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 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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The Brief Wondrous Life of Oscar Wao
Junot Díaz
Recommended by Paul, City Lights Books The most talked about—and praised—first novel of 2007, and winner of the Pulitzer Prize. Oscar is a sweet but disastrously overweight ghetto nerd who—from the New Jersey home he shares with his old world mother...
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Wabi Sabi
Mark Reibstein
Beautifully illustrated with earthy collage, this introduction to (or reminder of) Wabi Sabi comes in the poetically told story of a cat. With haikus by Basho in English and japanese. --Recommended by Tân, City Lights Books
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Three Novels
Molloy, Malone Dies, The Unnamable
Samuel Beckett
Beckett's trilogy has to be one of the greatest feats of voice and language ever written. This is the book that turns woe into exhilaration. —Recommended by Matt, City Lights Books
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Three Wishes
An Intimate Look at Jazz Greats
Pannonica de Koenigswarter
An unprecedented, behind-the-scenes look at jazz legends In the 1950s, 60s, and 70s, Pannonica de Koenigswarter, known as Nica, was a constant and benevolent presence on the thriving New York jazz scene. Known as the Jazz Baroness (she was born into...
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Unpacking My Library
Architects and Their Books
Recommended by Paul, City Lights Books. What does a library say about the mind of its owner? How do books map the intellectual interests, curiosities, tastes, and personalities of their readers? What does the collecting of books have in common with the
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Beauty Salon
Mario Bellatin
Biting social allegory from one of Mexico's most exciting young authors: edgy, lyrical and cynically hopeful.
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All-American Poem
Matthew Dickman
One of the best young poets writing in America today. A joy to read. Says Tony Hoagland, APR/Honickman First Book Prize judge "Matthew Dickman's all-American poems are the epitome of the pleasure principle; as clever as they are...
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Miss Lonelyhearts & The Day of the Locust
Nathanael West
The Day of the Locust (1939) is West's great dystopian Hollywood novel based on his experiences at the seedy fringes of the movie industry. Said novelist and screenwriter Budd Schulberg: "A new public [has] discovered in the writings of West...
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Red Dust
A Path Through China
Ma Jian
Red Dust is a rich, strange, searching travelogue through the outposts of communist China by an adventurous, dissident poet. Author Ma is often compared to the Beats--but imagine if Kerouac had to escape from a Kafka novel in order to go "on the road"...
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Big Sur
Jack Kerouac
An interesting biography of what happens when fame and age taint the dream of being "on the road" in the life of this aspiring poet. The book details Kerouac's descent into alcoholism and hope for salvation. I think this is one of his greatest...
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After Dark
Haruki Murakami
Murakami places the reader in a world fully of his own creation—related to ours, but a shadow world of misfits caught in a nocturnal stream of casual violence, emotionless sex and meaningful coincidence.
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Discipline & Punish
The Birth of the Prison
Michel Foucault
At the end of 2006, the United States had approximately 7.2 million people who were either incarcerated, on probation, or on parole. Our society's propensity for punishment and justice has manifested into the modern prison system, arguably...
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Lolita
Vladimir Nabokov
I've been a book lover all my life, but it wasn't until Lolita that I fully began to realize and appreciate the art of literature. Nabokov's style of writing will grip your heart mercilessly and refuse to let go - to the point where you'll empathize wholeheartedly with its twisted and tortured narrator. Forget the controversy that surrounds it...

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