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Epistrophies
Jazz and the Literary Imagination
Brent Hayes Edwards
In 1941 Thelonious Monk and Kenny Clarke copyrighted "Epistrophy," one of the best-known compositions of the bebop era. The song's title refers to a literary device—the repetition of a word or phrase at the end of successive clauses—that is echoed in the construction of the melody. —Recommended by Paul & Scott
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Writing to Save a Life
The Louis Till File
John Edgar Wideman
An award-winning writer traces the life of the father of iconic Civil Rights martyr Emmett Till—a man who was executed by the Army ten years before Emmett's murder. An evocative and personal exploration of individual and collective memory in America by one of the most formidable Black intellectuals of our time.
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The Underground Railroad
A Novel
Colson Whitehead
Cora is a slave on a cotton plantation in Georgia. Life is hell for all the slaves, but especially bad for Cora; an outcast even among her fellow Africans, she is coming into womanhood—where even greater pain awaits. When Caesar, a recent arrival from Virginia, tells her about the Underground Railroad, they decide to take a terrifying risk...
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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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The Good Lord Bird
James McBride
Quite the masterwork. A poignant delight with a sense of humor that sears to the bone. —Recommended by Scott, City Lights Books
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El Narco
Inside Mexico's Criminal Insurgency
Ioan Grillo
The world has watched, stunned, the bloodshed in Mexico. Forty thousand murdered since 2006; police chiefs shot within hours of taking office; mass graves comparable to those of civil wars; car bombs shattering storefronts; headless corpses heaped...
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Fatale
Jean-Patrick Manchette
Aimée Joubert, the central character in Fatale, is a matter-of-fact businesswoman killer. In only his third novel translated into English (the two others published by City Lights), Manchette delivers a terse, immediate tale where Aimée deals the...
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Nightmare Alley
William Lindsay Gresham
This is dark.This is disturbing. This is life in carny-hell. —Recommended by (most of) the City Lights staff Nightmare Alley begins with an extraordinary description of a freak-show geek—alcoholic and abject and the object of the voyeuristic crowd's...
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Deadwood
Pete Dexter
Deadwood, Dakota Territories, 1876: Legendary gunman Wild Bill Hickcock and his friend Charlie Utter have come to the Black Hills town of Deadwood fresh from Cheyenne, fleeing an ungrateful populace. Bill, aging and sick but still able to best any man...