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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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Coltrane
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 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 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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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
Stories
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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Wanderlust
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 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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Parting the Waters
America in the King Years 1954-63
Taylor Branch
Parting the Waters is the first volume of Branch's essential history of the Civil Rights movement. This book is on Obama's reading list and it should be required reading for everyone...
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Rules for Radicals
Saul Alinsky
How'd Obama do it? Read his playbook to find out. What Machiavelli's The Prince is for the oppressor, Rules for Radicals is for the oppressed. Required reading...

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