Photo: Julie Klam

Neighborhood: Carroll Gardens
Type of Place: Books

June is coming right up, pools gates are swinging open, lifeguards are settling into their perches, and it seems that we can at last put the winter sweaters back into storage. I have no desire to depress my fellow shoppers and so will not write about bathing-suit shopping, clearly something handled at one's own pace, in one's own time, and with ample privacy. But in addition to a suit, a towel, good sunblock, and courage, summer sunbathers need good water-side books, and that's where Bookcourt comes in.

This past Thursday found me heading down Court Street toward the shop, looking forward to hearing my high school pal Julie Klam read from her first book—a memoir called "Please Excuse My Daughter," just released in paperback. I hadn't been to the store before and wondered what I'd find; I was thrilled to discover a bright, cheerful, well-stocked independent shop where the staff member who introduced the readers appeared actually to have read their work.

In addition to good lighting, a great selection, an inviting layout, and that all-important pervasive love of books, the shop, opened in 1981, offers great regular discounts. Store bestsellers are 20% off; hardcovers 10% off; audiobooks 15% off; and boxed sets 10% off. Among the current bestsellers here are: Number One in hardcover fiction, "Brooklyn," by Colm Toibin (Bookcourt price $20); Number One in hardcover fiction, "What I Talk About When I Talk About Running," by Haruki Murakami (here $16.80); Number One in paperback fiction, "Netherland," by Joseph O'Neill (here $11.96); and Number One in paperback nonfiction, "In Defense of Food," by Michael Pollan (here $12).

The store's reading-series offerings are varied and appealing. Julie's reading—and I say this not only as a friend but as someone who has been to many, many readings, from the sublime to the dismal—was a smash. I also loved the work of her co-reader, Lisa Funderburg, who read from her memoir "Pig Candy: Taking My Father South, Taking My Father Home." Both books were $15, and I happily scooped up a signed copy of each.

The store's website lists readings through the end of June; two appealing options this week are Mike Edson, reading from "I Have Fun Everywhere I Go: Savage Tales of Pot, Porn, Punk Rock, Pro Wrestling, Talking Apes, Evil Bosses, Dirty Blues, American Heroes, and the Most Notorious Magazines in the World" (phew!), on Tuesday the 26th; and the somewhat notorious quasi-memoirist James Frey, reading from his latest, "Bright Shiny Morning,"—which he *does* describe as fiction—on Thursday the 28th. (Free wine and pretzels included in the evening!)

So get ready to stock up your beach bag; unlike swimsuits, the offerings here are *enjoyable* to shop for, and they'll keep you company long after summer has gone.   - Pamela Grossman

163 Court Street
Brooklyn, NY 11201
(718) 875-3677