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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The Oblivion Seekers
Isabelle Eberhardt
Isabelle Eberhardt was an unusual woman, and we're fortunate to glimpse her unique meld of European angst and Algerian verve. We're equally lucky for Paul Bowles's sympathetic, robust biography that precedes Eberhardt's 13 short stories. Born in...
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I Greet You at the Beginning of a Great Career
The Selected Correspondence of Lawrence Ferlinghetti and Allen Ginsberg, 1955-1997
Lawrence Ferlinghetti, Allen Ginsberg, Bill Morgan
Out Now: Marking the 60th anniversary of City Lights Publishers, we present the intimate correspondence of Ginsberg & Ferlinghetti, documenting one of the longest relationships between a publisher and a writer.
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In the Crossfire
Adventures of a Vietnamese Revolutionary
Ngo Van, Helene Fleury, Ken Knabb
In 1936, Ngo Van was captured, imprisoned, and tortured in the dreaded Maison Centrale prison in Saigon for his part in the struggle to free Vietnam from French colonial rule. Five years later, Vietnamese independence was won, and Van found himself...
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How to Be Alone
Essays
Jonathan Franzen
From the National Book Award-winning author of The Corrections, a collection of essays that reveal him to be one of our sharpest, toughest, and most entertaining social critics While the essays in this collection range in subject matter from the...
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Woman with Guitar
Memphis Minnie's Blues
Paul Garon, Beth Garon
A revised, expanded edition of the quintessential portrait of one of the blues' greatest artists and the popular poetry of her lyrics.
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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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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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Criminal of Poverty
Growing Up Homeless in America
Lisa Gray-Garcia, aka Tiny
A daughter’s struggle to keep her family alive, through poverty, homelessness and incarceration.
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Writings For A Democratic Society
The Tom Hayden Reader
Tom Hayden
The best of Tom Hayden's writings from the turbulent 1960s to the Iraq war.
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Furious Cool
Richard Pryor and the World That Made Him
David Henry, Joe Henry
In this loose and lyrical labor of love, brothers David and Joe Henry have brought Richard Pryor back to pulsating life, capturing his spirit and genius and the monumental demons that fueled him. It's billed as a biography but it's really more than that, delving deep enough to make you look at Pryor and his legacy in a whole new light. —Recommended
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Don't Suck, Don't Die
Giving Up Vic Chesnutt
Kristin Hersh
"A longform creative obituary written to one of the great American songwriters of the last 25 years. Kristin Hersh (of Throwing Muses) offers this personal glimpse into her extremely complicated friendship with Chesnutt. Wounded, prophetic, dreamlike, charming, and bloody, just like Vic's music."––Recommended by Chris C., City Lights Publishers
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In Danger
A Pasolini Anthology
Pier Paolo Pasolini, Jack Hirschman
In Danger reveals the literary life of internationally renowned filmmaker Pier Paolo Pasolini
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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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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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