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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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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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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Nan Dòmi
An Initiate's Journey into Haitian Vodou
Mimerose Beaubrun
The first and only insider's account of Vodou's private, mystical, interior practice, a compelling story of initiation and transformation.
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Yokohama Threeway
And Other Small Shames
Beth Lisick
"Beth Lisick's kaleidoscopic whirlwind tour through her secret shames is the ultimate joyride for those of us who enjoy cringe-worthy embarrassment, genuine pathos, and an overdosing amount of schadenfreude."—Michael Ian Black
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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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Robert Duncan in San Francisco
Michael Rumaker
A revealing portrait of a major poet of the SF Renaissance and a gripping account of late '50s gay life.
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I Must Resist
Bayard Rustin's Life in Letters
Bayard Rustin, Michael G Long
BAYARD RUSTIN POSTHUMOUSLY AWARDED THE 2013 PRESIDENTIAL MEDAL OF FREEDOM Bayard Rustin's life story told in his own words through his intimate correspondence, published on the centennial of his birth.
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House of Prayer No. 2
A Writer's Journey Home
Mark Richard
Based on its subject matter and jacket copy, this might have been an inspirational memoir. But in Mark Richard's hands, the story of his own life is weird and unsettling and haunting and very much like an ocean hiding outlandish fauna somewhere beneath...
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Roman Letters
Evan Calder Williams
As a whole, this book casts a pessimistic glare toward late capitalism, each letter finding a theme or subject through which we can visualize the absurdity of our own surroundings. Yet beneath this pessimism exists a poetic razor which cuts through...
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Not Dead Yet
A Feisty Bohemian Explores the Art of Growing Old
Herb Gold
An NPR Book of the Year, “worth, oh well, its weight in gold. . . . vivid and eloquent.”—The New York Times Book ReviewAn upbeat memoir to savor and admire, Still Alive! proves that in your later years you can still be going strong . . . and having...
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Ten Years That Shook the City
San Francisco 1968-1978
Chris Carlsson
The alliances, programs, and goals of a historic decade that continues to shape SF and the world.
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Role Models
John Waters
Here, from the incomparable John Waters, is a paean to the power of subversive inspiration that will delight, amuse, enrich—and happily horrify—readers everywhere. Role Models is, in fact, a self-portrait told through intimate profiles of favorite...
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White Hand Society
The Psychedelic Partnership of Timothy Leary & Allen Ginsberg
Peter Conners
How Allen Ginsberg and Timothy Leary launched the psychedelic revolution together: the inside story.
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Just Kids
Patti Smith
Just Kids illuminates the impressive lover of literature that Patti Smith is. Her memoir will be of particular interest to City Lights enthusiasts as she is our quintessential reader, a fan of the Surrealists...

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