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
  |  Caitlyn
  |  Cassie
  |  Chris
  |  Don
  |  Elaine
  |  Emmitt
  |  Garrett
  |  Greg
  |  Ivy
  |  Jake
  |  Jared
  |  Jeff
  |  Lawrence
  |  Linda
  |  Michael
  |  Nancy
  |  Paul
  |  Peter
  |  Scott
  |  Stacey
  |  Tân
  |  Vanessa

   
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    sort list by title | author | publication date


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The Jemima Code
Two Centuries of African American Cookbooks
Toni Tipton-Martin
Women of African descent have contributed to America's food culture for centuries, but their rich and varied involvement is still overshadowed by the demeaning stereotype of an illiterate "Aunt Jemima" who cooked mostly by natural instinct. To discover the true role of black women in the creation of American, and especially southern, cuisine...
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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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Imperial San Francisco
Urban Power, Earthly Ruin
Gray Brechin
Think San Francisco is just some peacenik eco-urban utopia? Think again-- this city was built upon greed, corruption, ecological waste, and haphazard technology from its very start. But aren't all cities? —Recommended by Ivy, City Lights Books
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Big Science
Ernest Lawrence and the Invention That Launched the Military-Industrial Complex
Michael Hiltzik
The epic story of how science went "big" and the forgotten genius who started it all—“entertaining, thoroughly researched…partly a biography, partly an account of the influence of Ernest Lawrence's great idea, partly a short history of nuclear physics and the Bomb” (The Wall Street Journal).
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Pond
Claire-Louise Bennett
A gentle reminder that life is living and breathing prose, this water is shimmering and warm. Jump in! —Recommended by Cassie, City Lights Books
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Christodora
A Novel
Tim Murphy
In this vivid and compelling novel, Tim Murphy follows a diverse set of characters whose fates intertwine in an iconic building in Manhattan's East Village, the Christodora. Moving kaleidoscopically from the Tompkins Square Riots and the attempts by activists to galvanize a true response to the AIDS epidemic in the 1980s...
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Let's Let That Are Not Yet: Inferno
Ed Pavlic
"You've been thinking to yourself that it all feels very American." Ed Pavlic's tireless, resourceful speaker is American, of indeterminate race, implicated at every conceivable point of entry into the struggles that go on "here," which is everywhere, the Inferno of the title: "if an //analogy affects an enemy then let's let // inferno the..."
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A Brief History of Seven Killings
A Novel
Marlon James
Winner of the 2015 Man Booker Prize, Marlon James combines masterful storytelling with his unrivaled skill at characterization and his meticulous eye for detail to forge a novel of dazzling ambition and scope.
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The Way to the Spring
Life and Death in Palestine
Ben Ehrenreich
If you are looking for an unvarnished portrayal of life in the West Bank, Ben Ehrenreich's fascinating journey in The Way to the Spring is it. With this book, he joins the ranks of our great "war" journalists, exposing the heartbreaking realities for Palestinian families. —Recommended by Stacey, City Lights Publishers
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The Story of Alice
Lewis Carroll and the Secret History of Wonderland
Robert Douglas-Fairhurst
Robert Douglas-Fairhurst is all but steeped in the milieu and culture of Victorian England, so much so that reading this one feels less that Dodgson created Alice than that the age did, and that Dodgson was serendipitously poised to transcribe it— and not forgetting the young Alice Liddell without whom...
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Trace
Memory, History, Race, and the American Landscape
Lauret Edith Savoy
In this provocative and powerful mosaic of personal journeys and historical inquiry across a continent and time, Savoy explores how the country's still unfolding history, and ideas of "race," have marked her and the land. From twisted terrain within the San Andreas Fault zone to a South Carolina plantation, from national parks to burial grounds...
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After the Parade
A Novel
Lori Ostlund
This generous debut by local author Lori Ostlund is a strange delight. —Recommended by Cassie, City Lights Books From Flannery O'Connor and Rona Jaffe Award winner Lori Ostlund, a deeply moving and beautiful debut novel about a man who leaves his longtime partner in New Mexico for a new life in San Francisco...
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As Easy as Falling Off the Face of the Earth
Lynne Rae Perkins
This is the best my-parents-are-out-of-the-country-and-I'm-stranded-with-no-way-to-contact-anyone-and-I'm-going-to-make-my-way-to-the-other-side-of-the-world-no-matter-what story I've ever read. Funny and insightful and satisfying. A great read! For ages 12 & up —Recommended by Jeff, 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 Also recommended by Andy, City Lights Books

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