Photo from Flickr user Arancia Project

Welcome to our weekly column, "Staff Picks," in which we ask the staffers at our favorite book, music, and movie stores around to town to share with us what they're reading, listening to, and watching this week. We figure they're good people to ask. Today we're checking in with the staff at Housing Works Bookstore Cafe to find out what they've been dog-earing lately.

Eddie (former punk, now owner of a bear coat complete with fur and ears on the hood, also an AIDS activist of the old school and an Inventory Specialist):

  • The Good Man Jesus and the Scoundrel Christ by Philip Pullman
: Twins. One named Jesus one named Christ. 'Nuff said.

  • Pale Fireby Vladimir Nabokov: 
I reread this book every few years - now is one of those times.  One of my favorites.  Do not want to give any hints about this except that it should be read all the way through - including the index!

Elihu (stand up comedian and Inventory Specialist):

  • Vathek by William Beckford
: A very hypnotic and bizarre story of an all-powerful medieval ruler who tries to acquire super powers by sleeping with his mother.  Claimed to have been written in a sleepless three days, Beckford, a British aristocrat with a devilish imagination, must have had a lot of fun with gazillions of dollars.

Mark (Café Manager):

  • Uncommon Grounds: The History of Coffee and How It Transformed Our Worldby Mark Pendergrast: Follows the history of the coffee from bean to cup - from it’s discovery to contemporary coffee culture, Pendergrast explores the good and bad and how coffee has shaped the world we live in.

  Theresa (Harry Potter devotee—she owns several wands—and Volunteer Coordinator):

  • Confessions of a Conjurer, the amazing memoir by
  • Derren Brown, one of the greatest magicians yet living.  His brilliance on stage is only heightened by reading the book.  He is every bit as smart and strange as I hoped, and even when he reveals the core of a trick, it still seems like magic because it is so difficult for a mere mortal to master.

Adam (Bookstore Manager):

  • Wizard of Ozby Frank Baum and Wickedby Gregory Maguire.  Having only seen the Judy Garland movie before I had to read the original book before seeing where Maguire went with it.  If you haven’t, check it out for the Tin Man’s heartbreaking back story, if nothing else.  And Wicked!  The Wizard as despot, the Witch(es, of West, East, and North) college coeds swept into the politics of a divided nation.  Not my usual fare, but I’m enjoying it.

  Charlotte (Volunteer Program Manager):

  • Dune by Frank Herbert.  Said to be the greatest Science Fiction work of all time. Politics, adventure, blue eyed people and giant worms.
The Bookstore Cafe, which is staffed almost entirely by volunteers, will be having a 30% off sale on August 6 and 7th. 100% of their profits go to Housing Works, Inc., a community-based AIDS service organization that provides lifesaving services for homeless men, women, and children living with HIV and AIDS in New York City and beyond.