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

   
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    sort list by title | author | publication date


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American War
A Novel
Omar El Akkad
Sarat Chestnut, born in Louisiana, is only six when the Second American Civil War breaks out in 2074. But even she knows that oil is outlawed, that Louisiana is half underwater, and that unmanned drones fill the sky. When her father is killed and her family is forced into Camp Patience for displaced persons...
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Too Much and Not the Mood
Essays
Durga Chew-Bose
A debut collection of essays that feels at once like a long cool drink and a finely calibrated prism. Chew-Bose is one to keep an eye on.—Recommended by Vanessa
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A Cup of Rage
Raduan Nassar
Nasty, brutish, and short, i.e. perfect.— Recommended by Vanessa
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Such Small Hands
Andrés Barba
A brilliant little fright!—Recommended by Cassie & Paul
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Difficult Women
Roxane Gay
Award-winning author and powerhouse talent Roxane Gay burst onto the scene with An Untamed State and the New York Times bestselling essay collection Bad Feminist (Harper Perennial). Gay returns with Difficult Women, a collection of stories of rare force and beauty, of hardscrabble lives, passionate loves, and quirky and vexed human connection.
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Writing to Save a Life
The Louis Till File
John Edgar Wideman
An award-winning writer traces the life of the father of iconic Civil Rights martyr Emmett Till—a man who was executed by the Army ten years before Emmett's murder. An evocative and personal exploration of individual and collective memory in America by one of the most formidable Black intellectuals of our time.
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White Tears
A Novel
Hari Kunzru
White Tears is a ghost story, a terrifying murder mystery, a timely meditation on race, and a love letter to all the forgotten geniuses of American music and Delta Mississippi Blues.—Recommended by Paul
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The Year of the Runaways
A Novel
Sunjeev Sahota
The Year of the Runaways is a stunning work of fiction that explores what it means and what it costs to make a new life, the capaciousness of the human spirit, and the power of humanity in the face of unspeakable suffering. —Recommended by Paul, City Lights Books
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Imagine Me Gone
Adam Haslett
Adam Haslett's new novel is devastating and darkly funny. Haslett's writing is graceful, and his intellectual curiosity is wide-ranging as he creates an unforgettable family's story tacking mental illness and race among other fraught topics. —Recommended by Stacey, City Lights Publishing
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Homesick for Another World
Stories
Ottessa Moshfegh
There's not a single character in this collection that I liked, but I was addicted to these stories, and found myself identifying with those characters—cursing myself for it. —Recommended by Jared, City Lights Books
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Perfect Hair
Gender, sex, & love(?) presented as spectacular sequential art. This beautiful debut troubles the line between pleasant human interaction & detachment. Feels like floating above your body in a movie about yourself dreaming(?). —Recommended by Jared, City Lights Books
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Red Parts
Autobiography of a Trail
Maggie Nelson
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From #BlackLivesMatter to Black Liberation
Keeanga-Yamahtta Taylor
These chains must be destroyed; this world must be remade. —Recommended by Ivy
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Jane
A Murder
Maggie Nelson
Maggie Nelson has a lot of fans on staff at City Lights, and I'm the latest member to join the club. Nelson compellingly portrays the murder of her aunt using a mix of memoir, theory, and poetics. Suggest reading "The Red Parts" (a nonfiction account by Nelson) first. —Recommended by Stacey, City Lights, Publishers

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