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 | publication date


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John Dies at the End
A Novel
David Wong
A drug called Soy Sauce. A portal to an Alternate Universe. Gore, Demons, Floating Worms, Scorpion Creatures, Shadow Men and more weirdness in this humorous take on the "save the world" formula. —Recommended by Don, City Lights Books
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Hip Hop Family Tree 1
1970s - 1981
Ed Piskor
This is a well-documented history of the beginnings of hip hop. Beautifully drawn in Old School comic form; hilariously written and sharply dissected. Open to any page and you'll be hooked. New York City, DJs and graffiti in the late 70s? You can't beat it, because "the beat don't stop til the break of dawn!"—Recommended by Don, City Lights Books
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Crow with No Mouth
Ikkyū
A 15th century Zen monk-poet, one of my very favorites, who does his tradition proud: so lusty, so stark. Stephen Berg's translations in run-on lines capture a charming voice. —Recommended by Matt, City Lights Books
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Christ Stopped at Eboli
The Story of a Year
Carlo Levi
A genuinely wonderful portrait of a place (southern Italy) and its people: vividly rendered, humane, and surprising. —Recommended by Matt, City Lights Books
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Dust
A Novel
Yvonne Adhiambo Owuor
From a breathtaking new voice, a novel about a splintered family in Kenya—a story of power and deceit, unrequited love, survival and sacrifice. Odidi Oganda, running for his life, is gunned down in the streets of Nairobi. His grief-stricken sister, Ajany, just returned from Brazil, and their father bring his body back to their crumbling home in...
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Piano Stories
Felisberto Hernández
One of the strangest things I have ever read. It is wonderful. —Recommended by Tân, City Lights Books
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Dracula
Penguin Classics Hardcover Edition
Bram Stoker
I'm sure you've seen the films, or some vampire TV show sometime in your life. But now here's your chance to discover where the phenomenon started. This Gothic novel, composed mostly of letters and journal entries and written in 1897, still holds all the horror of Transylvania and its inhabitants. A frighteningly bloody read. —Recommended by Don
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The Book of Other People
Zadie Smith
If "hell is other people" (as Sartre once said), then this book affirms just the opposite. To raise money for 826 New York, Zadie Smith commissioned 22 of today's most provocative contemporary writers to "make somebody up." The result? A diverse collection of fantastic character sketches that both entertain and arouse the imagination.
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An Unnecessary Woman
A Novel
Rabih Alameddine
One of the Middle East's most celebrated voices, Rabih Alameddine follows his international bestseller, The Hakawati, with an enchanting story of a book-loving, obsessive, seventy-two-year-old "unnecessary" woman. Aaliya Saleh lives alone in her Beirut apartment, surrounded by stockpiles of books. Godless, fatherless, childless, and divorced...
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Annihilation
Southern Reach Trilogy Book 1
Jeff VanderMeer
The first part of a near-future trilogy that initially devastated me both conceptually and narratively, and then went off in a direction I didn't want to acknowledge. I've heard that the next installment will pull me back where I want to go, but either way it's a ride I'm looking forward to... —Recommended by Jeff, City Lights Books
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To Die in Mexico
Dispatches from Inside the Drug War
John Gibler
On-the-ground reporting and behind-the-scene stories from Mexico's drug war by Mexico-based journalist, John Gibler.
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Chicken
Self-Portrait of a Young Man for Rent
David Henry Sterry
I've never read anything quite like this memoir. David Henry Sterry performs a high-wire act in his vaudevilliain telling of life as a prostitute in 70s Hollywood. Alternately sad and hilarious, Sterry provokes serious thinking about family, sexuality, and addiction. —Recommended by Stacey, City Lights Books
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The Trip to Echo Spring
On Writers and Drinking
Olivia Laing
Olivia Laing took an epic road trip across the states, to various spots that were previously associated with famous alcoholic writers, in an effort to understand all the ways that booze affected them - their lives, their loved ones, and ultimately, their writing. Laing is a fantastic writer, having successfully dissected a tragic illness that is..
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Tenth of December
Stories
George Saunders
George saunders has this ability to pair the grim with the quirky, the brutal with the bizarrely hopeful, so that his stories never tip over completely into darkness. He captures the nastiness of violence, consumerism and sexism while keeping the tone satirical—but not light—and creating that uncanny feeling of the familiar gone strange. It's...

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