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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Soul
And Other Stories
Andrey Platonov
A Soviet author heavily censored in his time, Platonov writes about work, progress, war and love with incredible earnestness, dreamlike strangeness, and a uniquely animistic sense of the universe. The title story here is unforgettable: at once truly...
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Crude Reflections/Cruda Realidad
Oil, Ruin and Resistance in the Amazon Rainforest
Lou Dematteis, Kayana Szymczak
An indigenous community's landmark legal case to hold Chevron accountable for its contamination of the Amazon
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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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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 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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Everything Is Illuminated
A Novel
Jonathan Safran Foer
With only a yellowing photograph in hand, a young man -- also named Jonathan Safran Foer -- sets out to find the woman who may or may not have saved his grandfather from the Nazis. Accompanied by an old man haunted by memories of the war; an amorous...
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Waiting 'Til the Midnight Hour
A Narrative History of Black Power in America
Peniel E. Joseph
Joseph is a brilliant American historian. He writes with the narrative verve of E.P. Thompson and C.L.R. James. An engrossing and important history...
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The Noonday Demon
An Atlas of Depression
Andrew Solomon
Through a lens both scholarly and literary – and deeply personal – Solomon deconstructs how our culture thinks of mental illness, and investigates how the stigma and entrenched associations surrounding depression keep us from addressing the real needs...
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In the Skin of a Lion
Michael Ondaatje
Although not as well known as The English Patient, this novel showcases Michael Ondaatje's best writing-- vividly tracing the stories of several new immigrants navigating their way in 1920's Toronto...
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Angle of Yaw
Ben Lerner
A National Book Award finalist, Angle Of Yaw is a sharp and flowing intervention into politics, plastics, emotional chiaroscuro, and many et ceteras. Presented as a series of prose poems periodically interrupted by verse, this book gives its reader a...
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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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