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

Featured and Recommended Titles at the City Lights Bookstore

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Here On the Edge
How a Small Group of World War II Conscientious Objectors Took Art and Peace from the Margins to the Mainstream
Here on the Edge answers the growing interest in a long-neglected element of World War II history: the role of pacifism in what is often called "The Good War." Steve McQuiddy shares the fascinating story of one conscientious objector camp located on the rain-soaked Oregon Coast, Civilian Public Service (CPS) Camp #56.
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Hip Hop Family Tree 1975-1983
Gift Box Set
Ed Piskor
A special slipcover and a special comic are included in the smash hit's gift set. To celebrate the resounding critical and commercial success of the first two volumes of Ed Piskor's unprecedented history of Hip Hop, we are offering the two books in a mind-blowingly colorful slipcase, drawn and designed by the artist.
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Painted Horses
A Novel
Malcolm Brooks
Catherine Lemay is a young archaeologist on her way to Montana, with a huge task before her—a canyon "as deep as the devil's own appetites." Working ahead of a major dam project, she has one summer to prove nothing of historical value will be lost in the flood. From the moment she arrives, nothing is familiar...
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Acceptance
Southern Reach Trilogy Book 3
Jeff VanderMeer
The third part of a near-future trilogy which, with every page I read, becomes ever more enigmatic and in need of resolution. The first book, Annihilation, brings to mind the unspeakable horror of John Carpenter's The Thing, while Authority recalls the institutional paranoia of Three Days of the Condor. I'm only a few pages into Acceptance...
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Surf Craft
Design and the Culture of Board Riding
Richard Kenvin
Surfboards were once made of wood and shaped by hand, objects of both cultural and recreational significance. Today most surfboards are mass-produced with fiberglass and a stew of petrochemicals, moving (or floating) billboards for athletes and their brands, emphasizing the commercial rather than the cultural. Surf Craft maps this evolution.
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Women in Clothes
Sheila Heti, Heidi Julavits, Leanne Shapton
Through original interviews, conversations, surveys, projects, diagrams and drawings from over six hundred contributors—including Miranda July, Cindy Sherman, Elif Batuman, Mac McClelland, Lena Dunham, Molly Ringwald, Tavi Gevinson, Rachel Kushner, Roxane Gay and Sarah Nicole Prickett... —Recommended by Layla and Vanessa, City Lights Books
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Command and Control
Nuclear Weapons, the Damascus Accident, and the Illusion of Safety
Eric Schlosser
The entirety of our nuclear policy folly, crystallized in and illuminated by the little-known Damascus near-tragedy. There is, for me, great sadness here... —Recommended by Jeff, City Lights Books
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Piano Stories
Felisberto Hernández
One of the strangest things I have ever read. It is wonderful. —Recommended by Tân, City Lights Books
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Authority
Southern Reach Trilogy Book 2
Jeff VanderMeer
The second part of a near-future trilogy which, with every page I read, becomes ever more enigmatic and in need of resolution. The first book, Annihilation, brings to mind the unspeakable horror of John Carpenter's The Thing, while Authority recalls the institutional paranoia of Three Days of the Condor. An important work.
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Green Girl
Kate Zambreno
Imagine Preliminary Materials for a Theory of the Young-Girl though the combined lens of Kathy Acker and Jean Rhys. A fractured "chick lit" deconstruction for nervous shop girls ready for a new vision... —Recommended by Layla, City Lights Books
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Capital in the 21st Century
Thomas Piketty
What are the grand dynamics that drive the accumulation and distribution of capital? Questions about the long-term evolution of inequality, the concentration of wealth, and the prospects for economic growth lie at the heart of political economy. But satisfactory answers have been hard to find for lack of adequate data and clear guiding theories...
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On Sal Mal Lane
A Novel
Ru Freeman
In the tradition of In the Time of the Butterflies and The Kite Runner, a tender, evocative novel about the years leading up to the Sri Lankan civil war On the day the Herath family moves in, Sal Mal Lane is still a quiet street, disturbed only by the cries of the children whose triumphs and tragedies sustai
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Carsick
John Waters Hitchhikes Across America
John Waters
A cross-country hitchhiking journey with America's most beloved weirdo. John Waters is putting his life on the line. Armed with wit, a pencil-thin mustache, and a cardboard sign that reads "I’m Not Psycho," he hitchhikes across America from Baltimore to San Francisco, braving lonely roads and treacherous drivers. But who should we be more worried
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Last Words from Montmartre
Qiu Miaojin
Part epistolary novel, part suicide note, part textual experiment, and wholly unlike anything else. —Recommended by Vanessa, City Lights Books
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The Good Lord Bird
James McBride
Quite the masterwork. A poignant delight with a sense of humor that sears to the bone. —Recommended by Scott, City Lights Books
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The Faraway Nearby
Rebecca Solnit
In this exquisitely written new book by the author of A Paradise Built in Hell, Rebecca Solnit explores the ways we make our lives out of stories, and how we are connected by empathy, by narrative, by imagination. In the course of unpacking some of her own stories—of her mother and her decline from memory loss, of a trip to Iceland...
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Hollywood Trilogy
A Couple of Comedians, The True Story of Jody McKeegan, and Turnaround
Don Carpenter
Don Carpenter wrote about Hollywood like no one else. Hollywood Trilogy collects, for the first time, Carpenter's most significant Hollywood novels—A Couple of Comedians, The Turnaround and The True Life Story of Jody McKeegan—into a single volume. Here readers will find the jungle of "B" movie Hollywood with no attempt to dress up the rawness...