Staff Recommendations

A listing of staff proclivities, recommended by both past and present bookstore and publishing employees. Check back for new recommendations each month as we bring you the best of what we're reading or have read. Browse by title, author or staff member!



  Andy
  |  Cassie
  |  Chris
  |  Don
  |  Elaine
  |  Emmitt
  |  Garrett
  |  Jackson
  |  Jeff
  |  Lawrence
  |  Layla
  |  Linda
  |  Michael
  |  Nancy
  |  Paul
  |  Peter
  |  Scott
  |  Stacey
  |  Tân
  |  Vanessa

   
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    sort list by title | author


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Dragonfish
A Novel
Vu Tran
"Vu Tran's Dragonfish is that rare hybrid marvel―a literary thriller, a narrative of migration and loss that upends the conventions of any form." ―Dinaw Mengestu, author of All Our Names
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Between the World and Me
Ta-Nehisi Coates
This is a tremendous gift to the world. —Recommended by Tân, City Lights Books Also recommended by Scott & Paul, City Lights Books
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Oreo
Fran Ross
Oreo is raised by her maternal grandparents in Philadelphia. Her black mother tours with a theatrical troupe, and her Jewish deadbeat dad disappeared when she was an infant, leaving behind a mysterious note that triggers her quest to find him. What ensues is a playful, modernized parody of the classical odyssey of Theseus with a feminist twist...
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Preparing the Ghost
An Essay Concerning the Giant Squid and Its First Photographer
Matthew Gavin Frank
Part giant squid, part historical investigation, part ice cream memoir. Don't expect your typical oceanic essay, instead read in awe as Frank explores the limits of memory and sea monsters.—Recommended by Cassie, 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
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The Sunken Cathedral
A Novel
Prose that refracts, that conjures the twisting paths of memories, that engulfs and soothes. Sad, lovely, and difficult to put down.—Recommended by Vanessa, City Lights Books Also recommended by Paul, City Lights Books
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Nabokov in America
On the Road to Lolita
Robert Roper
How did Lolita come to be? The author dissects Nabokov's exile in America and the masterpiece resulting from it, without lionizing either the man or his ouevre. Engaging. —Recommended by Jeff, City Lights Books
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A History of Money
A Novel
Alan Pauls
A major new novel from the writer Roberto Bolaño called "one of the best living Latin American writers" Alan Pauls, one of Latin American literature's rising stars, combines the intimate and the political in a novel that, although it is set in Argentina in the 1970s and '80s, will bring to mind books like Choire Sicha's Very Recent History...
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Destruction Was My Beatrice
Dada and the Unmaking of the Twentieth Century
Jed Rasula
The perfect companion to Hugo Ball's Flight Out of Time, Huelsenbeck's Memoirs of a Dada Drummer, and Hans Richter's Art and Anti-Art. Jed Rasula has done a great service to Dada lovers everywhere. This is sure to be the "go to" book for years to come. —Recommended by Peter, City Lights Books
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Counternarratives
Stories and Novellas
John Keene
If I were on a deserted island and had to pick one book to read over and over again, I. would. take. this. one. —Recommended by Tân, City Lights Books
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Leaving Orbit
Notes from the Last Days of American Space Flight
Margaret Lazarus Dean
Feeling torn between great science writing, a searching memoir, a critique of government, and some literary criticism? Fear not, they can all be had in one volume, and this is it. A surprisingly emotional take on the end of NASA's space shuttle program—but so much more. —Recommended by Vanessa, City Lights Books
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The Story of Alice
Lews Carroll and the Secret History of Wonderland
Following his acclaimed life of Dickens, Robert Douglas-Fairhurst illuminates the tangled history of two lives and two books. Drawing on numerous unpublished sources, he examines in detail the peculiar friendship between the Oxford mathematician Charles Dodgson (Lewis Carroll) and Alice Liddell, the child for whom he invented the Alice stories.
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Painted Horses
A Novel
Malcolm Brooks
In the mid-1950s, America was flush with prosperity and saw an unbroken line of progress clear to the horizon, while the West was still very much wild. In this ambitious, incandescent debut, Malcolm Brooks animates that time and untamed landscape, in a tale of the modern and the ancient, of love and fate, and of heritage threatened by progress.
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Dear Leader
Rogers work is interested mostly in memory as an unstoppable source of injury that moves through the present into the future, so she calls it out by name ("Leader"), thus rendering it powerless. Mixing a very straight-ahead, prose-like delivery with strange, visionary images, she converts the power of the dominant against itself, creating...

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