Biography, Memoir, Essays
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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Carol and John Steinbeck
Portrait of a Marriage
Susan Shillinglaw
Carol Henning Steinbeck, writer John Steinbeck's first wife, was his creative anchor, the inspiration for his great work of the 1930s, culminating in The Grapes of Wrath. Meeting at Lake Tahoe in 1928, their attachment was immediate, their personalities meshing in creative synergy. Carol was unconventional, artistic, and compelling.
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Changing My Mind
Occasional Essays
Zadie Smith
"[These essays] reflect a lively, unselfconscious, rigorous, erudite, and earnestly open mind that's busy refining its view of life, literature, and a great deal in between." -Los Angeles Times Split into five sections-Reading, Being, Seeing...
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Chicken
Self-Portrait of a Young Man for Rent
David Henry Sterry
I've never read anything quite like this memoir. David Henry Sterry performs a high-wire act in his vaudevilliain telling of life as a prostitute in 70s Hollywood. Alternately sad and hilarious, Sterry provokes serious thinking about family, sexuality, and addiction. —Recommended by Stacey, City Lights Books
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Clothes, Clothes, Clothes. Music, Music, Music. Boys, Boys, Boys.
A Memoir
Viv Albertine
Clothes, Clothes, Clothes. Music, Music, Music. Boys, Boys, Boys. is a raw chronicle of music, fashion, love, sex, feminism, and more that connects the early days of punk to the Riot Grrl movement and beyond. But even more profoundly, Viv Albertine's remarkable memoir is the story of an empowered woman staying true to herself and making it...
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Consider the Lobster
And Other Essays
David Foster Wallace
Do lobsters feel pain? Did Franz Kafka have a funny bone? What is John Updike's deal, anyway? And what happens when adult video starlets meet their fans in person? David Foster Wallace answers these questions and more in essays that are also enthralling..
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The Continual Pilgrimage
American Writers in Paris, 1944-1960
Christopher Sawyer-Laucanno
Between 1944 and 1960, a second wave of expatriate American writers took up residence in Paris, some seeking the exiting ambiance of art and the bohemian life that Paris has offered earlier generations, some escaping from racist and materialistic...
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The Correspondence of Walter Benjamin and Gershom Scholem
1932-1940
Walter Benjamin, Gershom Scholem, Gershom Scholem
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Distant Neighbors
The Selected Letters of Wendell Berry and Gary Snyder
Wendell Berry, Gary Snyder, Chad Wriglesworth
Berry and Snyder exchanged more than 240 letters from 1973 to 2013, bringing out the best in each other as they grappled with faith and reason, discussed home and family, worried over the disintegration of community and commonwealth, and shared the details of the lives they'd chosen with their families.
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Don't Let Me Be Lonely
An American Lyric
Claudia Rankine
In this powerful sequence of TV images and essay, Claudia Rankine explores the personal and political unrest of our volatile new century I forget things too. It makes me sad. Or it makes me the saddest. The sadness is not really about George W. or our American optimism; the sadness lives in the recognition that a life can not matter.
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Door Wide Open
A Beat Love Affair in Letters 1957-1958
Joyce Johnson, Jack Kerouac
On a blind date in Greenwich Village set up by Allen Ginsberg, Joyce Johnson (then Joyce Glassman) met Jack Kerouac in January 1957, nine months before he became famous overnight with the publication of On the Road. She was an adventurous...
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The Empathy Exams
Essays
Leslie Jamison
If you've got a glowing, tender heart and wonder how it's possible to feel so much, this is the book for you. Hypochondriacs are advised to skip essay #2.—Recommended by Vanessa, City Lights Books
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The End of San Francisco
Mattilda Bernstein Sycamore
"Mattilda is a dazzling writer of uncommon truths, a challenging writer who refuses to conform to conventionality. Her agitation is an inspiration." -- Justin Torres, author of "We the Animals"
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Essays
Wallace Shawn
"I've written plays and a few screenplays, in each one a person who isn't me speaks, and then another who isn't me replies, and then a third one enters or the first one speaks again. . . . I've even worked as a professional actor, speaking out loud...
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Everybody into the Pool
True Tales
Beth Lisick
Beth Lisick is the best kind of storyteller -- utterly original, naturally hilarious, wisely observant, and completely down-to-earth. Those who like David Sedaris, Sarah Vowell, Marjane Satrapi or Julie Doucet will absolutely love this book.

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