Staff Recommendations

A listing of current favorites, recommended by the bookstore staff. Check back for new recommendations each month as we bring you the best of what we're reading. Browse by title, author or staff member!



  Andy
  |  Chris
  |  Don
  |  Elaine
  |  Garrett
  |  Gent
  |  Jackson
  |  Jeff
  |  Lawrence
  |  Layla
  |  Linda
  |  Matt
  |  Michael
  |  Nancy
  |  Paul
  |  Peter
  |  Scott
  |  Stacey
  |  Tân
  |  Vanessa

   
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Fear, some
Douglas Kearney
Recommended by Tan, City Lights Books. Stealing tropes from militancy to minstrelsy, Fear,some broadcasts from the slippery moments when personal, national, racial and aesthetic anxieties overlap.
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The Gangster We Are All Looking For
Thi Diem Thuy Le
Recommended by Tan, City Lights Books: this acclaimed novel reveals the life of a Vietnamese family in America through the knowing eyes of a child finding her place and voice in a new country.
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Meadowlark West
Philip Lamantia
Meadowlark West is the final complete collection of poetry written by legendary surrealist and beat-era author, Philip Lamantia (1927-2005). It is, in many ways, his masterpiece...
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The Lucifer Effect
Understanding How Good People Turn Evil
Philip Zimbardo
This is one of the most revelatory and yet devastating books I have ever read. In the first half of the book Zimbardo, the creator of the Stanford Prison Experiment, walks you painful moment by painful moment through the experiment, as aghast as you...
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Tijuana Straits
A Novel
Kem Nunn
Set where the surf meets the sewage on the Cal/Mex border, Kem Nunn, master of surf noir, has written an immensely satisfying novel about broken lives and desperate struggles amid those who populate this netherworld near the Tijuana Straits.
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Hard-Boiled Wonderland and the End of the World
A Novel
Haruki Murakami
In a virtuoso performance, Murakami negotiates parallel narratives: one about a split-brain data processor who's caught in the middle of an information war and must avoid both Semiotecs and subterranean monsters; and the other about a dream...
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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!) ...
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The Passion
Jeanette Winterson
This book is a strange, inspired trip of love and lust. Perhaps the most unique thing about it besides Winterson's poetic voice is its universal, timeless quality though it is set in Napoleonic Europe. It is a great introduction...
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The Hungry Tide
A Novel
Amitav Ghosh
In search of a rare river dolphin in the Sundarban archipelago, a young Indian-American biologist enlists the help of a local fisherman and an urbane translator. In lush and undulating prose. . .
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The Keep
Jennifer Egan
Prior to devouring every page of Jennifer Egan’s The Keep, I made the surreptitious decision to read, for the first time, Frankenstein and Dr Jekyll and Mr. Hyde. Besides similar gothic settings, the books focus on the primal need to better understand...
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McTeague
A Story of San Francisco
Frank Norris
Set in San Francisco's Tenderloin in 1899, McTeague concerns a simple dentist, his miserly wife, and the deterioration of friendship! This is the only soap opera you need: backstabbing, recklessness, and a duel in Death Valley!
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John Barleycorn
Jack London
I would say that London is one of the best fiction writers to ever hold the pen. But these tales are more of a memoir of the man himself--a poor Bay Area native whose words of travel and woe and drunkenness and poetry would later give birth to the...
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You Can't Win
Jack Black
An amazing journey into the hobo underworld circa 1920. Jack Black takes his readers frieght-hopping around the still wide open West...
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Atomik Aztex
Sesshu Foster
In the alternate universe of this glitteringly surreal first novel, the Aztecs rule, having conquered the European invaders. Zenzontli, Keeper of the House of Darkness, is visited by visions of a parallel world run by the Europeans, where consumerism...

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