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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Odes
Sharon Olds
Olds gives us a stunning book of odes. Opening with the powerful and tender "Ode to the Hymen," Olds addresses and embodies, in this age-old poetic form, many aspects of love and gender and sexual politics in a collection that is centered on the body and its structures and pleasures.
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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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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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Look
Poems
Solmaz Sharif
Starting with the title itself, Sharif's goal is lterally to pull apart the sterile language and phrasing taken directly from military strategy, analysis, and description, and reveal the complications of life affected by war. This is an astonishing work. —Recommended by Chris, City Lights Publishers
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Maldoror and Poems
Comte de Lautréamont
In forty years of reading fiction as an adult, this is the single most disturbing piece of literature I have ever come across. An influential text for the surrealists, Maldoror was published in 1869, one year before the author's death, at age 24! —Recommended by Jeff, 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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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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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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Water and the California Dream
Historic Choices for Shaping the Future
David Carle
The history of water is the history of the world. Carle has provided us with a fantastic framework for understanding California's past, present, and future, and makes a strong case for how we can transition away from exploitation and scarcity, and towards sustainability. —Recommended by Ivy, City Lights Books
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The Thinking Book
Sandol Stoddard Warburg
More than fifty years after its original publication, AMMO Books is proud to present this reissue edition of an artistic and imaginative title clearly ahead of its time. Not to be deterred by a hurried schedule or the start of school, a child takes his time to carefully consider whatever flights of fancy come to mind. Delicious, juicy watermelons.
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Thunder at the Gates
The Black Civil War Regiments That Redeemed America
Douglas R. Egerton
Soon after Abraham Lincoln issued the Emancipation Proclamation on January 1, 1863, abolitionists began to call for the creation of black regiments. At first, the South and most of the North responded with outrage—southerners promised to execute any black soldiers captured in battle, while many northerners claimed that blacks lacked...
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Suite for Barbara Loden
Nathalie Léger
How easy it is to swoon and obsess over Barbara Loden and her visionary film Wanda.  This canny fascination is the most splendid synthesis of author, actress, film, and memory. —Recommended by Cassie, City Lights Books
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Brothers
The Hidden History of the Kennedy Years
David Talbot
During the "thousand days of camelot," JFK and his attorney general brother Bobby were not regarded at all as the iconic, mythic wunderkinds they've become. They were weak, pro-detente doves, soft on communism, antithetical to all that was American...
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The Abundance
Narrative Essays Old and New
Annie Dillard
Hypnotic, hallucinatory, ripe, unsparing, weird, gorgeous—Dillard is all of these but none say quite enough. A master. —Recommended by Vanessa, City Lights Books
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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.
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Karl Marx
Greatness and Illusion
Gareth Stedman Jones
As much a portrait of his time as a biography of the man, Karl Marx: Greatness and Illusion returns the author of Das Kapital to his nineteenth-century world, before twentieth-century inventions transformed him into Communism's patriarch and fierce lawgiver. Gareth Stedman Jones depicts an era dominated by extraordinary challenges and...