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
  |  Emmitt
  |  Garrett
  |  Greg
  |  Ivy
  |  Jared
  |  Jeff
  |  Lawrence
  |  Linda
  |  Michael
  |  Nancy
  |  Paul
  |  Peter
  |  Scott
  |  Stacey
  |  Tân
  |  Vanessa

   
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    sort list by author | publication date


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All This Life
A Novel
Joshua Mohr
The next time one of your friends or family members asks you how the latest tech wave has changed things in San Francisco, hand them this book. —Recommended by Stacey, City Lights Publishers
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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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An American Genocide
The United States and the California Indian Catastrophe, 1864-1873
Benjamin Madley
Between 1846 and 1873, California's Indian population plunged from perhaps 150,000 to 30,000. Benjamin Madley is the first historian to uncover the full extent of the slaughter, the involvement of state and federal officials, the taxpayer dollars that supported the violence, indigenous resistance, who did the killing, and why the killings ended.
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American Gods
Author's Preferred Text
Neil Gaiman
What happens when you stop believing in mythical gods and spirits? You'll find out in this award-winning fantasy novel. Follow the adventures of Shadow, a convict released early from prison because of his wife's untimely death. It's a nonstop, entertaining ride. You'll meet a few of the old gods of yesteryear, and the (mostly evil) new gods of...
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Los Angeles Stories
Ry Cooder
World-famous musician Ry Cooder publishes his first collection of stories.
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The Animals
A Novel
Christian Kiefer
Bill Reed manages a wildlife sanctuary in rural Idaho, caring for injured animals unable to survive in the wild —raptors, a wolf, and his beloved bear, Majer, among them. He hopes to marry the local vet and live out a quiet life, until a childhood friend is released from prison and threatens to reveal Bill's darkest secrets.
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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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Annihilation
Southern Reach Trilogy Book 1
Jeff VanderMeer
The first part of a near-future trilogy which initially devastated me both conceptually and narratively, and then went off in a direction I wish it hadn't. But now that I've finished the second book, Authority, all that happened in the first book has taken on greater resonance, complexity, and strangeness. This is an important work.
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Another Country
James Baldwin
James Baldwin's Another Country is one of the most powerful books I've ever read. As only he so beautifully and evocatively can, Baldwin places the reader in the eye of the storm of late 50s American tensions around race, gender, class, power, and freedom
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Are You My Mother?
A Comic Drama
Alison Bechdel
Pretty heady stuff going on here as Bechdel cross-examines her childhood to consider how she was affected by a smart, artistic, but emotionally-removed mother, and a repressed, angry father. If you don't regularly gravitate towards graphic novels, but love memoirs, this might be the ideal book for you to get a sense of the amazing genre.
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Area X
The Southern Reach Trilogy
Jeff VanderMeer
A near-future trilogy, here handsomely packaged in one volume, which has been my single most unexpected "find" of the year. The first book, Annihilation, found me intrigued, yet cautious. Imagine the unspeakable horror of John Carpenter's 1982 remake of The Thing. Authority, the second volume, was an absolute revelation...
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The Argonauts
Maggie Nelson
An intrepid voyage out to the frontiers of the latest thinking about love, language, and family Maggie Nelson's The Argonauts is a genre-bending memoir, a work of "autotheory" offering fresh, fierce, and timely thinking about desire, identity, and the limitations and possibilities of love and language. At its center is a romance...
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As Easy as Falling Off the Face of the Earth
Lynne Rae Perkins
This is the best my-parents-are-out-of-the-country-and-I'm-stranded-with-no-way-to-contact-anyone-and-I'm-going-to-make-my-way-to-the-other-side-of-the-world-no-matter-what story I've ever read. Funny and insightful and satisfying. A great read! For ages 12 & up —Recommended by Jeff, City Lights Books
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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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