Biography, Memoir, & Belles-Lettres

Books in this online selection represent only a sliver of what we offer in the store. If you've got a particular book in mind and want to check on its availability, call us at 415-362-8193.



   
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Room to Dream
David Lynch, Kristine McKenna
In this unique hybrid of biography and memoir, David Lynch opens up for the first time about a life lived in pursuit of his singular vision, and the many heartaches and struggles he's faced to bring his unorthodox projects to fruition.
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They Can't Kill Us Until They Kill Us
Essays
Hanif Abdurraqib
"THIS IS MY FAVORITE COLLECTION OF ESSAYS RIGHT NOW. IF YOU DON'T APPRECIATE HANIF ABDURRAQIB, YOU'RE NOT MY FRIEND! --Recommended by Jared
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Men Explain Things To Me
Rebecca Solnit
In her comic, scathing essay, "Men Explain Things to Me," Rebecca Solnit took on what often goes wrong in conversations between men and women. She wrote 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.
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Retablos
Stories from a Life Lived Along the Border
Octavio Solis
Octavio Solis's memoir about growing up at the U.S./Mexico border. Called one of the Best Books of Fall 2018 by Buzzfeed, The Millions, and the CBC!
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Torn from the World
A Guerrilla's Escape from a Secret Prison in Mexico
John Gibler
The real-life story of a political insurgent who was disappeared and tortured by the Mexican Army and miraculously escaped to tell the tale.
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Vanishing Twins
A Marriage
Leah Dieterich
On the fluidity of desire and non-monogamy. Feel yourself growing conjoined to this text, then separating, reflecting, and attaching again. --Recommended by Ivy
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Devotion (Paperback)
Patti Smith
In this groundbreaking book, one of our culture's beloved artists offers a detailed account of her own creative process, inspirations, and unexpected connections.
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Bruce Lee
A Life
Matthew Polly
The most authoritative biography—featuring dozens of rarely seen photographs—of film legend Bruce Lee, who made martial arts a global phenomenon, bridged the divide between Eastern and Western cultures, and smashed long-held stereotypes of Asians and Asian-Americans. (Recommended by Don)
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The Mathematics of the Breath and the Way
On Writers and Writing
Charles Bukowski, David Stephen Calonne
A collection of columns, reviews, introductions, interviews, and previously uncollected stories revealing the method behind the madness and critical acumen of Charles Bukowski.
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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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Chester B. Himes
A Biography
Lawrence P. Jackson
Finally the definitive biography of the brilliant and often undervalued writer. Expansive, unflinching and deeply revelatory. —Recommended by Michael
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Too Much and Not the Mood
Essays
Durga Chew-Bose
A debut collection of essays that feels at once like a long cool drink and a finely calibrated prism. Chew-Bose is one to keep an eye on.—Recommended by Vanessa
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Lost Profiles
Memoirs of Cubism, Dada, and Surrealism
Philippe Soupault
A literary retrospective of a crucial period in modernism—the transition from Dada to Surrealism––via portraits and encounters with its literary lions, including Joyce, Proust, Reverdy, Apollinaire, Crevel and more by the co-founder of the Paris surrealist group.
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Calamities
Renee Gladman
In what I'd call 'metafictional literary essays', Renee Gladman references parts of her life and writing, with distance, as if she is an observable thing that we can spectate with wondrous glee. I 'nerd out' over the sentences she's meticulously crafted. It is clever, honest, entertainingly mundane, and so good.

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