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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A Cure for Suicide
A Novel
Jesse Ball
All of Ball's books are beautiful, but the heart-stopping beauty of this book's complex internal logic reaches the sublime. It is its own argument for existence. —Recommended by Erin Kind of like how you can read all of Vonnegut when you're young, I've read all of Ball's work into my 30s. —Recommended by Jake, City Lights Books
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An American Genocide
The United States and the California Indian Catastrophe, 1846-1873
Benjamin Madley
Between 1846 and 1873, California's Indian population plunged from perhaps 150,000 to 30,000. Benjamin Madley is the first historian to uncover the full extent of the slaughter, the involvement of state and federal officials, the taxpayer dollars that supported the violence, indigenous resistance, who did the killing, and why the killings ended.
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Ghettoside
A True Story of Murder in America
Jill Leovy
A masterly work of literary journalism about a senseless murder, a relentless detective, and the great plague of homicide in America.
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Homegoing
A Novel
Yaa Gyasi
A novel of breathtaking sweep and emotional power that traces three hundred years in Ghana and along the way also becomes a truly great American novel. Extraordinary for its exquisite language, its implacable sorrow, its soaring beauty, and for its monumental portrait of the forces that shape families and nations.
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Little Labors
Rivka Galchen
Precisely what I imagine internal mother musings to be, all written remarkably in the company of a puma-like baby human. —Recommended by Cassie, City Lights Books
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The Ballad of Black Tom
Victor LaValle
People move to New York looking for magic and nothing will convince them it isn't there. Charles Thomas Tester hustles to put food on the table, keep the roof over his father's head, from Harlem to Flushing Meadows to Red Hook. He knows what magic a suit can cast, the invisibility a guitar case can provide, and the curse written...
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Death in the Congo
Murdering Patrice Lumumba
Emmanuel Gerard, Bruce Kuklick
Maybe not a unique event in the history of newly-independent former colonies, but a telling one, and one for which the United States should still feel shame. —Recommended by Jeff, City Lights Books
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Signs Preceding the End of the World
A Novel
Yuri Herrera
Signs Preceding the End of the World is one of the most arresting novels to be published in Spanish in the last ten years. Yuri Herrera does not simply write about the border between Mexico and the United States and those who cross it. He explores the crossings and translations people make in their minds and language as they move from one...
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The Feminist Porn Book
The Politics of Producing Pleasure
Mireille Miller-Young, Constance Penley, Celine Parreñas Shimizu, Tristan Taormino
Feel weird about liking porn? Read this. taormino has gathered a collection of essays that present the missing counter-perspective to mainstream, antiporn feminism. —Recommended by Caitlyn, City Lights Books
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Savage Beauty
The Life of Edna St. Vincent Millay
Nancy Milford
This remarkable poet lived the life of a flaming comet. She said it best herself: "My candle burns at both ends; It will not last the night; But ah, my foes, and oh, my friends—It gives a lovely light!" —Recommended by Ivy, City Lights Books
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A Season in Hell & The Drunken Boat
Arthur Rimbaud
Rimbaud is the reason I fell madly in love with my inner turmoil, madness, and depressive state of being. His work embraces queer anguish in way that is unparalleled in its influence across countries and in the hearts of artists and writers for decades. This edition of A Season in Hell and The Drunken Boat, published by New Directions...
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Barbarian Days
A Surfing Life
William Finnegan
Barbarian Days is William Finnegan's memoir of an obsession, a complex enchantment. Surfing only looks like a sport. To initiates, it is something else: a beautiful addiction, a demanding course of study, a morally dangerous pastime, a way of life.
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The Autobiography of Malcolm X
As Told to Alex Haley
Malcolm X
Malcolm X understood the ways in which both Western media and history would depict him with horns and as a symbol of violence. Being so much more than this, this book is eye-opening, transformative, and of the highest literary merit. A Must-Read! —Recommended by Jared, City Lights Books
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San Francisco
A Map of Perceptions
Andrea Ponsi
San Francisco is a city designed for artists and wanderers. From North Beach, to Chinatown, to the cold, rough surf of Ocean Beach, to Marin, both visitors and lifelong residents have endless opportunities to explore new neighborhoods, buildings, environments, and cultures just by getting in the car, hopping on a cable car, or by simply...

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