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Mr. Peanut
Adam Ross
A terrifying, Hitchcockian portrait of love turned to hate, and to murder. Did our hapless protagonists really kill their wives, or did they just hope someone else would finish the job? Mr. Peanut is a riveting, strange literary thriller, a scary dive...
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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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The Possessed
Adventures with Russian Books and the People Who Read Them
Elif Batuman
Batuman is a natural storyteller. Her love of literature is delightfully infectious. Using the Russian greats as inspiration for research and travel, her exploits reveal a writer who is at once keenly observant, erudite, sensitive and truly hilarious.
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Sea of Poppies
Amitav Ghosh
Recommended by Paul, City Lights Books The first in an epic trilogy, Sea of Poppies is "a remarkably rich saga . . . which has plenty of action and adventure à la Dumas, but moments also of Tolstoyan penetration--and a drop or two of Dickensian...
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The Story of a Sound
Ben Ratliff
John Coltrane left an indelible mark on the world, but what was the essence of his achievement that makes him so prized forty years after his death? What were the factors that helped Coltrane become who he was? And what would a John Coltrane look...
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The Terror Dream
Myth and Misogyny in an Insecure America
Susan Faludi
It has become clear over the years that the reaction of America's politicians and media to the attacks of 9/11 was bizarrely misdirected and dangerous to our national security. But no one has fully probed its cultural roots. Until now. Pulitzer...
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The Brief Wondrous Life of Oscar Wao
Junot Díaz
Recommended by Paul, City Lights Books The most talked about—and praised—first novel of 2007, and winner of the Pulitzer Prize. Oscar is a sweet but disastrously overweight ghetto nerd who—from the New Jersey home he shares with his old world mother...
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The Shock Doctrine
The Rise of Disaster Capitalism
Naomi Klein
At the core of Klein's book is the use of cataclysmic events to advance radical privatization, combined withy the privatization of the disaster response itself. Klein argues that by capitalizing on crises, the "disaster capitalism complex" now exists...
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The Savage Detectives
A Novel
Roberto Bolaño
The late Chilean writer Roberto Bolaño has been called the García Marquez of his generation, but his novel The Savage Detectives is a lot closer to Y Tu Mamá También than it is to One Hundred Years of Solitude. Hilarious and sexy, meandering and...
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Lost City Radio
A Novel
Daniel Alarcón
Recommended by Paul, City Lights Books For ten years, Norma has been the on-air voice of consolation and hope for the Indians in the mountains and the poor from the barrios—a people broken by war's violence. As the host of Lost City Radio...
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The Year of Magical Thinking
Joan Didion
From one of America's iconic writers, a stunning book of electric honesty and passion. Joan Didion explores an intensely personal yet universal experience: a portrait of a marriage--and a life, in good times and bad--that will speak to anyone...
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A Field Guide to Getting Lost
Rebecca Solnit
A Field Guide to Getting Lost is about the stories we use to navigate our way through the world and the places we traverse, from wilderness to cities, in finding ourselves or losing ourselves. Written as a series of autobiographical essays, it draws on...
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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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The Fire Next Time
James Baldwin
If you can honestly say that a book has never changed your life, then you haven't read The Fire Next Time. Said to have helped "galvanize" the Civil Rights movement, this powerful book beautifully, honestly, and, at times, heart-breakingly confronts the issue of race and racism in this country. Required reading for anyone interested in literature

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