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Hot Water Music
Charles Bukowski
Short stories about bad jobs, bad love affairs, and bad living conditions. The ever-present stench of booze does not leave the pages.



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Trout Fishing in America, The Pill versus The Springhill Mine Disaster, and In Watermelon Sugar
Richard Brautigan
This book and everything else by Brautigan are worth reading and rereading. Having influenced writers such as Haruki Murakami and Tom Robbins, his comic perplexed thoughts of romance intermingle with his dying, insane black comedy, and the ghosts living inside our coffee cups. —Recommended by Don, City Lights Books



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In Cold Blood
Truman Capote
"Until one morning in mid-November of 1959, few Americans--in fact, few Kansans--had ever heard of Holcomb. Like the waters of the river, like the motorists on the highway, and like the yellow trains streaking down the Santa Fe tracks, drama, in the...



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Plainwater
Essays and Poetry
Anne Carson
The poetry and prose collected in Plainwater are a testament to the extraordinary imagination of Anne Carson, a writer described by Michael Ondaatje as "the most exciting poet writing in English today." Succinct and astonishingly beautiful, these...



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Head Above Water
Stefano Bortolussi
Italian writer Cardo Maraini is a cauldron of contradictions. Plagued by guilt over the drowning of his younger brother, he is strangely terrified by life. When the Norwegian woman he loves becomes pregnant, he plunges into a comically disastrous...



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Written In Water
The Collected Prose Poems
Luis Cernuda
While Cernuda's verse is vivid testimony to various aspects of his biographical itinerary, it is in his prose poems that he traces more explicitly an outline of his life's journey. Reviewing this work, Octavio Paz wrote: "In these memories and...



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Bloodchild and Other Stories
Second Edition
Octavia E. Butler
Through this fierce collection of stories it is easy for one to become an Octavia Butler fan. Compiled for the first time, these thought-provoking tales offers readers the chance to peer into the world of one of the best science fiction writers around...



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Black Water Rising
A Novel
Attica Locke
Recommended by Paul, City Lights Books Jay Porter has long since made peace with not living the American Dream. He runs his fledgling law practice out of a dingy Houston strip mall—where his most promising client is a low-rent call girl—and he's...



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By Blood
A Novel
Ellen Ullman
It's the chaotic 70s in San Francisco, summer home to a disgraced professor who rents an office space next to a psychiatrist. An unused conjoining door made of something like particle board—along with a patient's demand that the doctor's distracting sound machine be shut off —allow the academic to obsessively eavesdrop on those sessions...



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Fever Water
Darius James
Fever Water is a limited edition artist's book of one hundred and fifty numbered copies created by San Francisco based visual artist Tân Khánh Cao in collaboration with author Darius James. Its pages are printed on acid free one hundred percent cotton paper and vellum with archival ink and hand bound. Its melding of text and graphics...



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Water and the California Dream
Historic Choices for Shaping the Future
David Carle
The history of water is the history of the world. Carle has provided us with a fantastic framework for understanding California's past, present, and future, and makes a strong case for how we can transition away from exploitation and scarcity, and towards sustainability. —Recommended by Ivy, City Lights Books



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Blood in the Water
The Attica Prison Uprising of 1971 and Its Legacy
Heather Ann Thompson
A powerful and extraordinarily comprehensive study of the Attica uprising and its aftermath, and the repercussions still felt in our diabolical prison system today. —Recommended by Michael