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

   
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    sort list by author | publication date


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Anna Karenina
Leo Tolstoy
Tolstoy's classic work, which Nabokov claimed was the best love story ever written, is beautifully rendered here in this subtle and lovely translation by Pevear and Volokhonsky. I think in Anna Karenina, more than any other of his works, Tolstoy...
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The Anthropology of Turquoise
Reflections on Desert, Sea, Stone, and Sky
Ellen Meloy
Greater than Silko, equal to Solnit. What an immense pleasure to hear the voice of this smart and witty desert dweller, and how restorative to know that human beings can be like this. Yes, there is some turquoise involved. —Recommended by Gent
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Antwerp
Roberto Bolaño
This book is actually a labyrinth. —Recommended by Dia, City Lights Books. Antwerp's signature elements—crimes and campgrounds, drifters and poetry, sex and love, corrupt cops and misfits—mark this, his first novel, as pure Bolaño.
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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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Atomik Aztex
Sesshu Foster
In the alternate universe of this glitteringly surreal first novel, the Aztecs rule, having conquered the European invaders. Zenzontli, Keeper of the House of Darkness, is visited by visions of a parallel world run by the Europeans, where consumerism...
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Authority
Southern Reach Trilogy Book 2
Jeff VanderMeer
The second part of a near-future trilogy which, with every page I read, becomes ever more enigmatic and in need of resolution. The first book, Annihilation, brings to mind the unspeakable horror of John Carpenter's The Thing, while Authority recalls the institutional paranoia of Three Days of the Condor. An important work.
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The Autistic Brain
Thinking Across the Spectrum
Temple Grandin
A cutting-edge account of the latest science of autism, from the best-selling author and advocate When Temple Grandin was born in 1947, autism had only just been named. Today it is more prevalent than ever, with one in 88 children diagnosed on the...
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Babayaga
A Novel
Toby Barlow
By the author of Sharp Teeth, a novel of love, spies, and witches in 1950s Paris—and a cop turned into a flea. Will is a young American ad executive in Paris. Except his agency is a front for the CIA. It's 1959 and the cold war is going strong...
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Bacacay
Witold Gombrowicz
Stunningly original in both style and content, these stories are hilarious yet have an undercurrent of profound moral disquiet and horror when the respectable turns slowly but inexorably into the outrageous, conveying both the horrors of upper-class...
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Bad Feminist
Essays
Roxane Gay
I compulsively read Roxane Gay's Bad Feminist whenever I could get a spare moment. My commute (my life!) was vastly improved as it felt like my coolest, smartest, pop-culture literate, and humane friend was sharing the ride, offering the low down on--and a considered critique of--the too numerous troublesome aspects of American life and culture.
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The Barbary Coast
An Informal History of the San Francisco Underworld
Herbert Asbury
You're standing right in it! The Barbary Coast. 150 years ago this area was a den of such vice and iniquity that it would've made even the Marquis de Sade blush. Find out why... —Recommended by Don, City Lights Books
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Bats at the Library
Brian Lies
Another inky evening's here The air is cool and calm and clear. Can it be true? Oh, can it be? Yes! Bat Night at the library! Join the free-for-all fun at the public library with these book-loving bats! Shape shadows on walls, frolic in the water...
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The Battle of the Sun
Jeanette Winterson
This inventive and darkly surreal book is a perfect gateway to the His Dark Materials trilogy. Soaked in the stench of 1600 London, full of conundrums big and small, and swarming with dragons and alchemy, there are indescribable things in here that you...
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The Beats
A Graphic History
Paul Buhle, Harvey Pekar
I've read a lot of Beat books in my time here at City Lights, but none are quite as fun as this graphic history. The perfect collection for those who think they've heard all the stories about Kerouac, Burroughs, Ginsberg, et al. The Beats also provides...

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