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
  |  Emmitt
  |  Garrett
  |  Greg
  |  Ivy
  |  Jackson
  |  Jeff
  |  Lawrence
  |  Linda
  |  Michael
  |  Nancy
  |  Paul
  |  Peter
  |  Scott
  |  Stacey
  |  Tân
  |  Vanessa

   
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    sort list by title | publication date


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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 Leopard
A Novel
Guiseppe Tomasi di Lampedusa
Starts off like a pleasurable, tipsy picnic in the hot sun; like so many picnics, the mood sours into gorgeous despair. A novel to savor with wine in hand. —Recommended by Vanessa, City Lights Books
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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
Stories
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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Ghettoside
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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Dissident Gardens
A Novel
Jonathan Lethem
A dazzling novel from one of our finest writers—an epic yet intimate family saga about three generations of all-American radicals At the center of Jonathan Lethem's superb new novel stand two extraordinary women: Rose Zimmer, the aptly nicknamed Red Queen of Sunnyside, Queens, is an unreconstructed Communist who savages neighbors, family...
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Every You, Every Me
David Levithan
A powerful exploration of those intense relationships we form in high school, relationships we assume (no, not assume, know) will define our lives. And those assumptions are always wrong. This realization tears apart a group of friends as they try to...
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The Ask
A Novel
Sam Lipsyte
A New York Times Bestseller A New York Times Book Review Editors' ChoiceMilo Burke—husband, father, development officer at a third-tier university—has just joined the burgeoning class of the newly unemployed. Grasping after odd jobs to support his...
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Água Viva
A Novel
Clarice Lispector
Lispector at her most philosophically radical. A meditation on the nature of life and time, Água Viva (1973) shows Lispector discovering a new means of writing about herself, more deeply transforming her individual experience into a universal poetry. In a body of work as emotionally powerful, formally innovative, and philosophically profound as...

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