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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Dreamland
The True Tale of America's Opiate Epidemic
Sam Quinones
In fascinating detail, Sam Quinones chronicles how, over the past 15 years, enterprising sugar cane farmers in a small county on the west coast of Mexico created a unique distribution system that brought black tar heroin—the cheapest, most addictive form of the opiate, 2 to 3 times purer than its white powder cousin—to the veins of people...
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This Is Not a Skyscraper
Dean Kostos
This Is Not a Skyscraper examines New York City through a surrealist lens. Like the title of Magritte's painting, "This is not a pipe," these poems question perceptions of the metropolis. While NYC entices talents that swarm its stages, museums, runways, and readings, throngs of outsiders live on the city's margins, silenced.
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Pull My Daisy
The Film and Documentary Material
Robert Frank, Alfred Leslie
The seminal and rare 1958 film, on PAL & NTSC DVD, in a presentation box with two booklets: one of Jack Kerouac's story and lyrics, and one of photographs taken on the set.
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Capitalism
A Ghost Story
Arundhati Roy
From the poisoned rivers, barren wells, and clear-cut forests, to the hundreds of thousands of farmers who have committed suicide to escape punishing debt, to the hundreds of millions of people who live on less than two dollars a day, there are ghosts nearly everywhere you look in India. India is a nation of 1.2 billion, but the country's 100...
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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This is a more-than-complete collection (it includes the unpublished 17th issue!)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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Fever Water
Darius James
"Fever Water" is a limited edition artist's book of one hundred and fifty numbered copies created by San Francisco based visual artist Tân Khánh Cao in collaboration with author Darius James. Its pages are printed on acid free one hundred percent cotton paper and vellum with archival ink and hand bound. Its melding of text and graphics...
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Area X
The Southern Reach Trilogy
Jeff VanderMeer
A near-future trilogy, here handsomely packaged in one volume, which has been my single most unexpected "find" of the year. The first book, Annihilation, found me intrigued, yet cautious. Imagine the unspeakable horror of John Carpenter's 1982 remake of The Thing. Authority, the second volume, was an absolute revelation...
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All Involved
A Novel
Ryan Gattis
A propulsive and ambitious novel as electrifying as The Wire, from a writer hailed as the West Coast's Richard Price—a brutal and mesmerizing epic of crime and opportunity, race, revenge, and loyalty, set in the chaotic streets of South Central L.A. in the wake of one of the most notorious, incendiary, and racially charged trials of the 1990s...
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Glory Goes and Gets Some
Stories
Emily Carter
Something happened when I was reading this. I was at a party and Emily Carter was there and she told a story. It was great and the party went on. I got home around 3am and found that all my clothes were on inside out. socks, underwear, everything. Somehow I didn't freak out. I went to bed. And then in that warm sinking moment of falling asleep...
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Pier Paolo Pasolini
Poet of Ashes
Pier Paolo Pasolini, Roberto Chiesi, Andrea Mancini
In this book, readers will find poems that Pasolini wrote during his brief stay in New York, interviews, and an anthology of statements, reflections, and notes on his films.
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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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'Pataphysics
A Useless Guide
Andrew Hugill
Of all the French cultural exports over the last 150 years or so, 'pataphysics—the science of imaginary solutions and the laws governing exceptions—has proven to be one of the most durable. Originating in the wild imagination of French poet and playwright Alfred Jarry and his schoolmates, resisting clear definition, purposefully useless...
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Fields of Blood
Religion and the History of Violence
Karen Armstrong
From the renowned and best-selling author of A History of God, a sweeping exploration of religion and the history of human violence. For the first time, religious self-identification is on the decline in American. Some analysts have cited as cause a post-9/11 perception: that faith in general is a source of aggression, intolerance, and...
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Don't Hesitate: Knowing Allen Ginsberg
'72 Through '97 : Letters & Recollections
Marc Olmsted
Marc Olmsted, a young poet, wrote to Allen Ginsberg in 1972 and was surprised to receive a reply from one of America's most important poets. This letter began a friendship that lasted for decades, taking Olmsted on a journey through the literary world. In this, his memoirs, Olmsted details the turbulent events of his own life...
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The Secret History of Wonder Woman
Jill Lepore
A riveting work of historical detection revealing that the origin of one of the world's most iconic superheroes hides within it a fascinating family story—and a crucial history of twentieth-century feminism Wonder Woman, created in 1941, is the most popular female superhero of all time. Aside from Superman and Batman, no superhero has lasted...
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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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Hell and Good Company
The Spanish Civil War and the World it Made
Richard Rhodes
From the Pulitzer Prize–winning and bestselling author of The Making of the Atomic Bomb—the remarkable story of the Spanish Civil War through the eyes of the reporters, writers, artists, doctors, and nurses who witnessed it.
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The Internet Is Not the Answer
Andrew Keen
he Internet, created during the Cold War, has now ushered in one of the greatest shifts in society since the Industrial Revolution. There are many positive ways in which the Internet has contributed to the world, but as a society we are less aware of the Internet's deeply negative effects on our psychology, economy, and culture.
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All the Light We Cannot See
A Novel
Anthony Doerr
From the highly acclaimed, multiple award-winning Anthony Doerr, a stunningly ambitious and beautiful novel about a blind French girl and a German boy whose paths collide in occupied France as both try to survive the devastation of World War II.