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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    sort list by title | publication date


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Designing San Francisco
Art, Land, and Urban Renewal in the City by the Bay
Alison Isenberg
Designing San Francisco is the untold story of the formative postwar decades when U.S. cities took their modern shape amid clashing visions of the future. —Recommended by Paul
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Chester B. Himes
A Biography
Lawrence P. Jackson
Finally the definitive biography of the brilliant and often undervalued writer. Expansive, unflinching and deeply revelatory. —Recommended by Michael
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The Liminal People
The First Book of The Liminal Trilogy
Ayize Jama-Everett
Razor. Plush. Fast. —Recommended by Tân, City Lights Books
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A Brief History of Seven Killings
A Novel
Marlon James
Winner of the 2015 Man Booker Prize, Marlon James combines masterful storytelling with his unrivaled skill at characterization and his meticulous eye for detail to forge a novel of dazzling ambition and scope.
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Already Dead
A California Gothic
Denis Johnson
A modern Northern California noir classic, as dark and unfathomable as the Lost Coast. —Recommended by Layla, City Lights Books
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Jesus' Son
Stories
Denis Johnson
An absolutely flawless little gem, this book cuts like a diamond. Almost nobody is as good as Denis Johnson, and almost nothing he's written is as good as this: in its few short pages you get booze, drugs, love, heaven, hell, death, resurrection...
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The Orphan Master's Son
Adam Johnson
An epic novel and a thrilling literary discovery, The Orphan Master's Son follows a young man's journey through the icy waters, dark tunnels, and eerie spy chambers of the world's most mysterious dictatorship, North Korea. Pak Jun Do is the haunted son..
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Music for Mussolini
Nick Johnson
Excellent debut from San Francisco-via-Baltimore poet Nick Johnson, which is stuctured in musical movements in order to deconstruct and reconstruct his world—both fictional and real, political and apolitical. Like getting to know someone. —Recommended by Chris, City Lights Publishers
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Waiting 'Til the Midnight Hour
A Narrative History of Black Power in America
Peniel E. Joseph
Joseph is a brilliant American historian. He writes with the narrative verve of E.P. Thompson and C.L.R. James. An engrossing and important history. —Recommended by Paul, City Lights Books
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Where All Light Tends to Go
David Joy
Recommended by Andy, City Lights Books "Remarkable . . . This isn't your ordinary coming-of-age novel, but with his bone-cutting insights into these men and the region that bred them, Joy makes it an extraordinarily intimate experience."—Marilyn Stasio, The New York Times Book Review
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Orson Welles's Last Movie
The Making of The Other Side of the Wind
Josh Karp
The genius film director's true insane behind the scenes of a film that was shot, somewhat edited, but never released. Including interviews from those who worked on it, and stories that will make you smile, Mr. Welles gives us a swansong of a biographical cinema experience. Hard to believe that fact is stranger than fiction. —Recommended by Don
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The Nakano Thrift Shop
Hiromi Kawakami
This Japanese novel features three of my favorite things: loveable eccentrics, thrift shopping, and copious descriptions of food. Full of wry humor and unexpected details. —Recommended by Erin
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Counternarratives
Stories and Novellas
John Keene
If I were on a deserted island and had to pick one book to read over and over again, I. would. take. this. one. —Recommended by Tân, City Lights Books Also recommended by Andy, City Lights Books
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Thelonious Monk
The Life and Times of an American Original
Robin D.G. Kelley
Thelonious Monk is the critically acclaimed, gripping saga of an artist's struggle to "make it" without compromising his musical vision. It is a story that, like its subject, reflects the tidal ebbs and flows of American history in the twentieth...

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