Staff Recommendations

A listing of staff proclivities, recommended by both past and present bookstore and publishing employees. Check back for new recommendations each month as we bring you the best of what we're reading or have read. Browse by title, author or staff member!



  Andy
  |  Cassie
  |  Chris
  |  Don
  |  Elaine
  |  Emmitt
  |  Garrett
  |  Jackson
  |  Jeff
  |  Lawrence
  |  Layla
  |  Linda
  |  Michael
  |  Nancy
  |  Paul
  |  Peter
  |  Scott
  |  Stacey
  |  Tân
  |  Vanessa

   
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A History of Money
A Novel
Alan Pauls
A major new novel from the writer Roberto Bolaño called "one of the best living Latin American writers" Alan Pauls, one of Latin American literature's rising stars, combines the intimate and the political in a novel that, although it is set in Argentina in the 1970s and '80s, will bring to mind books like Choire Sicha's Very Recent History...
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Preparing the Ghost
An Essay Concerning the Giant Squid and Its First Photographer
Matthew Gavin Frank
Part giant squid, part historical investigation, part ice cream memoir. Don't expect your typical oceanic essay, instead read in awe as Frank explores the limits of memory and sea monsters.—Recommended by Cassie, City Lights Books
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Love Me Back
A Novel
Merritt Tierce
This novel is not perfect, but it is one of the few contemporary works of fiction that have lodged in my brain and poked at my softer parts once finished. It's cold, bitter work to get through this, but Tierce is a writer I'll be watching. —Recommended by Vanessa, City Lights Books
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Divine Horsemen
The Living Gods of Haiti
Maya Deren
This is the classic, intimate study, movingly written with the special insight of direct encounter, which was first published in 1953 by the fledgling Thames & Hudson firm. Maya Deren's Divine Horsemen is recognized throughout the world as a primary source book on the culture and spirituality of Haitian Voudoun.
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Destruction Was My Beatrice
Dada and the Unmaking of the Twentieth Century
Jed Rasula
The perfect companion to Hugo Ball's Flight Out of Time, Huelsenbeck's Memoirs of a Dada Drummer, and Hans Richter's Art and Anti-Art. Jed Rasula has done a great service to Dada lovers everywhere. This is sure to be the "go to" book for years to come. —Recommended by Peter, City Lights Books
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Counternarratives
Stories and Novellas
John Keene
If I were on a deserted island and had to pick one book to read over and over again, I. would. take. this. one. —Recommended by Tân, City Lights Books
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The Argonauts
Maggie Nelson
An intrepid voyage out to the frontiers of the latest thinking about love, language, and family. Maggie Nelson's The Argonauts is a genre-bending memoir, a work of "autotheory" offering fresh, fierce, and timely thinking about desire, identity, and the limitations and possibilities of love and language. At its center is a romance: the story of...
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The Story of Alice
Lews Carroll and the Secret History of Wonderland
Following his acclaimed life of Dickens, Robert Douglas-Fairhurst illuminates the tangled history of two lives and two books. Drawing on numerous unpublished sources, he examines in detail the peculiar friendship between the Oxford mathematician Charles Dodgson (Lewis Carroll) and Alice Liddell, the child for whom he invented the Alice stories.
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LAtitudes
An Angeleno's Atlas
Patricia Wakida
This literary and cartographic exploration of Los Angeles reorients our understanding of the city in highly imaginative ways. Illuminated by boldly conceived and artfully rendered maps and infographics, nineteen essays by LA's most exciting writers reveal complex histories and perspectives of a place notorious for superficiality.
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Dreamland
The True Tale of America's Opiate Epidemic
Sam Quinones
Two horrifying tales of unintended consequences, brilliantly interwoven by a master of narrative nonfiction. Powerful and important. —Recommended by Jeff, City Lights Books
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Legions of Boom
Filipino American Mobile DJ Crews in the San Francisco Bay Area
Oliver Wang
Armed with speakers, turntables, light systems, and records, Filipino American mobile DJ crews, such as Ultimate Creations, Spintronix, and Images, Inc., rocked dance floors throughout the San Francisco Bay Area from the late 1970s through the mid-1990s. In Legions of Boom noted music and pop culture writer and scholar Oliver Wang chronicles...
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On Time
Poems 2005 - 2014
Joanne Kyger
On Time contains poem that speak like smoke rings drifting through a Bolinas afternoon. I can say with certainty that she is one of best poets writing in English today, and we are lucky to be alive to read her thought-nerves doing what they do best in a mundane and profound and ever-changing world. —Recommended by Jackson, City Lights Books
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What About This
Collected Poems of Frank Stanford
Frank Stanford
This book couldn't have reached me soon enough. Many of us devoted Frank Stanford fans have been waiting for this book for many, many years. It is comprised of both published and unpublished poems, and for the exception of a few reissued books, I would say that 75% of these poems have been practically impossible to get a hold of.
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I Learn from Children
An Adventure in Progressive Education
Caroline Pratt
"A lucid presentation of what progressive education can accomplish."—The New York Times How should schools prepare students for the Information Age? The successful worker of the future – a creative, independent thinker who works well in teams—would seem to be too self-contradictory to be the deliberate product of a school.

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