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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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? Me neither. —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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Cutting for Stone
Abraham Verghese
Recommended by Paul, City Lights Books. Marion and Shiva Stone are twin brothers born of a secret union between a beautiful Indian nun and a brash British surgeon. Orphaned by their mother's death and their father’s disappearance, bound together by a...
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Black Hole
Charles Burns
This is a beautifully drawn and eerie novel set in the 1970s. Seattle teens get a disease that transforms them into mutants. Their battle against this and other more normal high school situations, makes for a frighteningly good read.
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The Barbary Coast
An Informal History of the San Francisco Underworld
Herbert Asbury
You're standing right in it! The Barbary Coast. 150 years ago this area was a den of such vice and iniquity that it would've made even the Marquis de Sade blush. Find out why... —Recommended by Don, City Lights Books
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In Other Rooms, Other Wonders
Daniyal Mueenuddin
Recommended by Paul, City Lights Books "The rural rootedness and gentle humour of R.K. Narayan with the literary sophistication and stylishness of Jhumpa Lahiri."—Financial Times Passing from the mannered drawing rooms of Pakistan's cities to the harsh..
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A History of Histories
Epics, Chronicles, Romances and Inquiries from Herodotus and Thucydides to the Twentieth Century
John Burrow
Treating the practice of history not as an isolated pursuit but as an aspect of human society and an essential part of the culture of the West, John Burrow magnificently brings to life and explains the distinctive qualities found in the work of...
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In Defense of Food
An Eater's Manifesto
Michael Pollan
This book is as fascinating as all the reviewers keep telling us it is. Michael Pollan doesn't address every angle of every issue, but this book is a great starting point for thinking more critically and carefully about the foods we buy and eat...
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Sea of Poppies
Amitav Ghosh
Recommended by Paul, City Lights Books The first in an epic trilogy, Sea of Poppies is "a remarkably rich saga . . . which has plenty of action and adventure à la Dumas, but moments also of Tolstoyan penetration--and a drop or two of Dickensian...
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Amulet
Roberto Bolaño
Recommended by Paul, City Lights Books Amulet is a novel of extraordinary intensity by literary phenomenon Roberto Bolaño: "the real thing and the rarest"—Susan Sontag Amulet embodies in one woman's breathtaking voice the melancholy and violent recent...
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The Tanners
Robert Walser
Loosely based on his own life and his large family, The Tanners follows Simon Tanner as he wanders from job to job, in search of a calling. Along his journey of self-definition, we meet his other siblings: the painter brother whose romantic brooding...
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The Nick Adams Stories
Ernest Hemingway
Written in the 1920s and 30s, these short stories follow protagonist Nick Adams and his family through periods of his life, his jobs, and the war, from his childhood on. One story was made into the classic 40s film noir The Killers. Adams' life runs...

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