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The Barbary Coast
An Informal History of the San Francisco Underworld
Herbert Asbury
You're standing right in it! The Barbary Coast. 150 years ago this area was a den of such vice and iniquity that it would've made even the Marquis de Sade blush. Find out why... —Recommended by Don, City Lights Books
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Black Hole
Charles Burns
This is a beautifully drawn and eerie novel set in the 1970s. Seattle teens get a disease that transforms them into mutants. Their battle against this and other more normal high school situations, makes for a frighteningly good read.
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Ready Player One
Ernest Cline
If you are a geek for 80s popculture taking place in Virtual Reality in the futuretime of 2044, solving videogame mysteries to win the ultimate prize, then this book is for you. I loved it to bytes! —Recommended by Don, City Lights Books
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The Sisters Brothers
Patrick deWitt
This humorous Western novel takes place in the 1850s as two brothers on horseback search for a man they are paid to kill. Philosophy, love and greed spouting from their lips, they meet insane characters on the road from Oregon to San Francisco...
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The Lost City of Z
A Tale of Deadly Obsession in the Amazon
David Grann
A fascinating tale of travel, intrigue, and finding a lost city of gold in the Amazon jungle. The author tries to retrace the steps made by Percy Fawcett (the great explorer from the early 1900's), who went searching for the lost city with his son—neither
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The Magicians
A Novel
Lev Grossman
A wonderfully-written novel of fantasy for adults. For any of fan of Narnia, Harry Potter or The Lord of the Rings, but with a drunken, drugged-out edge. The true-to-life characters take you through the whirlwind of going to a university for magic...
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Big Sur
Jack Kerouac
An interesting biography of what happens when fame and age taint the dream of being "on the road" in the life of this aspiring poet. The book details Kerouac's descent into alcoholism and hope for salvation. I think this is one of his greatest...
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The Painted Bird
Jerzy Kosinski
This controversial novel shows the horrors of a young boy who goes into hiding, running from the atrocities of the Holocaust in the beginning of WW2. Deeply moving with sadness & violence, it's a book you’ll not soon forget.
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John Barleycorn
Jack London
I would say that London is one of the best fiction writers to ever hold the pen. But these tales are more of a memoir of the man himself--a poor Bay Area native whose words of travel and woe and drunkenness and poetry would later give birth to the...
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Time Was Soft There
A Paris Sojourn at Shakespeare & Co.
Jeremy Mercer
This is for all travelers of the world. Mercer captures the essence of living and working at the historic bookstore Shakespeare and Co. These tales of laughter and woe will entertain you and make you want to travel – or at least visit Paris and meet...
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McTeague
A Story of San Francisco
Frank Norris
Set in San Francisco's Tenderloin in 1899, McTeague concerns a simple dentist, his miserly wife, and the deterioration of friendship! This is the only soap opera you need: backstabbing, recklessness, and a duel in Death Valley!
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The Psychopath Test
A Journey Through the Madness Industry
Jon Ronson
You may be one. But if you're not, someone you know is! An intriguing read. —Recommended by Don, City Lights Books The Psychopath Test is a fascinating journey through the minds of madness. Jon Ronson's exploration of a potential hoax being played...
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Tortilla Flat
John Steinbeck
If you've never read Steinbeck, now's the time. This is the perfect time to read about a district in Monterey, not far from here...an hilarious ride with the local poverty-stricken, kind-hearted folks who Steinbeck liked to compare to the Knights of...
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Snow Crash
Neal Stephenson
From the opening line of his breakthrough cyberpunk novel Snow Crash, Neal Stephenson plunges the reader into a not-too-distant future. It is a world where the Mafia controls pizza delivery, the United States exists as a patchwork of...

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