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The Back Country
Gary Snyder
The Back Country is one of Gary Snyder's most serious engagements with Eastern culture and thought. Much of the book works to achieve a perspective by means of contrast, as in "Hitch Haiku," a series of haiku (a Japanese form of imagistic, syllabic...

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Distance No Object
Gloria Frym
Gloria Frym turns her ironic, passionate gaze to 1990s post-Vietnam Berkeley and San Francisco."Frym turns an unflinching eye on human interaction, capturing casual and intimate exchanges between strangers on trains, estranged husbands and wives, and...

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The Back Room
Carmen Martín Gaite
In the middle of the night, a woman awakens to find a stranger in her bedroom. Though she cannot determine who he is--or, indeed, whether he is even real at all and not just an extension of her dreams or her writing–she is drawn into a conversation...

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Dusk and Other Stories
James Salter
Do you remember those rock tumblers that would turn any old pebble into a shining jewel? These stories are just like those jewels: endlessly worked until no rough edges remain, buffed to an impenetrable, bright surface in which you can almost see yourself. Excellent.—Recommended by Vanessa, City Lights Books

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Love Me Back
A Novel
Merritt Tierce
This novel is not perfect, but it is one of the few contemporary works of fiction that have lodged in my brain and poked at my softer parts once finished. It's cold, bitter work to get through this, but Tierce is a writer I'll be watching. —Recommended by Vanessa, City Lights Books