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
  |  Garrett
  |  Greg
  |  Ivy
  |  Jackson
  |  Jeff
  |  Lawrence
  |  Linda
  |  Michael
  |  Nancy
  |  Paul
  |  Peter
  |  Scott
  |  Stacey
  |  Tân
  |  Vanessa

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    sort list by title | author | publication date

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Fran Ross
The best book I have read in years. A truly hilarious, surreal, anarchic and sharp as knives coming of age novel, which didn't find an audience when originally published in 1974. There are so many ideas, diagrams, and varying forms of prose contained within it's hard to summarize why you should read this, but you should.—Recommended by Layla
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Barbarian Days
A Surfing Life
William Finnegan
A deeply rendered self-portrait of a lifelong surfer by the acclaimed New Yorker writer Barbarian Days is an old-school adventure story, an intellectual autobiography, a social history, a literary road movie, and an extraordinary exploration of the gradual mastering of an exacting, little understood art.
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The Future of the Skyscraper
SOM Thinkers
Philip Nobel
Engines of industry, expressions of ego or will, tall towers are nonetheless, when they pierce the shared skies, intensely public. We may ask of them artistic questions: what do we make of these things we make? What do these forms mean?
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Between the World and Me
Ta-Nehisi Coates
This is a tremendous gift to the world. —Recommended by Tân, City Lights Books Also recommended by Scott & Paul, City Lights Books
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Surf Craft
Design and the Culture of Board Riding
Richard Kenvin
Surfboards were once made of wood and shaped by hand, objects of both cultural and recreational significance. Today most surfboards are mass-produced with fiberglass and a stew of petrochemicals, moving (or floating) billboards for athletes and their brands, emphasizing the commercial rather than the cultural. Surf Craft maps this evolution.
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Birds of America
Lorrie Moore
With every sentence flawlessly constructed, Moore writes stories energized by wit and human imperfection. This collection is essential for any short fiction lover's bookshelf.—Recommended by Cassie, City Lights Books
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A History of Money
A Novel
Alan Pauls
A major new novel from the writer Roberto Bolaño called "one of the best living Latin American writers" Alan Pauls, one of Latin American literature's rising stars, combines the intimate and the political in a novel that, although it is set in Argentina in the 1970s and '80s, will bring to mind books like Choire Sicha's Very Recent History...
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Leaving Orbit
Notes from the Last Days of American Space Flight
Margaret Lazarus Dean
Feeling torn between great science writing, a searching memoir, a critique of government, and some literary criticism? Fear not, they can all be had in one volume, and this is it. A surprisingly emotional take on the end of NASA's space shuttle program—but so much more. —Recommended by Vanessa, City Lights Books
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Love Me Back
A Novel
Merritt Tierce
This novel is not perfect, but it is one of the few contemporary works of fiction that have lodged in my brain and poked at my softer parts once finished. It's cold, bitter work to get through this, but Tierce is a writer I'll be watching. —Recommended by Vanessa, City Lights Books
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Nabokov in America
On the Road to Lolita
Robert Roper
How did Lolita come to be? The author dissects Nabokov's exile in America and the masterpiece resulting from it, without lionizing either the man or his ouevre. Engaging. —Recommended by Jeff, City Lights Books
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Fifteen Dogs
A Novel
André Alexis
Winner of the 2015 ScotiaBank Giller Prize "What does it mean to be alive? To think, to feel, to love and to envy? André Alexis explores all of this and more in the extraordinary Fifteen Dogs, an insightful and philosophical meditation on the nature of consciousness. It's a novel filled with balancing acts: humour juxtaposed with savagery...
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A Useless Man
Selected Stories
Sait Faik Abasiyanik
Sait Faik Abasiyanik was born in Adapazari in 1906 and died of cirrhosis in Istanbul in 1954. He wrote twelve books of short stories, two novels, and a book of poetry. His stories celebrate the natural world and trace the plight of iconic characters in society: ancient coffeehouse proprietors and priests, dream-addled fishermen and poets of...
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A Novel
Vu Tran
"Vu Tran's Dragonfish is that rare hybrid marvel―a literary thriller, a narrative of migration and loss that upends the conventions of any form." ―Dinaw Mengestu, author of All Our Names
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Destruction Was My Beatrice
Dada and the Unmaking of the Twentieth Century
Jed Rasula
The perfect companion to Hugo Ball's Flight Out of Time, Huelsenbeck's Memoirs of a Dada Drummer, and Hans Richter's Art and Anti-Art. Jed Rasula has done a great service to Dada lovers everywhere. This is sure to be the "go to" book for years to come. —Recommended by Peter, City Lights Books

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