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 2016 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 200 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. The list was originally conceived in January 2017 and then updated in July 2017.






Featured and Recommended Titles at the Bookstore

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The Changeling
Victor LaValle
When Apollo Kagwa's father disappeared, all he left his son were strange recurring dreams and a box of books stamped with the word IMPROBABILIA. Now Apollo is a father himself—and as he and his wife, Emma, are settling into their new lives as parents, exhaustion and anxiety start to take their toll.
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The Idiot
Elif Batuman
The year is 1995, and email is new. Selin, the daughter of Turkish immigrants, arrives for her freshman year at Harvard. She signs up for classes in subjects she has never heard of, befriends her charismatic and worldly Serbian classmate, Svetlana, and, almost by accident, begins corresponding with Ivan, an older mathematics student from Hungary.
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Modern Love
Constance De Jong
Sexy-cool-weirdos, delight! A read for those both disenchanted and lovelorn. Reminiscent of Cortazar and Kathy Acker. —Recommended by Ivy
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Lincoln in the Bardo
George Saunders
February 1862. The Civil War is less than one year old. The fighting has begun in earnest, and the nation has begun to realize it is in for a long, bloody struggle. Meanwhile, President Lincoln's beloved eleven-year-old son, Willie, lies upstairs in the White House, gravely ill.
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The Boy Who Never Was
You will fall under the Icelandic trance of this queer volcanic hymn. —Recommended by Ryan
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Mrs. Caliban
Rachel Ingalls
Who doesn't secretly want a frog monster boyfriend? —Recommended by Cassie & Vanessa
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Homesick for Another World
Ottessa Moshfegh
There's not a single character in this collection that I liked, but I was addicted to these stories, and found myself identifying with those characters—cursing myself for it. —Recommended by Jared
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Good Stock Strange Blood
Dawn Lundy Martin
"Like you, I am unforgiving. It might be a perversion of my blood, inherited like sore." —Recommended by Jared
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Her Body and Other Parties
Carmen Maria Machado
Every story in Carmen Maria Machado's "Her Body and Other Parties" unfolds with the creepy languor of a Kubrick film. Machado seduces you with devilishly great prose only to deliver the coup de grace of terror like a stiletto to the throat. —Recommended by Vanessa & Paul
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Letters to Memory
Karen Tei Yamashita
An excursion through the Japanese internment using archival materials from the Yamashita family as well as a series of epistolary conversations with composite characters representing a range of academic specialties. —Recommended by Paul
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New Analog
Listening and Reconnecting in a Digital World
Damon Krukowski
—Recommended by Elaine & Andy
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Since I Laid My Burden Down
A Novel
Brontez Purnell
"DeShawn told his mother, should anything happen, he wanted to be cremated. 'Where do you want your ashes thrown?' asked his mother. 'IN THE EYES OF MY ENEMIES.'"—Recommended by Jared & Ivy
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Call Me by Your Name
André Aciman
Andre Aciman's Call Me by Your Name is the story of a sudden and powerful romance that blossoms between an adolescent boy and a summer guest at his parents' cliffside mansion on the Italian Riviera. Each is unprepared for the consequences of their attraction, when, during the restless summer weeks, unrelenting currents of obsession, fascination...