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!

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

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The Animals
A Novel
Christian Kiefer
For fans of Denis Johnson and Peter Matthiessen, a literary thriller from one of the most exciting new voices in American fiction. Bill Reed manages a wildlife sanctuary in rural Idaho, caring for injured animals—raptors, a wolf, and his beloved bear, Majer, among them—that are unable to survive in the wild.
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My Brother
Jamaica Kincaid
To say that Jamaica Kincaid's My Brother, about her brother's death from AIDS in 1996, is "profoundly moving, terribly sad, beautifully written; a life-changing event," would be a cliché of the kind she abhors. It would also be true. —Recommended by Alexander, City Lights Books
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A Novel
Lily King
From New England Book Award winner Lily King comes a breathtaking novel about three young anthropologists of the '30's caught in a passionate love triangle that threatens their bonds, their careers, and, ultimately, their lives. English anthropologist Andrew Bankson has been alone in the field for several years, studying the Kiona river tribe...
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Phil Klay
Phil Klay's Redeployment takes readers to the frontlines of the wars in Iraq and Afghanistan, asking us to understand what happened there, and what happened to the soldiers who returned. Interwoven with themes of brutality and faith, guilt and fear, helplessness and survival...
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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 Flamethrowers
A Novel
Rachel Kushner
Kushner's writing is authoritative and vivid, as exciting to read as the worlds she writes about. I could not put this down; it was intoxicating reading about a young woman making her way in worlds in which women don't usually get to exist, even in fiction. A cinematic, unstoppable, alienated and kick-fueled adventure.
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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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Meadowlark West
Philip Lamantia
Meadowlark West is the final complete collection of poetry written by legendary surrealist and beat-era author, Philip Lamantia (1927-2005). It is, in many ways, his masterpiece...
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The Devil in Silver
A Novel
Victor LaValle
How long do you think you would not be mentally ill if you were locked up in a mental hospital with a monster and no release date? A nightmare with friends, and thanks to the way Victor LaValle pokes holes in the racism of One Flew Over the Cuckoo's Nest, it tickles. —Recommended by Tân, City Lights Books
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Long Division
A Novel
Kiese Laymon
Kiese Laymon's debut novel is a Twain-esque exploration of celebrity, authorship, violence, religion, and coming of age in Post-Katrina Mississippi, written in a voice that's alternately funny, lacerating, and wise. The book contains two interwoven stories. In the first, it’s 2013: after an on-stage meltdown during a...
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The Gangster We Are All Looking For
Thi Diem Thuy Le
Recommended by Tan, City Lights Books: this acclaimed novel reveals the life of a Vietnamese family in America through the knowing eyes of a child finding her place and voice in a new country.
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The Left Hand of Darkness
Ursula K. Le Guin
A pivotal work of feminist science fiction, this is a moving story of friendship, love, and the human condition, which takes place on the planet Gethen known as "Winter" and populated by androgynous beings. This book made me think about myself...
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The Wind's Twelve Quarters
Ursula K. Le Guin
Le Guin is a writer about whom enough good things cannot be said, and who has a broad enough body of work that there is something for everyone. I could have picked any number of her novels, but this collection is exceptional as both an introduction to many of her major themes and in sheer storytelling terms.
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A True Story of Murder in America
Jill Leovy
"Ghettoside is fantastic. It does what the best narrative nonfiction does: It transcends its subject by taking one person's journey and making it all our journeys. That's what makes this not just a gritty, heart-wrenching, and telling book, but an important one. From the patrol cop to the president, everyone needs to read this book."

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