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
  |  Jackson
  |  Jeff
  |  Lawrence
  |  Layla
  |  Linda
  |  Michael
  |  Nancy
  |  Paul
  |  Peter
  |  Scott
  |  Stacey
  |  Tân
  |  Vanessa

   
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    sort list by title | author | publication date


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Tortilla Flat
John Steinbeck
If you've never read Steinbeck, now's the time. This is the perfect time to read about a district in Monterey, not far from here...an hilarious ride with the local poverty-stricken, kind-hearted folks who Steinbeck liked to compare to the Knights of...
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Bicycle Diaries
David Byrne
David Byrne's travel diaries illuminate the amazing power that dislocating oneself from their homebase has on the senses. His work sends him to cities in the US and around the world, and the visits are anything but passive.
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Mirrors
Stories of Almost Everyone
Eduardo Galeano
With Mirrors, the fabulist-historian Eduardo Galeano has produced a people's mythology of humanity. Teeming with indictments, hagiographies and impassioned reminders, this chronicle in anecdotes reveals the myriad reflections cast by every human face...
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The Pleasures of the Damned
Poems, 1951-1993
Charles Bukowski
In going through this comprehensive collection the reader is able to see past the dirty-old-man façade that has plagued Bukowski's writing and glimpse at moments of sincere compassion and prophetic epiphanies. His poetry is constantly morphing into...
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Season of Migration to the North
Tayeb Salih
Tayeb Salih is able to inscribe the mythic onto everyday life throughout Season of Migration to the North. The narrator of the novel must confront his home after studying abroad, and finds that a new presence has entered his community. What is revealed is a thoughtful look into human interaction after the colonial legacy, and the social residue...
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Border Songs
Jim Lynch
It is one of the particular pleasures of being a bookseller that every now and then I read a book that brings the world into sharper focus and ontological shadows into light. A book that creates a penumbra of perception that allows the world to shimmer wi
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The Hakawati
Rabih Alameddine
Undertake The Hawakati with no bookmark, or with many. Local artist Rabih Alameddine has given us a book that deploys a deep and rarified appreciation of the storyteller's art to create the illusion of containing the entire world. His gateway is the eponymous hakawati, grandfather of the narrator, a bard who travels from Urfa to Lebanon...
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The Painted Bird
Jerzy Kosinski
This controversial novel shows the horrors of a young boy who goes into hiding, running from the atrocities of the Holocaust in the beginning of WW2. Deeply moving with sadness & violence, it's a book you’ll not soon forget.
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The Woman Destroyed
Simone de Beauvoir
Okay, you've read The Second Sex each time it's been released, and you love our lady Simone, but you’ve never read this book?! Well, you are about to enjoy pure reading bliss. The best way to articulate the effectiveness of these stories is to say...
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I Hotel
Karen Tei Yamashita
I can say without any equivocation that I Hotel is an amazing literary accomplishment and one of the most pleasurable reading experiences I have ever had. I believe I Hotel stands on the same plane of accomplishment as Roberto Bolaño's The Savage...
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Black Water Rising
A Novel
Attica Locke
Recommended by Paul, City Lights Books Jay Porter has long since made peace with not living the American Dream. He runs his fledgling law practice out of a dingy Houston strip mall—where his most promising client is a low-rent call girl—and he's...
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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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Coming Through Slaughter
Michael Ondaatje
Tragic, beautiful and strange. --Recommended by Tân, City Lights Books Bringing to life the fabulous, colorful panorama of New Orleans in the first flush of the jazz era, this book tells the story of Buddy Bolden, the first of the great trumpet...
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The White Boy Shuffle
A Novel
Paul Beatty
Ever been smacked so hard it makes you giggle? Neither have I. —Recommended by Tân, City Lights Books Paul Beatty's hilarious and scathing debut novel is about Gunnar Kaufman, an awkward, black surfer bum who is moved by his mother from Santa Monica...

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