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
  |  Cassie
  |  Chris
  |  Don
  |  Elaine
  |  Emmitt
  |  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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Coltrane
The Story of a Sound
Ben Ratliff
John Coltrane left an indelible mark on the world, but what was the essence of his achievement that makes him so prized forty years after his death? What were the factors that helped Coltrane become who he was? And what would a John Coltrane look...
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School of Fear
Gitty Daneshvari
Madeleine, Theo, Lulu and Garrison—each frightfully afraid of something (ghosts, moths, etc.)—are sent to the even more frightening School of Fear, where they will have to learn to cope with their phobias... or else! (For ages 8-12) —Recommended by Jeff
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Against Empire
Michael Parenti
Richly informed and written in an engaging style, Against Empire exposes the ruthless agenda and hidden costs of the U.S. empire today. Documenting the pretexts and lies used to justify violent intervention and maldevelopment abroad, Parenti shows...
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Grapefruit
A Book of Instructions and Drawings by Yoko Ono
Yoko Ono
Quiet.It's a bomb. --Recommended by Tân, City Lights Books Back in print for the first time in nearly thirty years, here is Yoko Ono's whimsical, delightful, subversive, startling book of instructions for art and for life. "Burn this book after...
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The Poisoner's Handbook
Murder and the Birth of Forensic Medicine in Jazz Age New York
Deborah Blum
Fascinating and entertaining, tinged with both humor and horror, this account of the early years of forensic medicine in New York City is near unputdownable. We follow the city's Medical Examiner and head toxicologist as they develop the techniques for...
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Dhalgren
Samuel R. Delany
In Dhalgren, perhaps one of the most profound and bestselling science fiction novels of all time, Samuel R. Delany has produced a novel "to stand with the best American fiction of the 1970s" (Jonathan Lethem). Bellona is a city at the dead center of...
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All About Love
New Visions
bell hooks
It really is all about love. - Recommended by Tân, City Lights Books. "The word "love" is most often defined as a noun, yet...we would all love to better if we used it as a verb," writes bell hooks as she comes out fighting and on fire in All About...
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Thelonious Monk
The Life and Times of an American Original
Robin D.G. Kelley
Thelonious Monk is the critically acclaimed, gripping saga of an artist's struggle to "make it" without compromising his musical vision. It is a story that, like its subject, reflects the tidal ebbs and flows of American history in the twentieth...
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Hard Rain Falling
Don Carpenter
Don Carpenter's Hard Rain Falling is a tough-as-nails account of being down and out, but never down for good—a Dostoyevskian tale of crime, punishment, and the pursuit of an ever-elusive redemption. The novel follows the adventures of Jack Levitt, an...
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Just Kids
Patti Smith
Just Kids illuminates the impressive lover of literature that Patti Smith is. Her memoir will be of particular interest to City Lights enthusiasts as she is our quintessential reader, a fan of the Surrealists...
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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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The Lady in the Lake
A Philip Marlowe Novel
Raymond Chandler
I love all of Chandler's Marlowe novels, but this is my favorite. Before I ever read this I heard and taped a brilliant radio dramatization of it, and to this day while reading it I can still hear the voice of the actor playing Marlowe...
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Memories of My Father Watching TV
Curtis White
I identified far too much with this heartbreaking story of a father-son relationship refracted through the TV shows they watched togther in the early 60s. Curtis White is the spiritual godfather of David Foster Wallace and Dave Eggers.

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