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
  |  Emmitt
  |  Garrett
  |  Greg
  |  Ivy
  |  Jake
  |  Jared
  |  Jeff
  |  Lawrence
  |  Linda
  |  Michael
  |  Nancy
  |  Paul
  |  Peter
  |  Scott
  |  Stacey
  |  Tân
  |  Vanessa

   
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Eternity Street
Violence and Justice in Frontier Los Angeles
John Mack Faragher
"John Mack Faragher is one fine writer, bringing early L.A. to life as the setting for all manner of horrific killings and gruesome justice. Eternity Street will keep you up at night ruminating on the roots of American violence."―Richard Wightman Fox, University of Southern California, author of Lincoln's Body: A Cultural History
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Becoming Richard Pryor
Scott Saul
A major biography—intimate, gripping, revelatory—of an artist who revolutionized American comedy. Richard Pryor may have been the most unlikely star in Hollywood history. Raised in his family's brothels, he grew up an outsider to privilege. He took to the stage, originally, to escape the hard-bitten realities of his childhood.
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The Criminal Child
Jean Genet
The Criminal Child was meant for French radio in 1948, but was censored and subsequently forgotten. Until now this work has never appeared in English. As the mysterious editor of this handmade edition states in her afterword: "[Genet] speaks from the shadows and into the void. He stays at the edge of night and writes only for those—beautiful...
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Girl In a Band
A Memoir
Kim Gordon
This sharply observed, collage-like memoir of a life in music and art left me inspired and ready for a new musical vision. The evocative Didion-esque depiction of Kim's girlhood in the post-Manson landscape of Los Angeles, the wild early '80s downtown NY art / no wave existence then, of course, her years spent playing bass in Sonic Youth…
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M Train
An Unabridged Production
Patti Smith
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Earth Democracy
Justice, Sustainability, and Peace
Vandana Shiva
Monsanto got you down? Want to do something about the future of food? In India, women and farmers are at the vanguard of the environmental justice movement. Learn from their ways. —Recommended by Ivy, City Lights Books
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Drinking at the Movies
Julia Wertz
Representing Julia Wertz's critically acclaimed first graphic memoir in a new format, with a brand new sketchbook from Wertz, and an introduction by Janeane Garofalo. But don't worry; we haven't replaced any of the wrenching and ribald, whiskey-soaked coming-of-age tale. This is Wertz at her best, which is sometimes her worst.
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Ghettoside
A True Story of Murder in America
Jill Leovy
A masterly work of literary journalism about a senseless murder, a relentless detective, and the great plague of homicide in America.
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Let's Let That Are Not Yet: Inferno
Ed Pavlic
"You've been thinking to yourself that it all feels very American." Ed Pavlic's tireless, resourceful speaker is American, of indeterminate race, implicated at every conceivable point of entry into the struggles that go on "here," which is everywhere, the Inferno of the title: "if an //analogy affects an enemy then let's let // inferno the..."
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Don't Suck, Don't Die
Giving Up Vic Chesnutt
Kristin Hersh
A longform creative obituary written to one of the great American songwriters of the last 25 years. Kristin Hersh (of Throwing Muses) offers this personal glimpse into her extremely complicated friendship with Chesnutt and life on the road as a solo artist in the early 90s playing for nobody. Wounded, prophetic. dreamlike, charming, and bloody.
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Planet of the Bugs
Evolution and the Rise of Insects
Scott Richard Shaw
How our six-legged friends have come to dominate the planet. —Recommended by Jeff, City Lights Books
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The Devil's Chessboard
Allen Dulles, the CIA, and the Rise of America's Secret Government
David Talbot
Recommended by Jeff & Paul & Scott, City Lights Books
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Sidewalking
Coming to Terms with Los Angeles
David L. Ulin
In Sidewalking, David L. Ulin offers a compelling inquiry into the evolving landscape of Los Angeles. Part personal narrative, part investigation of the city as both idea and environment, Sidewalking is many things: a discussion of Los Angeles as urban space, a history of the city's built environment.
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M Train
Patti Smith
Reading this book provided a meditative type of joy, and also reassured me that there is nothing wrong with my coffee habit. —Recommended by Stacey, City Lights Publishers

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