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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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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Selected Works
Justin Chin, Jennifer Joseph
A Bay Area legend who knew how to excite readers, make them laugh, leave them devastated. Then, make them fall in love (with him), say "Heck yeah!" & clap their hands until it hurt—it still hurts. A beautiful soul taken too soon. —Recommended by Jared
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S O S
Poems 1961-2013
Amiri Baraka
The first comprehensive collection to show the full arc of Baraka's beautiful and revolutionary poetics. Essential. —Recommended by Michael, City lights Books
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The People in the Trees
A Novel
Hanya Yanagihara
This novel is not for the faint of heart, but if you dig invented biography and imagined science, and you're up for a true anti-hero, then this is going to be your new favorite. —Recommended by Erin, City Lights Books
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Welcome to Painterland
Bruce Conner and the Rat Bastard Protective Association
The Rat Bastard Protective Association was an inflammatory, close-knit community of artists who lived and worked in a building they dubbed Painterland in the Fillmore neighborhood of midcentury San Francisco. The artists who counted themselves among the Rat Bastards—which included Joan Brown, Bruce Conner, Jay DeFeo, Wally Hedrick, Michael McClure.
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Literary Wonderlands
A Journey Through The Greatest Fictional Worlds Ever Created
Laura Miller
Nothing is better than a book about books. This is exquisitely curated and wonderfully illustrated. Here are the fictional landscapes of Wonderlands, from ancient myths to the computer age. For every book we are given an essay, its history, the original covers, and quotations and fun facts. —Recommended by Don, City Lights Books
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True South
Henry Hampton and "Eyes on the Prize," the Landmark Television Series That Reframed the Civil Rights Movement
Jon Else
Henry Hampton's 1987 landmark multipart television series, Eyes on the Prize, an eloquent, plainspoken chronicle of the civil rights movement, is now the classic narrative of that history. Before Hampton, the movement’s history had been written or filmed by whites and weighted heavily toward Dr. King’s telegenic leadership.
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Mortal Trash
Poems
Kim Addonizio
Chew with your mouth closed and read this book. —Recommended by Ryan
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Lucky Boy
A Novel
Shanthi Sekaran
A prescient novel, the Bay Area's Shanthi Sekaran's Lucky Boy is the one book I'd require the president to read before he says or tweets one more horrifying thing about immigration policy in the U.S. —Recommended by Stacey, City Lights Publishers
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Fever Dream
A Novel
Samanta Schweblin
Sickness devours our narrator as she retraces the steps that led her to this strange hospital bed. Never has a title been more apt to describe a scalding and blurry reading experience, the idea of memory twisted and tangled throughout. —Recommended by Cassie
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Trans
a Memoir
Juliet Jacques
Jacques's words are the bricks to build one's foundation of identity. —Recommended by Ryan
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Moonstone
The Boy Who Never Was
Sjón
You will fall under the Icelandic trance of this queer volcanic hymn. —Recommended by Ryan
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Whatever Happened to Interracial Love?
Stories
Kathleen Collins
Miraculously unearthed from the past, it is unimaginable now to think that we lived so long without this cinematic and daring collection of stories. —Recommended by Cassie, City Lights Books

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