Staff Recommendations

A listing of current favorites, recommended by the bookstore staff. Check back for new recommendations each month as we bring you the best of what we're reading. Browse by title, author or staff member!



  Anah
  |  Andy
  |  Don
  |  Elaine
  |  Elaine Kahn
  |  Garrett
  |  Gent
  |  Jackson
  |  Jeff
  |  Lawrence
  |  Layla
  |  Linda
  |  Matt
  |  Michael
  |  Nancy
  |  Paul
  |  Peter
  |  Scott
  |  Stacey
  |  Tân
  |  Vanessa

   
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    sort list by title | author


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The Maze Runner
James Dashner
Thomas wakes up, with no memory, surrounded by other boys his age, in a place they call the Glade. All they know is that the stone door set in the insurmountable stone wall opens every morning and closes every evening. Outside lies a maze against which...
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Border Songs
Jim Lynch
It is one of the particular pleasures of being a bookseller that every now and then I read a book that brings the world into sharper focus and ontological shadows into light. A book that creates a penumbra of perception that allows the world to shimmer wi
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I Hotel
Karen Tei Yamashita
I can say without any equivocation that I Hotel is an amazing literary accomplishment and one of the most pleasurable reading experiences I have ever had. I believe I Hotel stands on the same plane of accomplishment as Roberto Bolaño's The Savage...
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The Magicians
A Novel
Lev Grossman
A wonderfully-written novel of fantasy for adults. For any of fan of Narnia, Harry Potter or The Lord of the Rings, but with a drunken, drugged-out edge. The true-to-life characters take you through the whirlwind of going to a university for magic...
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Low Bite
Sin Soracco
Full of ovaries and bravada, this is not a girls-gone-wild-behind-bars pulp tale. But it is an underground classic thankfully back in print. It is also a picture of life behind bars and the hustle to stay cool and get out without playing out or getting...
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The City & The City
China Mieville
A wonderfully labyrinthine novel. Ostensibly a murder mystery cum police procedural, Mieville has much more on his mind here -- how does a class of people define itself and coexist with another class of people with whom it may, on the surface, have...
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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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Pain Killers
A Novel
Jerry Stahl
Jerry Stahl tears up the literary scene with his razor sharp wit and darkly hilarious prose. He puts a magnifying glass to consensus reality, burning through it's thin veneer with delicious irony. Punk Rabbi, cultural critic, prankster, master wordsmith!
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The Lost City of Z
A Tale of Deadly Obsession in the Amazon
David Grann
A fascinating tale of travel, intrigue, and finding a lost city of gold in the Amazon jungle. The author tries to retrace the steps made by Percy Fawcett (the great explorer from the early 1900's), who went searching for the lost city with his son—neither
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Cutting for Stone
Abraham Verghese
Recommended by Paul, City Lights Books. Marion and Shiva Stone are twin brothers born of a secret union between a beautiful Indian nun and a brash British surgeon. Orphaned by their mother's death and their father’s disappearance, bound together by a...
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In Other Rooms, Other Wonders
Daniyal Mueenuddin
Recommended by Paul, City Lights Books "The rural rootedness and gentle humour of R.K. Narayan with the literary sophistication and stylishness of Jhumpa Lahiri."—Financial Times Passing from the mannered drawing rooms of Pakistan's cities to the harsh..
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What the World Will Look Like When All the Water Leaves Us
Laura van den Berg
There is a monster in every one of these stories. Some are imaginary: like the Sasquatch and the Loch Ness Monster. Some are real: like snakes, global warming, and divorce. A beautiful and exciting debut from a young writer who is one to watch.
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Sea of Poppies
Amitav Ghosh
Recommended by Paul, City Lights Books The first in an epic trilogy, Sea of Poppies is "a remarkably rich saga . . . which has plenty of action and adventure à la Dumas, but moments also of Tolstoyan penetration--and a drop or two of Dickensian...
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Hard Rain Falling
Don Carpenter
Don Carpenter's Hard Rain Falling is a tough-as-nails account of being down and out, but never down for good—a Dostoyevskian tale of crime, punishment, and the pursuit of an ever-elusive redemption. The novel follows the adventures of Jack Levitt, an...

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