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 | author


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As Lie is to Grin
Simeon Marsalis
David, the narrator of Simeon Marsalis's singular first novel, is a freshman at the University of Vermont who is struggling to define himself against the white backdrop of his school. He is also mourning the loss of his New York girlfriend, whose grandfather’s alma mater he has chosen to attend. —Recommended by Paul
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Writing to Save a Life
The Louis Till File
John Edgar Wideman
A major literary figure tells "a searching tale of loss, recovery, and deja vu that is part memoir and what-if speculation, part polemic and exposé" (The Washington Post) about two generations of one family—civil rights martyr Emmett Till and his father, Louis. —Recommended by Scott
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theMystery.doc
A Novel
Matthew McIntosh
The headache gets worse & worse & never stops, not even for a second. There are lots of other subplots too. —Recommended by Jared & Paul
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Her Body and Other Parties
Stories
Carmen Maria Machado
Every story in Carmen Maria Machado's "Her Body and Other Parties" unfolds with the creepy languor of a Kubrick film. Machado seduces you with devilishly great prose only to deliver the coup de grace of terror like a stiletto to the throat. —Recommended by Vanessa & Paul
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Pachinko
min-jin lee
A generational-historical epic in the grand tradition, lovingly drawn and flawlessly executed. Don't be fooled by its size—before you know it, you'll be slowly flipping the final pages, willing them to multiply. Recommended by Erin, City Lights Books
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Letters to Memory
Karen Tei Yamashita
An excursion through the Japanese internment using archival materials from the Yamashita family as well as a series of epistolary conversations with composite characters representing a range of academic specialties. —Recommended by Paul
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Forest Dark
A Novel
Nicole Krauss
Reading a traditional synopsis, this book is not what it says it is about. It is about the "unheimlich": all that is familiar becomes strange, everything eventually becomes its opposite. A hushed and gorgeous examination of the chain of unexpected events that become our lives. —Recommended by Caitlyn
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Lucky Boy
a novel
Shanthi Sekaran
A prescient novel, the Bay Area's Shanthi Sekaran's Lucky Boy is the one book I'd require someone to read to the president (because, ya know . . . ) before he says or tweets one more horrifying thing about immigration policy in the U.S. —Recommended by Stacey
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Dinner at the Center of the Earth
Nathan Englander
Nathan Englander has woven a powerful, intensely suspenseful portrait of a nation riven by insoluble conflict, even as the lives of its citizens become fatefully and inextricably entwined. —Recommended by Paul
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My Absolute Darling
A Novel
Gabriel Tallent
A brilliant and immersive, all-consuming read about one fourteen-year-old girl's heart-stopping fight for her own soul. —Recommended by Paul
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The Book of Disquiet
The Complete Edition
Fernando Pessoa
In the late hours of night, for days on end, I wasted myself reading this book—I too had grown tired of the tedium in my daily routine, and for a while, this peculiar book was enough. The complete edition is the one to have! —Recommended by Jared
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Blood in the Water
The Attica Prison Uprising of 1971 and Its Legacy
Heather Ann Thompson
A powerful and extraordinarily comprehensive study of the Attica uprising and its aftermath, and the repercussions still felt in our diabolical prison system today. —Recommended by Michael
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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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At the Existentialist Cafe
Freedom, Being, and Apricot Cocktails with Jean-Paul Sartre, Simone de Beauvoir, Albert Camus, Martin Heidegger, Maurice Merleau-Ponty and Others
Sarah Bakewell
Bakewell manifests the freedom and thrill of existentialism with hardly any of the dread. You are free. You decide. —Recommended by Caitlyn

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