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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Miles
The Autobiography
Miles Davis
For more than forty years Miles Davis has been in the front rank of American music. Universally acclaimed as a musical genius, Miles is one of the most important and influential musicians in the world. The subject of several biographies, now Miles speaks out himself about his extraordinary life.
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How to Live
Or A Life of Montaigne in One Question and Twenty Attempts at an Answer
Sarah Bakewell
How to get along with people, how to deal with violence, how to adjust to losing someone you love—such questions arise in most people’s lives. They are all versions of a bigger question: How do you live? This question obsessed Renaissance writers...
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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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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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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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The Bomb
Howard Zinn
Howard Zinn's personal, historical, and political views on the significance of the U.S. bombings of Royan and Hiroshima
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Farm City
The Education of an Urban Farmer
Novella Carpenter
An hilarious and inspiring account of one woman's attempt to feed herself entirely off of what could be grown on an abandoned lot in West Oakland—including turkeys, rabbits, and one Chez Panisse gobbling pig. —Recommended by Ivy, City Lights Books
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Absence of the Hero
Uncollected Stories and Essays, Vol. 2: 1946-1992
Charles Bukowski, David Stephen Calonne
Everyone's favorite Dirty Old Man returns with more boozy tales of extraordinary madness
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Narrative of the Life of Frederick Douglass, an American Slave, Written by Himself
A New Critical Edition by Angela Y. Davis
Frederick Douglass, Angela Y. Davis
A new edition of the African American masterpiece featuring critical essays by Angela Y. Davis
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The White Album
Essays
Joan Didion
First published in 1979, The White Album records indelibly the upheavals and aftermaths of the 1960s. Examining key events, figures, and trends of the era—including Charles Manson, the Black Panthers, and the shopping mall—through the lens of her own...
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The Awakener
A Memoir of Kerouac and the Fifties
Helen Weaver
Helen Weaver's intimate memoir of love and friendship with Jack Kerouac and the Beats
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Facing Unpleasant Facts
George Orwell
George Orwell was first and foremost an essayist, producing throughout his life an extraordinary array of short nonfiction that reflected--and illuminated--the fraught times in which he lived. "As soon as he began to write something," comments George...
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To Die for the People
Huey Newton, Toni Morrison
A fascinating, first-person account of a historic era in the struggle for black empowerment in America

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