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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The Complete Zap Comix
Box Set
R. Crumb
This is a more-than-complete collection (it includes the unpublished 17th issue!) of the quintessential underground comic book. There scarcely was an underground comics world before Robert Crumb's classic solo first issue ofZap. By Zap #2, he had begun assembling a Seven Samurai of the best...
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Becoming Richard Pryor
Scott Saul
A major biography—intimate, gripping, revelatory—of an artist who revolutionized American comedy. Richard Pryor may have been the most unlikely star in Hollywood history. Raised in his family's brothels, he grew up an outsider to privilege. He took to the stage, originally, to escape the hard-bitten realities of his childhood, but later...
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Who We Be
The Colorization of America
Jeff Chang
Race. A four-letter word. The greatest social divide in American life, a half-century ago and today. During that time, the U.S. has seen the most dramatic demographic and cultural shifts in its history, what can be called the colorization of America. But the same nation that elected its first Black president on a wave of hope...
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Collected Poems
Mark Strand
Longlisted for the 2014 National Book Award Gathered here is a half century's magnificent work by the former poet laureate of the United States and Pulitzer Prize winner whose haunting and exemplary style has influenced an entire generation of American poets.
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On Highway 61
Music, Race and the Evolution of Cultural Freedom
Dennis McNally
On Highway 61 explores the historical context of the significant social dissent that was central to the cultural genesis of the sixties. The book is going to search for the deeper roots of American cultural and musical evolution for the past 150 years by studying what the Western European culture learned from African American culture...
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Our Mathematical Universe
My Quest for the Ultimate Nature of Reality
Max Tegmark
Max Tegmark leads us on an astonishing journey through past, present and future, and through the physics, astronomy and mathematics that are the foundation of his work, most particularly his hypothesis that our physical reality is a mathematical structure and his theory of the ultimate multiverse.
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"Literchoor Is My Beat"
A Life of James Laughlin, Publisher of New Directions
Ian S. MacNiven
A biography—thoughtful and playful—of the man who founded New Directions and transformed American publishing. James Laughlin—a poet, publisher, world-class skier—was the man behind some of the most daring, revolutionary works in verse and prose of the twentieth century.
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Men Explain Things to Me
Updated Edition with Two New Essays
Rebecca Solnit
In her comic, scathing essay "Men Explain Things to Me," Rebecca Solnit takes on what often goes wrong in conversations between men and women. She writes about men who wrongly assume they know things and wrongly assume women don't, about why this arises, and how this aspect of the gender wars works, airing some of her own hilariously awful...
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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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The Strange Library
Haruki Murakami
From internationally acclaimed author Haruki Murakami—a fantastical illustrated short novel about a boy imprisoned in a nightmarish library. A lonely boy, a mysterious girl, and a tormented sheep man plot their escape from the nightmarish library of internationally acclaimed, best-selling Haruki Murakami's wild imagination.
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Cool Gray City of Love
49 Views of San Francisco
Gary Kamiya
Cool Gray City of Love brings together an exuberant combination of personal insight, deeply researched history, in-depth reporting, and lyrical prose to create an unparalleled portrait of San Francisco. Each of its 49 chapters explores a specific site or intersection in the city, from the mighty Golden Gate Bridge to the raunchy Tenderloin...
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Babayaga
A Novel of Witches in Paris
Toby Barlow
By the author of Sharp Teeth, a novel of love, spies, and witches in 1950s Paris—and a cop turned into a flea Will is a young American ad executive in Paris. Except his agency is a front for the CIA. It's 1959 and the cold war is going strong. But Will doesn't think he's a warrior—he’s just a good-hearted Detroit ad guy...
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Cometbus 55 3/4
East Bay Mostly
Aaron Cometbus
A special limited edition of this venerable zine, created for California Bookstore Day 2014
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Clothes, Clothes, Clothes. Music, Music, Music. Boys, Boys, Boys.
A Memoir
Viv Albertine
Clothes, Clothes, Clothes. Music, Music, Music. Boys, Boys, Boys. is a raw chronicle of music, fashion, love, sex, feminism, and more that connects the early days of punk to the Riot Grrl movement and beyond. But even more profoundly, Viv Albertine's remarkable memoir is the story of an empowered woman staying true to herself and making it...
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San Francisco's Jewel City
The Panama-Pacific International Exposition of 1915
Laura A. Ackley
2015 marks the centennial year of the Panama-Pacific International Exposition, when host city San Francisco emerged from the ashes of earthquake and fire as a center of beauty and progress. On the Presidio's waterfront and in what is now the Marina District, courtyards, formal gardens, and eleven Beaux-Arts palaces made up a miniature city.
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Curse of the Black Gold
50 Years of Oil in the Niger Delta
Ed Kashi, Michael Watts
Curse of the Black Gold: 50 Years of Oil in the Niger Delta takes a graphic look at the profound cost of oil exploitation in West Africa. Featuring images by world-renowned photojournalist Ed Kashi and text by Nobel Laureate Wole Soyinka.
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San Francisco Noir
Peter Maravelis
No trolley car stops at these dark, gritty San Francisco locales. The "other side of the postcard" brought to you by The City's best home-grown local writers. And edited by City Lights' own Peter Maravelis. —Recomended by Stacey, City Lights Publishers