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!

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

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    sort list by title | author | publication date

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A Listener's Guide to Free Improvisation
John Corbett
Improvisation rattles some listeners. Maybe they're even suspicious of it. John Coltrane's saxophonic flights of fancy, Jimi Hendrix's feedback drenched guitar solos, Ravi Shankar’s sitar extrapolations—all these sounds seem like so much noodling or jamming, indulgent self-expression. "Just" improvising, as is sometimes said.
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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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One Day Soon Time Will Have No Place Left to Hide
Christian Kiefer
Christian Kiefer rebounds from his sophomore effort and projects himself not only into the stratosphere, but into that rarefied stratum inhabited by the Curtis Whites, Rudy Wurlitzers and Peter Handkes of this world. I am so impressed I'm speechless... —Recommended by Jeff, City Lights Books
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In the Country
Mia Alvar
In these nine globe-trotting tales, Mia Alvar gives voice to the women and men of the Philippines and its diaspora. From teachers to housemaids, from mothers to sons, Alvar's stories explore the universal experiences of loss, displacement, and the longing to connect across borders both real and imagined.
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No Name in the Street
James Baldwin
Both a stunningly personal document and a turbulent portrait of the late-Sixties and early-Seventies, this is Baldwin's literary equivalent of Sly Stone’s furious and despairing There’s a Riot Goin’ On. —Recommended by Michael, City Lights Books
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Innocents and Others
A Novel
Dana Spiotta
From "a major, unnervingly intelligent writer" (Joy Williams)…"rich, funny, learned, and tonally fresh" (Jeffrey Eugenides), comes a novel about aspiration, film, work, and love. Dana Spiotta's new novel is about two women, best friends, who grow up in LA in the 80s and become filmmakers. Meadow and Carrie have everything in common...
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The Abundance
Narrative Essays Old and New
Annie Dillard
Hypnotic, hallucinatory, ripe, unsparing, weird, gorgeous—Dillard is all of these but none say quite enough. A master. —Recommended by Vanessa, City Lights Books
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The Profiteers
Bechtel and the Men Who Built the World
Sally Denton
The co-author of one of the best books ever written on Las Vegas—and its meaning for America— sets her critical eye on the behemoth that is Bechtel. For students of 20th century realpolitik, an excellent companion to David Talbot's The Devil's Chessboard.​ —Recommended by Jeff, City Lights Books
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The Lonely City
Adventures in the Art of Being Alone
Olivia Laing
Is it wrong to be lonely? Sometimes the brick and rust of the city is reflected within the soul, creating all sorts of interesting alchemical reactions. Laing's musings on solitude are at once romantic, wretched, and affirming. —Recommended by Ivy, City Lights Books
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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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The Sellout
A Novel
Paul Beatty
—Recommended by Tân & Paul & Michael, City Lights Books
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A History of Walking
Rebecca Solnit
Drawing together many histories-of anatomical evolution and city design, of treadmills and labyrinths, of walking clubs and sexual mores-Rebecca Solnit creates a fascinating portrait of the range of possibilities presented by walking.
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The Question of Bruno
Aleksandar Hemon
In this stylistically adventurous, brilliantly funny tour de force—the most highly acclaimed debut since Nathan Englander's—Aleksander Hemon writes of love and war, Sarajevo and America, with a skill and imagination that are breathtaking.
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A Little Life
Hanya Yanagihara
A Little Life follows four college classmates—broke, adrift, and buoyed only by their friendship and ambition—as they move to New York in search of fame and fortune. While their relationships, which are tinged by addiction, success, and pride, deepen over the decades, the men are held together by their devotion to the brilliant, enigmatic Jude...

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