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
  |  Caitlyn
  |  Cassie
  |  Chris
  |  Don
  |  Elaine
  |  Erin
  |  Garrett
  |  Greg
  |  Ivy
  |  Jared
  |  Lawrence
  |  Linda
  |  Michael
  |  Nancy
  |  Paul
  |  Peter
  |  Ryan
  |  Scott
  |  Stacey
  |  Tân
  |  Vanessa

   
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Black Water Rising
A Novel
Attica Locke
Recommended by Paul, City Lights Books Jay Porter has long since made peace with not living the American Dream. He runs his fledgling law practice out of a dingy Houston strip mall—where his most promising client is a low-rent call girl—and he's...
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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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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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An American Genocide
The United States and the California Indian Catastrophe, 1846-1873
Benjamin Madley
Between 1846 and 1873, California's Indian population plunged from perhaps 150,000 to 30,000. Benjamin Madley is the first historian to uncover the full extent of the slaughter, the involvement of state and federal officials, the taxpayer dollars that supported the violence, indigenous resistance, who did the killing, and why the killings ended.
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A Marker to Measure Drift
A Novel
Alexander Maksik
A hypnotic, spellbinding novel set in Greece and Africa, where a young Liberian woman reckons with a haunted past. On a remote island in the Aegean, Jacqueline is living alone in a cave accessible only at low tide. With nothing to protect her from the elements, and with the fabric between herself and the world around her increasingly frayed...
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Fatale
Jean-Patrick Manchette
Aimée Joubert, the central character in Fatale, is a matter-of-fact businesswoman killer. In only his third novel translated into English (the two others published by City Lights), Manchette delivers a terse, immediate tale where Aimée deals the...
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The Gunman
A Novel
Jean-Patrick Manchette
Forget whatever you've read about the film. This is the darkest of dark noirs, in the tradition of Jim Thompson, and the last novel Manchette would publish before his early death. Every word Manchette wrote is worth your time, much as those of one of his predecessors in French minimalism, Georges Bernanos, is. —Recommended by Jeff, City Lights
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The Prone Gunman
City Lights Noir
Jean-Patrick Manchette
This is the darkest of dark noirs, in the tradition of Jim Thompson, and the last novel Manchette would publish before his early death. Every word Manchette wrote is worth your time, much as those of one of his predecessors in French minimalism, Georges Bernanos, is. —Recommended by Jeff, City Lights Books
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1493
Uncovering the New World Columbus Created
Charles C. Mann
From the author of 1491—the best-selling study of the pre-Columbian Americas—a deeply engaging new history of the most momentous biological event since the death of the dinosaurs. More than 200 million years ago, geological forces split apart the continents. Isolated from each other, the two halves of the world developed radically different...
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San Francisco Noir
Peter Maravelis
No trolley car stops at these dark, gritty San Francisco locales. The "other side of the postcard" brought to you by The City's best home-grown local writers. And edited by City Lights' own Peter Maravelis. —Recomended by Stacey, City Lights Publishers
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Girls to the Front
The True Story of the Riot Grrrl Revolution
Sara Marcus
In the early 1990s a group of friends in Olympia, Washington decided to tell the world what it felt like to be young and female in America. Through consciousness-raising meetings, zine exchanges, and numerous kick-ass all-girl punk bands, with the...
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The Twelve Tribes of Hattie
A Novel
Ayana Mathis
The arrival of a major new voice in contemporary fiction. A debut of extraordinary distinction: Ayana Mathis tells the story of the children of the Great Migration through the trials of one unforgettable family. In 1923, fifteen-year-old Hattie Shepherd flees Georgia and settles in Philadelphia, hoping for
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A Girl Is a Half-Formed Thing
A Novel
Eimear McBride
This debut novel by the talented Eimear McBride is fully formed on the page unlike anything else this year. The language is fragmented and lyrical, completely unique in its telling of an unnamed woman's Irish upbringing by a strict religious mother, an absent father, and a brother suffering from the effects of a brain tumor as a child.
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The Heart Is a Lonely Hunter
Carson McCullers
McCullers has a way of making her straight-forward, richly Southern voice sound as if she is speaking profound truths about the world around her, that of the 1940's and 50's deep South. This is her first novel (written at age 23!) and it is widely...

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