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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    sort list by title | author


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The Barbarian Nurseries
Héctor Tobar
A riveting tale of class, race, and social mores in contemporary Southern California. Araceli, the Mexican maid of the Torres-Thompson family, leads us on a Los Angeles odyssey that reveals the topography of a culture through Tobar's nuanced portrayal...
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Tapping the Source
A Novel
Kem Nunn
A noir set in the burned-out post-hippie landscape of early 1980s Huntington Beach. Often referred to as a "surf noir" novel, perhaps because of the lean, stripped-down evocative prose and the mystical hue of the plot. And of course, there's the fact that the book is set around the seedy edges of Southern California's surf culture. Sonic Youth...
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A Boy and a Bear in a Boat
Dave Shelton
One of the most charming books I've ever encountered. Just flip through it and try not to smile at the author's whimsical illustrations. (For ages 8 to 12) —Recommended by Jeff, City Lights Books
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Ready Player One
Ernest Cline
If you are a geek for 80s popculture taking place in Virtual Reality in the futuretime of 2044, solving videogame mysteries to win the ultimate prize, then this book is for you. I loved it to bytes! —Recommended by Don, City Lights Books
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Always in Trouble
An Oral History of ESP-Disk', The Most Outrageous Record Label in America
Jason Weiss
In 1964, Bernard Stollman launched the independent record label ESP-Disk' in New York City to document the free jazz movement there. A bare-bones enterprise, ESP was in the right place at the right time, producing albums by artists like Albert Ayler...
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The Psychopath Test
A Journey Through the Madness Industry
Jon Ronson
You may be one. But if you're not, someone you know is! An intriguing read. —Recommended by Don, City Lights Books The Psychopath Test is a fascinating journey through the minds of madness. Jon Ronson's exploration of a potential hoax being played...
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The Last Werewolf
A Novel
Meet Jake. A bit on the elderly side (he turns 201 in March), but otherwise in the pink of health. The nonstop sex and exercise he's still getting probably contribute to that, as does his diet: unusual amounts of flesh and blood (at least some from friends and relatives). Jake, of course, is a werewolf, and with the death of his colleague...
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Say Her Name
Francisco Goldman
For 20 years, Francisco Goldman has been one of the most profound and exuberant voices in the literature of the Americas. Goldman is the secret scribe whose influence can be discerned in a generation of writers that includes Junot Diaz and Daniel Alarcon.
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The Buddha in The Attic
Julie Otsuka
In eight incantatory sections, The Buddha in the Attic traces their extraordinary lives, from their arduous journey by boat, where they exchange photographs of their husbands, imagining uncertain futures in an unknown land; to their arrival in San...
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Little Bird
Germano Zullo
Beautiful. —Recommended by Tân, City Lights Books. A man drives his truck up to a cliff's edge. Unable to go any further, he opens the back door of his truck and a flock of birds flies out, but, as the man soon discovers, a small timid bird remains.
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The Grey Album
On the Blackness of Blackness
Kevin Young
Taking its title from Danger Mouse's pioneering mashup of Jay-Z's The Black Album and the Beatles' The White Album, Kevin Young’s encyclopedic book combines essay, cultural criticism, and lyrical chorus to illustrate the African American tradition of...
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Gods Without Men
Hari Kunzru
Jaz and Lisa Matharu are plunged into a surreal public hell after their son, Raj, vanishes during a family vacation in the California desert. However, the Mojave is a place of strange power, and before Raj reappears inexplicably unharmed...
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The Crimean War
A History
Orlando Figes
From "the great storyteller of modern Russian historians," (Financial Times) the definitive account of the forgotten war that shaped the modern age The Charge of the Light Brigade, Florence Nightingale—these are the enduring icons of the Crimean War.
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The Sisters Brothers
Patrick deWitt
This humorous Western novel takes place in the 1850s as two brothers on horseback search for a man they are paid to kill. Philosophy, love and greed spouting from their lips, they meet insane characters on the road from Oregon to San Francisco...

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