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.

For any immediate questions or concerns, see our contact page or give us a call at (415) 362-8193

 

Created in the wake of the November election, our newest bookstore section, Pedagogies of Resistance, is designed to act as an educational course in revolutionary competence. These texts build upon one another to highlight the motivations, ideas, successes, and failures that define past and present revolutionary movements in order to illuminate possibilities for current and future movement builders. 

This developing list consists of nearly 100 books, and can be found on a visit to our bookstore—we hope you'll come by to check out our new section. Our democracy needs every one of us to be as informed and engaged as possible! Arm yourself with information.

DOWNLOAD THE LIST HERE, WHICH WE ENCOURAGE YOU SHARE.

 

 

Featured and Recommended Titles at the Bookstore

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The Year of the Runaways
A Novel
Sunjeev Sahota
The Year of the Runaways is a stunning work of fiction that explores what it means and what it costs to make a new life, the capaciousness of the human spirit, and the power of humanity in the face of unspeakable suffering. —Recommended by Paul, City Lights Books
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Imagine Me Gone
Adam Haslett
Adam Haslett's new novel is devastating and darkly funny. Haslett's writing is graceful, and his intellectual curiosity is wide-ranging as he creates an unforgettable family's story tacking mental illness and race among other fraught topics. —Recommended by Stacey, City Lights Publishing
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Alice
Memoirs of a Barbary Coast Prostitute
Alice Smith, Ivy Anderson, Devon Angus
Alice: Memoirs of a Barbary Coast Prostitute reveals the long lost memoir of Alice Smith, a sex worker from San Francisco in 1913. Discovered and edited by our very own bookseller, Ivy Anderson, and her partner in history, Devon Angus, this memoir uncovers complex intersections between gender, labor, and vice in San Francisco and the greater U.S.
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A Daibo Coffee Manual
Katsuji Daibo
This is a beautiful letterpressed book of Katsuji Daibo's coffee manual. There is something about its minutia, details, and Daibo's warm personhood that is so very special. This is a great book to sit and have a cup of coffee with.
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Difficult Women
Award-winning author and powerhouse talent Roxane Gay burst onto the scene with An Untamed State and the New York Times bestselling essay collection Bad Feminist (Harper Perennial). Gay returns with Difficult Women, a collection of stories of rare force and beauty, of hardscrabble lives, passionate loves, and quirky and vexed human connection.
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Perfect Hair
Gender, sex, & love(?) presented as spectacular sequential art. This beautiful debut troubles the line between pleasant human interaction & detachment. Feels like floating above your body in a movie about yourself dreaming(?). —Recommended by Jared, City Lights Books
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Jane
A Murder
Maggie Nelson
Maggie Nelson has a lot of fans on staff at City Lights, and I'm the latest member to join the club. Nelson compellingly portrays the murder of her aunt using a mix of memoir, theory, and poetics. Suggest reading "The Red Parts" (a nonfiction account by Nelson) first. —Recommended by Stacey, City Lights, Publishers
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Selected Works
Justin Chin, Jennifer Joseph
A Bay Area legend who knew how to excite readers, make them laugh, leave them devastated. Then, make them fall in love (with him), say "Heck yeah!" & clap their hands until it hurt—it still hurts. A beautiful soul taken too soon. —Recommended by Jared
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Blood in the Water
The Attica Prison Uprising of 1971 and Its Legacy
Heather Ann Thompson
A powerful and extraordinarily comprehensive study of the Attica uprising and its aftermath, and how its repercussions are still being felt in our diabolical prison system today. —Recommended by Michael, City Lights Books
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The Verso Book of Dissent
Revolutionary Words from Three Millennia of Rebellion and Resistance, New Edition
Andrew Hsiao, Audrea Lim
Throughout the ages and across every continent, people have struggled against those in power and raised their voices in protest-rallying others around them or, sometimes, inspiring uprisings many years later. Their echoes reverberate from Ancient Greece, China and Egypt, via the dissident poets...
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Whatever Happened to Interracial Love?
Stories
Kathleen Collins
Miraculously unearthed from the past, it is unimaginable now to think that we lived so long without this cinematic and daring collection of stories. —Recommended by Cassie, City Lights Books
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Evicted
Poverty and Profit in the American City
Matthew Desmond
From Harvard sociologist and MacArthur "Genius" Matthew Desmond, a landmark work of scholarship and reportage that will forever change the way we look at poverty in America In this brilliant, heartbreaking book, Matthew Desmond takes us into the poorest neighborhoods of Milwaukee to tell the story of eight families on the edge.
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Waiting 'Til the Midnight Hour
A Narrative History of Black Power in America
Peniel E. Joseph
Joseph is a brilliant American historian. He writes with the narrative verve of E.P. Thompson and C.L.R. James. An engrossing and important history. —Recommended by Paul, City Lights Books
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Love, H
The Letters of Helene Dorn and Hettie Jones
Hettie Jones
"It works, we're in business, yeah Babe!" So begins this remarkable selection from a forty-year correspondence between two artists who survived their time as wives in the Beat bohemia of the 1960s and went on to successful artistic careers of their own.
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White Trash
The 400-Year Untold History of Class in America
Nancy Isenberg
In her groundbreaking bestselling history of the class system in America, Nancy Isenberg takes on our comforting myths about equality, uncovering the crucial legacy of the ever-present, always embarrassing—if occasionally entertaining—poor white trash.