Commodity Aesthetics

Books in this online selection represent only a sliver of what we offer in the store. If you've got a particular book in mind and want to check on its availability, call us at 415-362-8193.



   
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The Art of Cruelty
A Reckoning
Maggie Nelson
"This is criticism at its best."―Carolyn Kellogg, Los Angeles Times Writing in the tradition of Susan Sontag and Elaine Scarry, Maggie Nelson has emerged as one of our foremost cultural critics with this landmark work about representations of cruelty and violence in art. From Sylvia Plath's poetry to Francis Bacon’s paintings...
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Assholes
A Theory
Aaron James
What does it mean for someone to be an asshole? The answer is not obvious, despite the fact that we are often stuck dealing with people for whom there is no better name. We try to avoid them, but assholes are everywhere—at work, at home, on the road, in the public sphere—and we struggle to comprehend why exactly someone should be acting like that.
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Dear White People
A Guide to Inter-Racial Harmony in "Post-Racial" America
Justin Simien
In the satirical tradition of the New York Times bestseller Stuff White People Like comes this witty companion book to the "incredibly entertaining" (Indiewire) film of the same name, which “heralds a fresh and funny new voice” (Variety). Right out of college, Justin Simien wrote a screenplay about the nuanced experiences of four black students.
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Flyboy 2
The Greg Tate Reader
Greg Tate
To call Tate a critic is like calling Charles Mingus a bassist—his intellectual, compositional and lyrical expansiveness catapults one into the cosmic slop of consciousness and opens new neural pathways. —Recommended by Michael, City Lights Books
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Friends, Followers and the Future
How Social Media are Changing Politics, Threatening Big Brands, and Killing Traditional Media
Rory O'Connor
Award-winning journalist Rory O'Connor explores how social media is transforming not only politics, media, and business, but every aspect of how we live.
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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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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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Men Explain Things To Me
Rebecca Solnit
In her comic, scathing essay, "Men Explain Things to Me," Rebecca Solnit took on what often goes wrong in conversations between men and women. She wrote about men who wrongly assume they know things and wrongly assume women don't, about why this arises, and how this aspect of the gender wars works.
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The Peep Diaries
How We're Learning to Love Watching Ourselves and Our Neighbors
Hal Niedzviecki
One man's journey through a rapidly transforming culture of lying, spying, revealing, and confessing
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Simulacra and Simulation
Jean Baudrillard
The publication of Simulacra et Simulation in 1981 marked Jean Baudrillard's first important step toward theorizing the postmodern. Moving away from the Marxist/Freudian
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The Universal Machine
Fred Moten
A suite of three essays on Emmanuel Levinas, Hannah Arendt, and Frantz Fanon, concluding Fred Moten's trilogy consent not to be a single being. (Recommended by Michael)
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We, Robots
Staying Human in the Age of Big Data
Curtis White
In the tradition of Jaron Lanier's You Are Not a Gadget, a rousing, sharply argued—and, yes, inspiring!—reckoning with our blind faith in technology Can technology solve all our problems? Despite overwhelming evidence to the contrary, many of our most famous journalists, pundits, and economists seem to think so.