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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The Visiting Privilege
New and Collected Stories
Joy Williams
The legendary writer's first collection in more than ten years—and, finally, the definitive one. A literary event of the highest order. Joy Williams has been celebrated as a master of the short story for four decades, her renown passing as a given from one generation to the next even in the shifting landscape of contemporary writing.
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Flyboy 2
The Greg Tate Reader
Greg Tate
To call Tate a critic is like calling Charles Mingus a bassist—his intellectual, compositional and lyrical expansiveness catapults one into the cosmic slop of consciousness and opens new neural pathways. —Recommended by Michael, City Lights Books
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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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The Underground Railroad
A Novel
Colson Whitehead
Cora is a slave on a cotton plantation in Georgia. Life is hell for all the slaves, but especially bad for Cora; an outcast even among her fellow Africans, she is coming into womanhood—where even greater pain awaits. When Caesar, a recent arrival from Virginia, tells her about the Underground Railroad, they decide to take a terrifying risk...
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Imperial San Francisco
Urban Power, Earthly Ruin
Gray Brechin
Think San Francisco is just some peacenik eco-urban utopia? Think again-- this city was built upon greed, corruption, ecological waste, and haphazard technology from its very start. But aren't all cities? —Recommended by Ivy, City Lights Books
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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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Mox Nox
Joan Cornellà
To mox, or nox to mox—that is the question .. Mox Nox for the people! The people for Mox Nox! Mox Nox is the most seminal work of all humanity! Kick off yo' sox and step into Mox Nox's toxic box! —Recommended by Jared, City Lights Books
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Christodora
A Novel
Tim Murphy
In this vivid and compelling novel, Tim Murphy follows a diverse set of characters whose fates intertwine in an iconic building in Manhattan's East Village, the Christodora. Moving kaleidoscopically from the Tompkins Square Riots and the attempts by activists to galvanize a true response to the AIDS epidemic in the 1980s...
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A Brief History of Seven Killings
A Novel
Marlon James
Winner of the 2015 Man Booker Prize, Marlon James combines masterful storytelling with his unrivaled skill at characterization and his meticulous eye for detail to forge a novel of dazzling ambition and scope.
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Imagine Me Gone
A Novel
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 tackling mental illness and race among other fraught topics. —Recommended by Stacey, City Lights Publishers
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The Story of Alice
Lewis Carroll and the Secret History of Wonderland
Robert Douglas-Fairhurst
Robert Douglas-Fairhurst is all but steeped in the milieu and culture of Victorian England, so much so that reading this one feels less that Dodgson created Alice than that the age did, and that Dodgson was serendipitously poised to transcribe it— and not forgetting the young Alice Liddell without whom...
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Trace
Memory, History, Race, and the American Landscape
Lauret Edith Savoy
In this provocative and powerful mosaic of personal journeys and historical inquiry across a continent and time, Savoy explores how the country's still unfolding history, and ideas of "race," have marked her and the land. From twisted terrain within the San Andreas Fault zone to a South Carolina plantation, from national parks to burial grounds...
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After the Parade
A Novel
Lori Ostlund
This generous debut by local author Lori Ostlund is a strange delight. —Recommended by Cassie, City Lights Books From Flannery O'Connor and Rona Jaffe Award winner Lori Ostlund, a deeply moving and beautiful debut novel about a man who leaves his longtime partner in New Mexico for a new life in San Francisco...
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Counternarratives
Stories and Novellas
John Keene
If I were on a deserted island and had to pick one book to read over and over again, I. would. take. this. one. —Recommended by Tân, City Lights Books Also recommended by Andy, City Lights Books

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