentially life-changing way to understand our innate potential for joy and happiness as well as our ability to sustain it in our lives.

Beginning with a short diagnostic quiz that helps readers to first quantify and then to understand what she describes as their “happiness set point,” Lyubomirsky reveals that this set point determines just 50 percent of happiness while a mere 10 percent can be attributed to differences in life circumstances or situations. This leaves a startling, and startlingly underdeveloped, 40 percent of our capacity for happiness within our power to change.

Lyubomirsky’s “happiness strategies” introduce readers to the concept of intentional activities, mindful actions that they can use to achieve a happier life. These include exercises in practicing optimism when imagining the future, instruction in how best to savor life’s pleasures in the here and now, and a thoroughgoing explanation of the importance of staying active to being happy. Helping readers find the right fit between the goals they set and the activities she suggests, Lyubomirsky also helps readers understand the many obstacles to happiness as well as how to harness individual strengths to overcome them. Always emphasizing how much of our happiness is within our control, Lyubomirsky addresses the “scientific how” of her happiness research, demystifying the many myths that unnecessarily complicate its pursuit. Unlike those of many self-help books, all her recommendations are supported by scientific research.

The How of Happiness is both a powerful contribution to the field of positive psychology and a gift to all those who have questioned their own well-being and sought to take their happiness into their own hands.

The Birthday Party: A Memoir of Survival (Paperback)
by Stanley N. Alpert

New In Paperback $15.00

In this tartly written memoir recalling his 1998 kidnapping, Alpert, a former assistant U.S. attorney for the Eastern District of New York, describes his abduction and release, and the subsequent trial of the kidnappers, with an impressive amount of detail and only the occasional note of self-congratulation for how he handled the ordeal. On the night before his 38th birthday, Alpert was forced at gunpoint into a car near his Greenwich Village apartment, blindfolded, made to relinquish his ATM and PIN, and driven to Brooklyn, where he was kept in an apartment full of oddly personable, gun-wielding youths and teenage prostitutes. In between violent threats, the criminals solicited legal advice concerning past crimes and offered him pot and sexual favors in honor of his birthday. After 25 hours, they handed their hostage $20 cab money and left him in Prospect Park. Though the second part of the account, detailing the mechanics of the arrests and sentencing of the perpetrators, along with Alpert’s return to normalcy, is relatively dry and slow, Alpert delivers an honest, vivid chronicle of the suspenseful event itself in the memoir’s first half.

The Book of Other People
Edited by Zadie Smith

New in Paperback $15.00

Editor and contributor Smith (On Beauty, 2005, etc.) invited 22 other authors, many of them (like her) better known for novels than short fiction, to write a story inspired by the creation of a character. “The instruction was simple,” she