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!



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

   
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Miss Lonelyhearts & The Day of the Locust
Nathanael West
The Day of the Locust (1939) is West's great dystopian Hollywood novel based on his experiences at the seedy fringes of the movie industry. Said novelist and screenwriter Budd Schulberg: "A new public [has] discovered in the writings of West...
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Three Novels
Molloy, Malone Dies, The Unnamable
Samuel Beckett
Beckett's trilogy has to be one of the greatest feats of voice and language ever written. This is the book that turns woe into exhilaration. —Recommended by Matt, City Lights Books
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Beijing Coma
A Novel
Ma Jian
Recommended by Paul, City Lights Books Dai Wei, a PhD student and protestor in Tianan-men Square in June 1989, was caught by a soldier's bullet and fell into a deep coma. But as the millennium draws near, he begins to emerge from unconsciousness...
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The Hakawati
Rabih Alameddine
Undertake The Hawakati with no bookmark, or with many. Local artist Rabih Alameddine has given us a book that deploys a deep and rarified appreciation of the storyteller's art to create the illusion of containing the entire world. His gateway is the eponymous hakawati, grandfather of the narrator, a bard who travels from Urfa to Lebanon...
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Breath
A Novel
Tim Winton
Breath is a story of risk, of learning one's limits by challenging death. On the wild, lonely coast of Western Australia, two thrill-seeking teenage boys fall under the spell of a veteran big-wave surfer named Sando. Their mentor urges them into a...
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The Lazarus Project
Aleksandar Hemon
On March 2, 1908, nineteen-year-old Lazarus Averbuch, an Eastern European Jewish immigrant, was shot to death on the doorstep of the Chicago chief of police and cast as a would-be anarchist assassin. A century later, a young Eastern European writer...
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Black Mountain
An Exploration in Community
Martin Duberman
Duberman's unconventional and very smart history is a juicy one for those who care about questions of communal living, pedagogy, and artistic creation. What a lovely, messy experiment. —Recommended by Matt, City Lights Books
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A History of Histories
Epics, Chronicles, Romances and Inquiries from Herodotus and Thucydides to the Twentieth Century
John Burrow
Treating the practice of history not as an isolated pursuit but as an aspect of human society and an essential part of the culture of the West, John Burrow magnificently brings to life and explains the distinctive qualities found in the work of...
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Tinkers
Paul Harding
"Tinkers is truly remarkable. . . . It confers on the reader the best privilege fiction can afford, the illusion of ghostly proximity to other human souls."—Marilynne Robinson, Pulitzer Prize–winning author of Home and Gilead "In astounding...
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The Brief Wondrous Life of Oscar Wao
Junot Díaz
Recommended by Paul, City Lights Books The most talked about—and praised—first novel of 2007, and winner of the Pulitzer Prize. Oscar is a sweet but disastrously overweight ghetto nerd who—from the New Jersey home he shares with his old world mother...
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Three Wishes
An Intimate Look at Jazz Greats
Pannonica de Koenigswarter
An unprecedented, behind-the-scenes look at jazz legends In the 1950s, 60s, and 70s, Pannonica de Koenigswarter, known as Nica, was a constant and benevolent presence on the thriving New York jazz scene. Known as the Jazz Baroness (she was born into...
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All-American Poem
Matthew Dickman
One of the best young poets writing in America today. A joy to read. Says Tony Hoagland, APR/Honickman First Book Prize judge "Matthew Dickman's all-American poems are the epitome of the pleasure principle; as clever as they are...
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Tokyo Year Zero
David Peace
It's August 1946—one year after the Japanese surrender—and women are turning up dead all over Tokyo. Detective Minami of the Tokyo Metropolitan Police—irreverent, angry, despairing—goes on the hunt for a killer known as the Japanese Bluebeard—a...
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The Shock Doctrine
The Rise of Disaster Capitalism
Naomi Klein
At the core of Klein's book is the use of cataclysmic events to advance radical privatization, combined withy the privatization of the disaster response itself. Klein argues that by capitalizing on crises, the "disaster capitalism complex" now exists...

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