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How to Write an Autobiographical Novel
Essays
Alexander Chee's essays have a dark radiance to them, and are among the best examples of sensuality as a mode of intelligence I’ve found. Highly recommended. —Recommended by Vanessa
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Black Swans
Stories
Eve Babitz
"He was not remote, elevated, or windy enough for me; by God, I liked my men humiliating or at least impossible to get to..." Eve Babitz is full of such delights. Come for the gossip, stay for the sentences. —Recommended by Vanessa & Cassie
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Too Much and Not the Mood
Essays
Durga Chew-Bose
A debut collection of essays that feels at once like a long cool drink and a finely calibrated prism. Chew-Bose is one to keep an eye on.—Recommended by Vanessa
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The Trouble with Being Born
E. M. Cioran
Crotchety old man snarks about the pointlessness of life. Wonderful. —Recommended by Vanessa, City Lights Books
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The Red Atlas
How the Soviet Union Secretly Mapped the World
John Davies, Alexander J. Kent
Fascinating and full of detail. A wonderful rabbit hole to fall down, especially when Russian involvement in foreign politics has again made the news... —Recommended by Vanessa
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The Vanishing Princess
Stories
Jenny Diski
Strange, sneaky, sexy, smart. Snap it up. —Recommended by Vanessa
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Mrs. Caliban
Rachel Ingalls
Who doesn't secretly want a frog monster boyfriend? —Recommended by Cassie & Vanessa
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The Empathy Exams
Essays
Leslie Jamison
If you've got a glowing, tender heart and wonder how it's possible to feel so much, this is the book for you. Hypochondriacs are advised to skip essay #2.—Recommended by Vanessa, City Lights Books
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Goodbye, Vitamin
A Novel
Rachel Khong
Her life at a crossroads, a young woman goes home again in this funny and inescapably moving debut from a wonderfully original new literary voice. (Recommended by Vanessa)
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The Mars Room
Rachel Kushner
Stunning and unsentimental, The Mars Room demonstrates new levels of mastery and depth in Kushner's work. It is audacious and tragic, propulsive and yet beautifully refined. —Recommended by Vanessa & Paul
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The Incendiaries
A Novel
R.O. Kwon
A feast for the senses: feast on the sentences.––Recommended by Vanessa, City Lights Booksellers
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The Leopard
A Novel
Guiseppe Tomasi di Lampedusa
Starts off like a pleasurable, tipsy picnic in the hot sun; like so many picnics, the mood sours into gorgeous despair. A novel to savor with wine in hand. —Recommended by Vanessa, City Lights Books
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The Wind's Twelve Quarters
Stories
Ursula K. Le Guin
Le Guin is a writer about whom enough good things cannot be said, and who has a broad enough body of work that there is something for everyone. I could have picked any number of her novels, but this collection is exceptional as both an introduction to many of her major themes and in sheer storytelling terms.
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Her Body and Other Parties
Stories
Carmen Maria Machado
Every story in Carmen Maria Machado's "Her Body and Other Parties" unfolds with the creepy languor of a Kubrick film. Machado seduces you with devilishly great prose only to deliver the coup de grace of terror like a stiletto to the throat. —Recommended by Vanessa & Paul

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