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 author | publication date


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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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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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American War
A Novel
Omar El Akkad
Sarat Chestnut, born in Louisiana, is only six when the Second American Civil War breaks out in 2074. But even she knows that oil is outlawed, that Louisiana is half underwater, and that unmanned drones fill the sky. When her father is killed and her family is forced into Camp Patience for displaced persons...
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The Angel of History
A Novel
Rabih Alameddine
Set over the course of one night in the waiting room of a psych clinic, The Angel of History follows Yemeni-born poet Jacob as he revisits the events of his life, from his maternal upbringing in an Egyptian whorehouse to his adolescence under the aegis of his wealthy father and his life as a gay Arab man in San Francisco at the height of AIDS.
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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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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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The Answers
A Novel
Catherine Lacey
As Mary struggles to understand herself―her body, her city, the trials of her past, the uncertainty of her future―the reader must confront the impossible questions that fuel Catherine Lacey's work: How do you measure love? Can you truly know someone else? Do we even know ourselves? And listen for Lacey’s uncanny answers. —Recommended by Cassie
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Arbitrary Stupid Goal
Tamara Shopsin
A philosophical (and illustrated) NYC voyage to the art of everyday ecstasy; Shopsin's refrigerator of wisdom contains pounds of plastic grapes, menus 35 years long, and crossword puzzle correspondences. —Recommended by Ryan
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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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An Army of Lovers
Juliana Spahr, David Buuck
Based loosely on their own Bay Area literary lives, these two intellectual weirdos talk about the state of poetry and their process of writing. It's spot-on and brilliant, but then it gets weird—really strange weird! It had me nodding in agreement, gritting my teeth at its incantations, and laughing like a goddamn chimp—while in public!
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Arthur Rimbaud
Complete Works
Arthur Rimbaud
American poets are still trying to catch up to what the French were doing well over a century ago. Read the works of this poet-prodigy to see just how far ahead they were...

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