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My Favorite Thing is Monsters
A young girl befriends monsters, real and imagined, in this unhinged and singular coming-of-age story. —Recommended by Stacey
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The Heyday of Malcolm Margolin
The Damn Good Times of a Fiercely Independent Publisher
Kim Bancroft
Northern California's book publishers are idiosyncratic, uncompromising, funky, forward-thinking, often brilliant, but largely unheralded beyond the state’s borders. Here’s the perfect book to shift that paradigm. Malcolm Margolin’s story of creating and sustaining Heyday Books, a vital Berkeley-based press celebrating its 40th anniversary...
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The Beats
A Graphic History
Paul Buhle, Harvey Pekar
I've read a lot of Beat books in my time here at City Lights, but none are quite as fun as this graphic history. The perfect collection for those who think they've heard all the stories about Kerouac, Burroughs, Ginsberg, et al. The Beats also provides...
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I Must Not Think Bad Thoughts
Drive-by Essays on American Dread, American Dreams
Mark Dery
"I must not think bad thoughts. I must not think bad thoughts." These lyrics by the band X have been my mantra on many occasions as I trudged my way here and there. Lucky for us that Mark Dery goes deep into the territories that many of us shun, illuminating the absurdity, humor and truths found on the dark side. —Recommended by Stacey, City Lights
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Atomik Aztex
Sesshu Foster
A fantastical gonzo Aztlán mythology, where modern Aztecs and immigrant ghosts uncover blood sacrifice in Los Angeles
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Bad Feminist
Essays
Roxane Gay
I compulsively read Roxane Gay's Bad Feminist whenever I could get a spare moment. My commute (my life!) was vastly improved as it felt like my coolest, smartest, pop-culture literate, and humane friend was sharing the ride, offering the low down on--and a considered critique of--the too numerous troublesome aspects of American life and culture.
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Difficult Women
Stories
Roxane Gay
"Roxane Gay does not mince words or shy away from investigating the power dynamics of sex. An outstanding collection of stories including 'The Sacrifice of Darkness,' the perfect companion to Ray Bradbury's classic 'All Summer in a Day.'" —Recommended by Stacey
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Imagine Me Gone
Adam Haslett
Adam Haslett's new novel is devastating and darkly funny. Haslett's writing is graceful, and his intellectual curiosity is wide-ranging as he creates an unforgettable family's story tacking mental illness and race among other fraught topics. —Recommended by Stacey, City Lights Publishing
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California
A Novel
Edan Lepucki
Here's my kind of "beach read," perfect to accompany you while you scorn the cold and wind typical of San Francisco summers. Dig into Edan Lepucki's dark imaginings of utopian communities at the end of the world. —Recommended by Stacey, City Lights Publishers
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San Francisco Noir
Peter Maravelis
No trolley car stops at these dark, gritty San Francisco locales. The "other side of the postcard" brought to you by The City's best home-grown local writers. And edited by City Lights' own Peter Maravelis. —Recomended by Stacey, City Lights Publishers
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Jane
A Murder
Maggie Nelson
Maggie Nelson has a lot of fans on staff at City Lights, and I'm the latest member to join the club. Nelson compellingly portrays the murder of her aunt using a mix of memoir, theory, and poetics. Suggest reading "The Red Parts" (a nonfiction account by Nelson) first. —Recommended by Stacey, City Lights, Publishers
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Red Parts
Autobiography of a Trail
Maggie Nelson
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Hello, I'm Special
How Individuality Became the New Conformity
Hal Niedzviecki
Hal Niedzviecki has a blunt message for the army of tattoo and piercing enthusiasts, bloggers, skateboard warriors, and anyone else walking around with the smug certainty that they are one of a kind: Individuality is the new conformity.
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Gabi
A Girl in Pieces
Isabel Quintero
Wish this book had been around during the angst of my youth, but at least one can pick it up now and revel in the author's grace and humor in dealing with very heavy subject matter. Isabel Quintero reminds us of the transformative power of journal writing, as well. (For ages 12 and up) —Recommended by Stacey, City Lights Publishers

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