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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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Are You My Mother?
A Comic Drama
Alison Bechdel
Pretty heady stuff going on here as Bechdel cross-examines her childhood to consider how she was affected by a smart, artistic, but emotionally-removed mother, and a repressed, angry father. If you don't regularly gravitate towards graphic novels, but love memoirs, this might be the ideal book for you to get a sense of the amazing genre.
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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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Bicycle Diaries
David Byrne
David Byrne's travel diaries illuminate the amazing power that dislocating oneself from their homebase has on the senses. His work sends him to cities in the US and around the world, and the visits are anything but passive.
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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 [Hardcover]
Roxane Gay
Award-winning author and powerhouse talent Roxane Gay burst onto the scene with An Untamed State and the New York Times bestselling essay collection Bad Feminist (Harper Perennial). Gay returns with Difficult Women, a collection of stories of rare force and beauty, of hardscrabble lives, passionate loves, and quirky and vexed human connection.
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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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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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Damascus
Joshua Mohr
Santa Claus tends bar as a stage 4 cancer patient, an artist, war vets, hipsters, and alcoholics collide in the San Francisco Mission bar Damascus. Mohr's pitch perfect, simmering, almost hard-boiled novel contains my favorite Hitler reference since..
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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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Lucky Boy
a novel
Shanthi Sekaran
A prescient novel, the Bay Area's Shanthi Sekaran's Lucky Boy is the one book I'd require someone to read to the president (because, ya know . . . ) before he says or tweets one more horrifying thing about immigration policy in the U.S. —Recommended by Stacey
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Super Sad True Love Story
A Novel
Gary Shteyngart
Did the opposable thumb evolve to text? Happy to find that I'm not the only one contemplating such serious matters. Shteyngart's new novel is sad, but also very heartwarming to those of us skeptical of, and concerned about, the role that electronic...

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