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 author | publication date


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Becoming Ms. Burton
From Prison to Recovery to Leading the Fight for Incarcerated Women
Susan Burton
One woman's remarkable odyssey from tragedy to prison to recovery—and recognition as a leading figure in the national justice reform movement —Recommended by Elaine
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The Bell Jar
Sylvia Plath
A harrowing portrait of depression, fearlessly illustrated by one of the most talented and incredible minds in modern literature. If you have an interest in understanding mental illness and its effects on creativity, let this be your cornerstone. Utterly devastating, but in the most beautiful way possible. It's one of my all-time favorites.
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The Berlin Stories
Christopher Isherwood
Immerse yourself in Isherwood's glorious prose and his witty, engaging stories of pre-WWII Berlin. The characters in this book live and breathe, engage in naughty sexual exploits, and flail tipsy through a city in turmoil. I want to have a dinner party...
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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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Big Machine
A Novel
Victor LaValle
A hybrid of low-lifes and high ideals, his Big Machine runs on suicide cults and the voice of God taking you straight to the bowels of The Bay and the monsters that lurk without and withoin. Hard as a gun-muzzle to the jaw...
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Big Science
Ernest Lawrence and the Invention That Launched the Military-Industrial Complex
Michael Hiltzik
The epic story of how science went "big" and the forgotten genius who started it all—“entertaining, thoroughly researched…partly a biography, partly an account of the influence of Ernest Lawrence's great idea, partly a short history of nuclear physics and the Bomb” (The Wall Street Journal).
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Big Sur
Jack Kerouac
An interesting biography of what happens when fame and age taint the dream of being "on the road" in the life of this aspiring poet. The book details Kerouac's descent into alcoholism and hope for salvation. I think this is one of his greatest...
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Birds of America
Stories
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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Black Water Rising
A Novel
Attica Locke
Recommended by Paul, City Lights Books Jay Porter has long since made peace with not living the American Dream. He runs his fledgling law practice out of a dingy Houston strip mall—where his most promising client is a low-rent call girl—and he's...
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Black Wings Has My Angel
A Novel
Elliott Chaze
During the 1950s, Gold Medal Books introduced authors like Jim Thompson, Chester Himes, and David Goodis to a mass readership eager for stories of lowlife and sordid crime. Today many of these writers are admired members of the literary canon, but one of the finest of them of all, Elliott Chaze, remains unjustly obscure.
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Blind Spot
Teju Cole
Teju sees the world through a lens that captures the minutia of locale in fully intriguing ways—the way he articulates prose around these photos is completely immaculate. —Recommended by Jared, City Lights Bookstore
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Bluets
Maggie Nelson
A perfect collection of fragments; a chronicle of an obsession that will obsess you, too. —Recommended by Vanessa, City Lights Books
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The Book of Monelle
Marcel Schwob
A dark, haunted book by a man who was a secret literary influence on an astonishing number of great avante-garde writers. Schwob wrote this about, and for, a young girl of the streets whose death shattered him. He channels both the thunder of...
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Book of Mutter
Kate Zambreno
—Recommended by Cassie, City Lights Bookstore Writing is how I attempt to repair myself, stitching back former selves, sentences. When I am brave enough I am never brave enough I unravel the tapestry of my life, my childhood. — from Book of Mutter

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