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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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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The Collected Stories
Grace Paley
These stories are brilliant. Grace Paley is incredible. --Recommended by Candra, City Lights Books
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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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Wintergirls
Laurie Halse Anderson
This is the single most powerful Young Adult novel I have ever read. It is searing, devastating, tragic. It is about bulimia, the death of a friend, and regret. It is also ingeniously conceived and beautifully written, transcending the difficult subject..
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The Shock Doctrine
The Rise of Disaster Capitalism
Naomi Klein
At the core of Klein's book is the use of cataclysmic events to advance radical privatization, combined withy the privatization of the disaster response itself. Klein argues that by capitalizing on crises, the "disaster capitalism complex" now exists...
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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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The Woman in the Dunes
Kobo Abe
If you've seen the 1964 Teshigahara film you've already experienced Abe's brilliance (he wrote the screenplay as well). If you haven't, read this first. The haunting story of a vacationing entomologist trapped in a sand-pit with an enigmatic woman...
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Sacred Games
A Novel
Vikram Chandra
Sacred Games is a sprawling, exuberant, old-fashioned story, detailing the intertwined lives of the gangsters of modern Mumbai. Vikram Chandra peppers his narrative with Hindi words that give one a sense of closeness with the characters. Detailing the...
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The Left Hand of Darkness
Ursula K. Le Guin
A pivotal work of feminist science fiction, this is a moving story of friendship, love, and the human condition, which takes place on the planet Gethen known as "Winter" and populated by androgynous beings. This book made me think about myself...

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