Welcome to City Lights Bookstore!

A literary meeting place since 1953, City Lights is a landmark general bookstore, internationally known for its expert selection of books and for its commitment to free intellectual inquiry. Here you can check out our events calendar, browse a selection of featured books, new releases and recommended titles from the City Lights staff, sign up to receive City Lights newsletters, and learn a bit of the history of City Lights.

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Featured and Recommended Titles at City Lights Bookstore

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Spain in Our Hearts
Americans in the Spanish Civil War, 1936-1939
Adam Hochschild
From the acclaimed, best-selling author Adam Hochschild, a sweeping history of the Spanish Civil War, told through a dozen characters, including Ernest Hemingway and George Orwell: a tale of idealism, heartbreaking suffering, and a noble cause that failed.
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Don't Suck, Don't Die
Giving Up Vic Chesnutt
Kristin Hersh
A longform creative obituary written to one of the great American songwriters of the last 25 years. Kristin Hersh (of Throwing Muses) offers this personal glimpse into her extremely complicated friendship with Chesnutt and life on the road as a solo artist in the early 90s playing for nobody. Wounded, prophetic. dreamlike, charming, and bloody...
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Dear White People
A Guide to Inter-Racial Harmony in "Post-Racial" America
Justin Simien
In the satirical tradition of the New York Times bestseller Stuff White People Like comes this witty companion book to the "incredibly entertaining" (Indiewire) film of the same name, which “heralds a fresh and funny new voice” (Variety). Right out of college, Justin Simien wrote a screenplay about the nuanced experiences of four black students.
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Bluets
Maggie Nelson
A perfect collection of fragments; a chronicle of an obsession that will obsess you, too. —Recommended by Vanessa, City Lights Books
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Citizen
An American Lyric
Claudia Rankine
So groundbreaking is Rankine's work that it's almost impossible to describe; suffice it to say that this is a poem that reads like an essay (or the other way around) — a piece of writing that invents a new form for itself, incorporating pictures, slogans, social commentary...
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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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The Criminal Child
Jean Genet
The Criminal Child was meant for French radio in 1948, but was censored and subsequently forgotten. Until now this work has never appeared in English. As the mysterious editor of this handmade edition states in her afterword: "[Genet] speaks from the shadows and into the void. He stays at the edge of night and writes only for those—beautiful...
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Art Chantry Speaks
A Heretic's History of 20th Century Graphic Design
Art Chantry, Monica René Rochester
The long-awaited manifesto by my contemporary on the Seattle punk/indie/grunge design front. The Greil Marcus of graphic design. —Recommended by Jeff, City Lights Books
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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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The Dark Forest
Remembrance of Earth's Past, Book 2
Cixin Liu
This near-future trilogy is the first chance for English-speaking readers to experience this multiple-award-winning phenomenon from Cixin Liu, China's most beloved science fiction author. In The Dark Forest, Earth is reeling from the revelation of a coming alien invasion-in just four centuries' time.
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The Man in the High Castle
A Novel
Philip K. Dick
"The single most resonant and carefully imagined book of Dick's career." – New York Times It's America in 1962. Slavery is legal once again. The few Jews who still survive hide under assumed names. In San Francisco, the I Ching is as common as the Yellow Pages. All because some twenty years earlier the United States lost a war...
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Area X
The Southern Reach Trilogy
Jeff VanderMeer
A near-future trilogy, here handsomely packaged in one volume, which has been my single most unexpected "find" of the year. The first book, Annihilation, found me intrigued, yet cautious. Imagine the unspeakable horror of John Carpenter's 1982 remake of The Thing. Authority, the second volume, was an absolute revelation...
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Roald Dahl's Book of Ghost Stories
Roald Dahl
Roald Dahl (1916-1990) was a prickly, colorful character who wrote maliciously funny short stories for adults (The Best of Roald Dahl) as well as better-known works for children (James and the Giant Peach). As he relates in the introduction, he...
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Foundation
The Foundation Novels Book 3
Isaac Asimov
For twelve thousand years the Galactic Empire has ruled supreme. Now it is dying. But only Hari Sheldon, creator of the revolutionary science of psychohistory, can see into the future--to a dark age of ignorance, barbarism, and warfare that will...
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American Gods
Author's Preferred Text
Neil Gaiman
What happens when you stop believing in mythical gods and spirits? You'll find out in this award-winning fantasy novel. Follow the adventures of Shadow, a convict released early from prison because of his wife's untimely death. It's a nonstop, entertaining ride. You'll meet a few of the old gods of yesteryear, and the (mostly evil) new gods of...
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Fahrenheit 451
60th Anniversary Edition
Ray Bradbury
The temperature at which book paper combusts! Written in 1951, this dystopian novel is a must-read in today's world of disappearing bookstores and young readers who have never held an actual paperback. —Recommended by Don, City Lights Books
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The Three-Body Problem
Remembrance of Earth's Past, Book 1
Cixin Liu
The Three-Body Problem is the first chance for English-speaking readers to experience this multiple award winning phenomenon from China's most beloved science fiction author, Liu Cixin. Set against the backdrop of China's Cultural Revolution, a secret military project sends signals into space to establish contact with aliens.
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The Hitchhiker's Guide to the Galaxy
Douglas Adams
Join Douglas Adams's hapless hero Arthur Dent as he travels the galaxy with his intrepid pal Ford Prefect, getting into horrible messes and generally wreaking hilarious havoc. Dent is grabbed from Earth moments before a cosmic construction team...
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Ready Player One
Ernest Cline
If you are a geek for 80s popculture taking place in Virtual Reality in the futuretime of 2044, solving videogame mysteries to win the ultimate prize, then this book is for you. I loved it to bytes! —Recommended by Don, City Lights Books