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A Listener's Guide to Free Improvisation
John Corbett
Improvisation rattles some listeners. Maybe they're even suspicious of it. John Coltrane's saxophonic flights of fancy, Jimi Hendrix's feedback drenched guitar solos, Ravi Shankar’s sitar extrapolations—all these sounds seem like so much noodling or jamming, indulgent self-expression. "Just" improvising, as is sometimes said.
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Writing Across the Landscape
Travel Journals 1960-2010
Lawrence Ferlinghetti, Giada Diano, Matthew Gleeson
This long-awaited volume provides a panoramic portrait of art and life across the twentieth century, from Mexico to Morocco, Paris to Rome, and beyond.
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The Brief Wondrous Life of Oscar Wao
Junot Díaz
Recommended by Paul, City Lights Books The most talked about—and praised—first novel of 2007, and winner of the Pulitzer Prize. Oscar is a sweet but disastrously overweight ghetto nerd who—from the New Jersey home he shares with his old world mother...
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The Year of Magical Thinking
Joan Didion
From one of America's iconic writers, a stunning book of electric honesty and passion. Joan Didion explores an intensely personal yet universal experience: a portrait of a marriage--and a life, in good times and bad--that will speak to anyone...
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About Grace
A Novel
Anthony Doerr
Anthony Doerr's short-story collection The Shell Collector was praised by the Los Angeles Times as being "as close to faultless as any writer—young or vastly experienced—could wish for." One of the finest young writers today, Doerr has the ability to...
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Why Marx Was Right
Terry Eagleton
n this combative, controversial book, Terry Eagleton takes issue with the prejudice that Marxism is dead and done with. Taking ten of the most common objections to Marxism—that it leads to political tyranny, that it reduces everything to the economic...
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Eternity Street
Violence and Justice in Frontier Los Angeles
John Mack Faragher
"John Mack Faragher is one fine writer, bringing early L.A. to life as the setting for all manner of horrific killings and gruesome justice. Eternity Street will keep you up at night ruminating on the roots of American violence."―Richard Wightman Fox, University of Southern California, author of Lincoln's Body: A Cultural History
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Canada
A Novel
Richard Ford
"First, I'll tell about the robbery our parents committed. Then about the murders, which happened later." Then fifteen-year-old Dell Parsons' parents rob a bank, his sense of normal life is forever altered. In an instant, this private cataclysm drives...
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On Sal Mal Lane
A Novel
Ru Freeman
In the tradition of In the Time of the Butterflies and The Kite Runner, a tender, evocative novel about the years leading up to the Sri Lankan civil war On the day the Herath family moves in, Sal Mal Lane is still a quiet street, disturbed only by the cries of the children whose triumphs and tragedies sustai
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All Involved
A Novel
Ryan Gattis
A propulsive and ambitious novel as electrifying as The Wire, from a writer hailed as the West Coast's Richard Price—a brutal and mesmerizing epic of crime and opportunity, race, revenge, and loyalty, set in the chaotic streets of South Central L.A.
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Sea of Poppies
Amitav Ghosh
Recommended by Paul, City Lights Books The first in an epic trilogy, Sea of Poppies is "a remarkably rich saga . . . which has plenty of action and adventure à la Dumas, but moments also of Tolstoyan penetration--and a drop or two of Dickensian...
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The Natural Navigator
The Rediscovered Art of Letting Nature Be Your Guide
Tristan Gooley
Recommended by Paul, City Lights Books. Before GPS, before the compass, and even before cartography, humankind was navigating. A windswept tree, the depth of a puddle, or a trill of birdsong could point the way home—and, for the alert traveler...
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Toxicology
A Novel
Jessica Hagedorn
I want there to be no ambiguity, no cause for misinterpretation: I love Jessica Hagedorn's Toxicology. I have long felt that Hagedorn and New York City is the perfect match of an artist and a city. Toxicology, Hagedorn's first novel to take place in New York, is the perfect example of the synchronicity of her writing with the rhythms of the city.
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The Polish Boxer
Eduardo Halfon
This strange and beautiful book at the outset defies definition. It is neither a collection of short stories or a novel but rather a tapestry of loosely connected movements that, when taken together, compose something haunting and enigmatic...

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