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!

  |  Caitlyn
  |  Cassie
  |  Chris
  |  Don
  |  Elaine
  |  Emmitt
  |  Erin
  |  Garrett
  |  Greg
  |  Ivy
  |  Jared
  |  Jeff
  |  Lawrence
  |  Linda
  |  Michael
  |  Nancy
  |  Paul
  |  Peter
  |  Scott
  |  Stacey
  |  Tân
  |  Vanessa

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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 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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Nazi Literature in the Americas
Roberto Bolaño
The book purports to be a biographical dictionary gathering 30 brief accounts of poets, novelists and editors (all fictional) who espouse fascist or extremely right-wing political views. While several meet violent ends, most are simply deluded...
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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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Rendezvous with Rama
Arthur C. Clarke
An enduring classic, and one to which I keep going back. Like Larry Niven's Ringworld, the concept is staggering, and the execution Clarke at his best. If you enjoyed 2001: A Space Odyssey, you owe it to yourself to check this out. —Recommended by Jeff, City Lights Books
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Dreams in a Time of War
A Childhood Memoir
Ngugi Wa'Thiong'O
Born in 1938 in rural Kenya, Ngũgĩ wa Thiong'o came of age in the shadow of World War II, amidst the terrible bloodshed in the war between the Mau Mau and the British. The son of a man whose four wives bore him more than a score of children, young...
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The Ask
A Novel
Sam Lipsyte
A New York Times Bestseller A New York Times Book Review Editors' ChoiceMilo Burke—husband, father, development officer at a third-tier university—has just joined the burgeoning class of the newly unemployed. Grasping after odd jobs to support his...
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The Story of a Sound
Ben Ratliff
John Coltrane left an indelible mark on the world, but what was the essence of his achievement that makes him so prized forty years after his death? What were the factors that helped Coltrane become who he was? And what would a John Coltrane look...
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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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The Beautiful Struggle
A Father, Two Sons, and an Unlikely Road to Manhood
Ta-Nehisi Coates
An exceptional father-son story about the reality that tests us, the myths that sustain us, and the love that saves us. Paul Coates was an enigmatic god to his sons: a Vietnam vet who rolled with the Black Panthers, an old-school disciplinarian and...
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School of Fear
Gitty Daneshvari
Madeleine, Theo, Lulu and Garrison—each frightfully afraid of something (ghosts, moths, etc.)—are sent to the even more frightening School of Fear, where they will have to learn to cope with their phobias... or else! (For ages 8-12) —Recommended by Jeff
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Against Empire
Michael Parenti
Richly informed and written in an engaging style, Against Empire exposes the ruthless agenda and hidden costs of the U.S. empire today. Documenting the pretexts and lies used to justify violent intervention and maldevelopment abroad, Parenti shows...
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A Book of Instructions and Drawings by Yoko Ono
Yoko Ono
Quiet.It's a bomb. --Recommended by Tân, City Lights Books Back in print for the first time in nearly thirty years, here is Yoko Ono's whimsical, delightful, subversive, startling book of instructions for art and for life. "Burn this book after...

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