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Jazz and Cocktails
Rethinking Race and the Sound of Film Noir
Jans B. Wager
Film noir showcased hard-boiled men and dangerous femmes fatales, rain-slicked city streets, pools of inky darkness cut by shards of light, and, occasionally, jazz. Jazz served as a shorthand for the seduction and risks of the mean streets in early film noir.—Recommended by Michael
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Kill 'Em and Leave
Searching for James Brown and the American Soul
James McBride
An unconventional, Citizen Kane-like search for an essentially unknowable man, and the results are fascinatingly oblique and as deep as the heavy funk that the Godfather committed to wax. —Recommended by Michael, City Lights Books
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Pure Solar World
Sun Ra and Afrofuturism
Paul Youngquist
The first book to thoroughly explore Sun Ra's vast and wondrous vision, both as cosmic philosopher and Afrocentric historian/mythologist. An essential voyage for Ra fans. —Recommended by Michael
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Known and Strange Things
Essays
Teju Cole
A blazingly intelligent first book of essays from the award-winning author of Open City and Every Day Is for the Thief With this collection of more than fifty pieces on politics, photography, travel, history, and literature, Teju Cole solidifies his place as one of today's most powerful and original voices.
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The Sellout
A Novel
Paul Beatty
—Recommended by Tân & Paul & Michael, City Lights Books
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S O S
Poems 1961-2013
Amiri Baraka
The first comprehensive collection to show the full arc of Baraka's beautiful and revolutionary poetics. Essential. —Recommended by Michael, City lights Books
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Água Viva
A Novel
Clarice Lispector
Lispector at her most philosophically radical. A meditation on the nature of life and time, Água Viva (1973) shows Lispector discovering a new means of writing about herself, more deeply transforming her individual experience into a universal poetry. In a body of work as emotionally powerful, formally innovative, and philosophically profound as...
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No Name in the Street
James Baldwin
Both a stunningly personal document and a turbulent portrait of the late-Sixties and early-Seventies, this is Baldwin's literary equivalent of Sly Stone’s furious and despairing There’s a Riot Goin’ On. —Recommended by Michael, City Lights Books