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

   
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    sort list by author | publication date


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I'm Your Man
The Life of Leonard Cohen
Sylvie Simmons
Beautifly written, impossible to put down, and an absolute must for any Cohen fan! Or, for that matter, for any fan of the worlds of travel, religion and poetry, as well as the inner workings of the music industry. Cohen was such an interesting man...
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In Case of Emergency
A Novel
Courtney Moreno
This excellent debut novel is about trauma––how we deal with it, are exposed to it, and invite it into our lives––through the eyes of a rookie EMT entering a (possibly) dangerous new romance with a brain-damaged veteran, mourning the disappearnce of her mother, and working 24-hour shifts in South Central LA. —Recommended By Chris, City Lights
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In the Skin of a Lion
Michael Ondaatje
Although not as well known as The English Patient, this novel showcases Michael Ondaatje's best writing-- vividly tracing the stories of several new immigrants navigating their way in 1920's Toronto...
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The Infinite Tides
Christian Kiefer
An impressive debut novel from NorCal poet, songwriter and recording artist Kiefer, full of achingly beautiful passages on loss and regret, yet leavened with self-aware humor and with wonderment at the banality of contemporary suburbia.
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Invisible Man
Ralph Ellison
Sometimes we mean to read the great books, but we're too busy with what’s new and exciting. Invisible Man will make you wonder what current novel could possibly compete for your attention. This is a beautiful, brutal, and amazingly prescient work about...
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Island of a Thousand Mirrors
A Novel
Nayomi Munaweera
Before violence tore apart the tapestry of Sri Lanka and turned its pristine beaches red, there were two families. Yasodhara tells the story of her own Sinhala family, rich in love, with everything they could ask for. As a child in idyllic Colombo, Yasodhara's and her siblings' lives are shaped by social hierarchies, their parents’ ambitions...
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It Chooses You
Miranda July
July is an incredible artist. She's also a film director, actress and screenwriter (Me and You and Everyone We Know) and this book chronicles her strange yet endlessly intriguing creative process. She finds herself with writer's block during...
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John Barleycorn
Jack London
I would say that London is one of the best fiction writers to ever hold the pen. But these tales are more of a memoir of the man himself--a poor Bay Area native whose words of travel and woe and drunkenness and poetry would later give birth to the...
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Journey to the End of the Night
Louis-Ferdinand Céline
When it was published in 1932, this then-shocking and revolutionary first fiction redefined the art of the novel with its black humor, its nihilism, and its irreverent, explosive writing style, and made Louis-Ferdinand Celine one of France's--and...
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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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Just My Type
A Book About Fonts
Simon Garfield
"Comic Sans walks into a bar. The bartender says, 'We don't serve your type here.'" This is probably the most fluid, engaging book about fonts you'll ever read. Whether you're a professional designer or just your everyday type enthusiast, you will...
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Language Arts
Cedar Sigo
Language Arts, like Cedar Sigo, is playfully spontaneous. Sigo uses poetry as a way to record his own adventures as a reader, traveler, lover, poet, friend, and he welcomes the reader to share the experience. The pleasure he gets in writing these poems is infectious, and the resulting collection is absorbing for its movement...
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Last Words from Montmartre
Qiu Miaojin
Part epistolary novel, part suicide note, part textual experiment, and wholly unlike anything else. —Recommended by Vanessa, City Lights Books
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The Lazarus Project
Aleksandar Hemon
On March 2, 1908, nineteen-year-old Lazarus Averbuch, an Eastern European Jewish immigrant, was shot to death on the doorstep of the Chicago chief of police and cast as a would-be anarchist assassin. A century later, a young Eastern European writer...

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