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.

Keep in mind that our website represents only a tiny percentage of the titles we actually carry in our bookstore, so if you don't see what you want, please do give us a call Monday - Saturday from 12-6pm, or email us at orders@citylights.com anytime to inquire about availability — we probably have what you want! 

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 Bookstore

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In this brilliant book, Isabel Wilkerson gives us a masterful portrait of an unseen phenomenon in America as she explores, through an immersive, deeply researched narrative and stories about real people, how America today and throughout its history has been shaped by a hidden caste system, a rigid hierarchy of human rankings.
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It Is Wood, It Is Stone
A Novel
Gabriella Burnham
With sharp, gorgeous prose, It Is Wood, It Is Stone takes place over the course of a year in São Paulo, Brazil, in which two women's lives intersect.
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The Butterfly Lampshade
A Novel
Aimee Bender
The first novel in ten years from the author of the beloved New York Times bestseller The Particular Sadness Of Lemon Cake, a luminous, poignant tale of a mother, a daughter, mental illness, and the fluctuating barrier between the mind and the world.
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Marilou Is Everywhere
A Novel
Sarah Elaine Smith
Consumed by the longing for a different life, a teenager flees her family and carefully slips into another -- replacing a girl whose own sudden disappearance still haunts the town.
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Life Events
A Novel
Karolina Waclawiak
A woman at a crossroads learns the only way to reclaim her life is to help others die.
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No Presents Please
Mumbai Stories
Jayant Kaikini
For readers of Jhumpa Lahiri and Rohinton Mistry, as well as Lorrie Moore and George Saunders, here are stories on the pathos and comedy of small-town migrants struggling to build a life in the big city, with the dream world of Bollywood never far away.
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A Grave Is Given Supper
Mike Soto
A Narco-Acid Western told in a series of interlinked poems, Soto's striking debut collection follows the converging paths of two protagonists through El Sumidero, a fictional US/Mexico border town where an ongoing drug war is raging...
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The Island Child
A Novel
Molly Aitken
A spellbinding, deeply felt debut novel--soaring and poignant--about passion, freedom, motherhood, and the power to shape our destinies.
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A Portrait of the Self as Nation
New and Selected Poems
Marilyn Chin
Now in paperback, A Portrait of the Self as Nation is a selection from one of America's most original and vital voices.
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A Field Novel
Esther Kinsky
Esther Kinsky, author of River, returns with Grove, a stunning blend of nature writing and a meditation on grief.
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A Hymn to the Sea
Alice Oswald
In Memorial, her unforgettable transformation of the Iliad, Alice Oswald breathed new life into myth. In Nobody, she returns to Homer, this time fixing her gaze on a minor character in the Odyssey...
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Zora and Langston
A Story of Friendship and Betrayal
Yuval Taylor
Novelist Zora Neale Hurston and poet Langston Hughes, two of America's greatest writers, first met in New York City in 1925. By illuminating their lives, work, competitiveness, and ambitions, Yuval Taylor savvily details how their friendship and literary collaborations dead-ended in acrimonious accusations.
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A Novel of the Plague
Maggie O'Farrell
England, 1580: The Black Death creeps across the land, an ever-present threat, infecting the healthy, the sick, the old and the young, alike. The end of days is near, but life always goes on.
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Beaten Down, Worked Up
The Past, Present, and Future of American Labor
Stephen Greenhouse
From longtime New York Times labor correspondent, an in-depth and stirring look at working men and women in America, the challenges they face, and the ways in which they can be re-empowered.
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Mr. Know-It-All
The Tarnished Wisdom of a Filth Elder
John Waters
The newest essay collection from the New York Times bestselling author John Waters, reflecting on how to overcome newfound respectability and rebel in the autumn of your years.
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The Unnamable Present
Roberto Calasso
A decisive key to help grasp some of the essential points of what is happening around us.
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Some Go Home
A Novel
Odie Lindsey
Some Go Home twists together personal and collective history, binding north Mississippi to northside Chicago, in a richly textured, explosive depiction of both the American South and our larger cultural legacy.