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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Gods Without Men
Hari Kunzru
Jaz and Lisa Matharu are plunged into a surreal public hell after their son, Raj, vanishes during a family vacation in the California desert. However, the Mojave is a place of strange power, and before Raj reappears inexplicably unharmed...
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Shakespeare's Lost Kingdom
The True History of Shakespeare and Elizabeth
Charles Beauclerk
Let me state at the outset that the author is a descendant of the Earl of Oxford and a scholar active in proposing the earl as the author of the works attributed to Shake-Speare. That said, I would still recommend this to anyone who has ever read...
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The Warmth of Other Suns
The Epic Story of America's Great Migration
Isabel Wilkerson
One of The New York Times Book Review's 10 Best Books of the Year In this epic, beautifully written masterwork, Pulitzer Prize–winning author Isabel Wilkerson chronicles one of the great untold stories of American history: the decades-long migration...
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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 Phantom Tollbooth
Norton Juster
Recommended by Tân, City Lights Books. This ingenious fantasy centers around Milo, a bored ten-year-old who comes home to find a large toy tollbooth sitting in his room. Joining forces with a watchdog named Tock, Milo drives through the tollbooth's...
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Anna Karenina
Leo Tolstoy
Tolstoy's classic work, which Nabokov claimed was the best love story ever written, is beautifully rendered here in this subtle and lovely translation by Pevear and Volokhonsky. I think in Anna Karenina, more than any other of his works, Tolstoy...
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The Magicians
A Novel
Lev Grossman
A wonderfully-written novel of fantasy for adults. For any of fan of Narnia, Harry Potter or The Lord of the Rings, but with a drunken, drugged-out edge. The true-to-life characters take you through the whirlwind of going to a university for magic...
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The Heart Is a Lonely Hunter
Carson McCullers
McCullers has a way of making her straight-forward, richly Southern voice sound as if she is speaking profound truths about the world around her, that of the 1940's and 50's deep South. This is her first novel (written at age 23!) and it is widely...
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The Savage Detectives
A Novel
Roberto Bolaño
The late Chilean writer Roberto Bolaño has been called the García Marquez of his generation, but his novel The Savage Detectives is a lot closer to Y Tu Mamá También than it is to One Hundred Years of Solitude. Hilarious and sexy, meandering and...
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Super Sad True Love Story
A Novel
Gary Shteyngart
Did the opposable thumb evolve to text? Happy to find that I'm not the only one contemplating such serious matters. Shteyngart's new novel is sad, but also very heartwarming to those of us skeptical of, and concerned about, the role that electronic...
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Mr. Peanut
Adam Ross
A terrifying, Hitchcockian portrait of love turned to hate, and to murder. Did our hapless protagonists really kill their wives, or did they just hope someone else would finish the job? Mr. Peanut is a riveting, strange literary thriller, a scary dive...
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Fatale
Jean-Patrick Manchette
Aimée Joubert, the central character in Fatale, is a matter-of-fact businesswoman killer. In only his third novel translated into English (the two others published by City Lights), Manchette delivers a terse, immediate tale where Aimée deals the...
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Today I Wrote Nothing
The Selected Writings of Daniil Kharms
Daniil Kharms
As featured in The New Yorker, Harper's, and The New York Times Book Review. Daniil Kharms has long been heralded as one of the most iconoclastic writers of the Soviet era, but the full breadth of his achievement is only in recent years, following...
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The Dashiell Hammett Tour
Thirtieth Anniversary Guidebook
Don Herron
Lovers of Hammett rejoice! The long out of print Dashiell Hammett tour book is back. Thanks to Vince Emmory Editions, a brand new, gorgeously produced, and reasonably priced 30th anniversary edition has now hit the shelves of City Lights. This volume...

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