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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Girl in a Band
A Memoir
Kim Gordon
This sharply observed, collage-like memoir of a life in music and art left me inspired and ready for a new musical vision. The evocative Didion-esque depiction of Kim's girlhood in the post-Manson landscape of Los Angeles, the wild early '80s downtown NY art / no wave existence then, of course, her years spent playing bass in Sonic Youth…
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Counternarratives
Stories and Novellas
John Keene
Conjuring slavery and witchcraft, and with bewitching powers all its own, Counternarratives continually spins history―and storytelling―on its head Ranging from the 17th century to our current moment, and crossing multiple continents, Counternarratives' stories and novellas draw upon memoirs, newspaper accounts, detective stories...
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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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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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A Modern Way to Eat
200+ Satisfying Vegetarian Recipes (That Will Make You Feel Amazing)
Anna Jones
Beautiful, fresh, nourishing recipes that then provide almost endless variations once you've mastered the initial form. Just perfect. Nosh away! —Recommended by Vanessa, City Lights Books
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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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Our Only World
Ten Essays
Wendell Berry
As the United States prepares to leave its long war in Afghanistan, it now must contemplate the necessity of sending troops back to Iraq, recalling General Colin Powell's advice to President Bush: "If you break it, you own it," as the world’s hot spots threaten to spread over the globe with the ferocity of a war of holy terror and desperation.
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Drugged
The Science and Culture Behind Psychotropic Drugs
Richard J. Miller
"Morphine," writes Richard J. Miller, "is the most significant chemical substance mankind has ever encountered." So ancient that remains of poppies have been found in Neolithic tombs, it is the most effective drug ever discovered for treating pain. "Whatever advances are made in medicine," Miller adds, "nothing could really be more...
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The Sympathizer
A Novel
Viet Thanh Nguyen
Cracks the veneer. —Recommended by Tân, City Lights Books. Also recommended by Peter & Paul, City Lights Books
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Where All Light Tends to Go
A Novel
David Joy
"Remarkable . . . This isn't your ordinary coming-of-age novel, but with his bone-cutting insights into these men and the region that bred them, Joy makes it an extraordinarily intimate experience."—Marilyn Stasio, The New York Times Book Review "Lyrical, propulsive, dark and compelling. Joy knows well the grit and gravel of his world...
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Welcome to Braggsville
A Novel
T. Geronimo Johnson
From the PEN/Faulkner finalist and critically acclaimed author of Hold It 'Til It Hurts comes a dark and socially provocative Southern-fried comedy about four UC Berkeley students who stage a dramatic protest during a Civil War reenactment—a fierce, funny, tragic work from a bold new writer.

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