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The Heyday of Malcolm Margolin
The Damn Good Times of a Fiercely Independent Publisher
Kim Bancroft
Northern California's book publishers are idiosyncratic, uncompromising, funky, forward-thinking, often brilliant, but largely unheralded beyond the state’s borders. Here’s the perfect book to shift that paradigm. Malcolm Margolin’s story of creating and sustaining Heyday Books, a vital Berkeley-based press celebrating its 40th anniversary...
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Bad Feminist
Essays
Roxane Gay
I compulsively read Roxane Gay's Bad Feminist whenever I could get a spare moment. My commute (my life!) was vastly improved as it felt like my coolest, smartest, pop-culture literate, and humane friend was sharing the ride, offering the low down on--and a considered critique of--the too numerous troublesome aspects of American life and culture.
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Over Easy
Mimi Pond
A charming/hilarious coming of age tale told in graphic novel form that depicts Mimi's existence as an art school drop out finding a new life behind the counter of an Oakland diner, and casting off the relics of the hippie age for the new punk dawn of 1978. —Recommended by Layla, City Lights Books
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Migrant
The Journey of a Mexican Worker
José Manual Mateo
This absolutely exquisite book relays the truths about immigration, utilizing the ancient form of the codex to a startling contemporary effect. —Recommended by Stacey, City lights Books
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Chicken
Self-Portrait of a Young Man for Rent
David Henry Sterry
I've never read anything quite like this memoir. David Henry Sterry performs a high-wire act in his vaudevilliain telling of life as a prostitute in 70s Hollywood. Alternately sad and hilarious, Sterry provokes serious thinking about family, sexuality, and addiction. —Recommended by Stacey, City Lights Books
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A Hologram for the King
A Novel
Dave Eggers
A sharp, clear, wide-eyed account of a businessman's troubles renders the destructive impact of global capitalism on everyman/woman. Also, the novel offers a "how to definitely not" self-care for a large, angry cyst if found on one's own neck...
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Ghost Moth
Michele Forbes
A beauty of a novel, Irish writer Michele Forbes delves deep into consequences of unrequited love. Brought to you by the enigmatic Bellevue Literary Press, a publishing house curiously based in NYC's infamous Bellevue Hospital. One of their previous books was Paul Harding's unforgettable Tinkers. — Recommended by Stacey, City Lights Books
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Wild
From Lost to Found on the Pacific Crest Trail
Cheryl Strayed
We loved this book for many reasons. Cheryl Strayed is smart, introspective, bad-ass, and loves books. She proves to her readers that it's often only in hindsight that we take the time to carefully reflect on our lives, finally seeing the trail through...
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Fine Fine Music
Stories
Cassie J. Sneider
Judd Apatow should collaborate with Cassie Sneider on his next screenplay, as she's a terrific writer who fearlessly mines her suburban life in this collection of stories that is guaranteed to bring you joy. I was blown away by her performance at our...
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Super Sad True Love Story
A Novel
Gary Shteyngart
Did the opposable thumb evolve to text? Happy to find that I'm not the only one contemplating such serious matters. Shteyngart's new novel is sad, but also very heartwarming to those of us skeptical of, and concerned about, the role that electronic...
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Just Kids
Patti Smith
Winner of the National Book Award. Just Kids illuminates the impressive lover of literature that Patti Smith is. Her memoir will be of particular interest to City Lights enthusiasts as she is our quintessential reader, a fan of the Surrealists...
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Bicycle Diaries
David Byrne
David Byrne's travel diaries illuminate the amazing power that dislocating oneself from their homebase has on the senses. His work sends him to cities in the US and around the world, and the visits are anything but passive.
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The Beats
A Graphic History
Paul Buhle, Harvey Pekar
I've read a lot of Beat books in my time here at City Lights, but none are quite as fun as this graphic history. The perfect collection for those who think they've heard all the stories about Kerouac, Burroughs, Ginsberg, et al. The Beats also provides...
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Everybody into the Pool
True Tales
Beth Lisick
Beth Lisick is the best kind of storyteller -- utterly original, naturally hilarious, wisely observant, and completely down-to-earth. Those who like David Sedaris, Sarah Vowell, Marjane Satrapi or Julie Doucet will absolutely love this book.

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