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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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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The Immortal Life of Henrietta Lacks
Rebecca Skloot
Her name was Henrietta Lacks, but scientists know her as HeLa. She was a poor Southern tobacco farmer who worked the same land as her slave ancestors, yet her cells—taken without her knowledge—became one of the most important tools in medicine. The...
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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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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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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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Conquest of the Useless
Reflections from the Making of Fitzcarraldo
Werner Herzog
Werner Herzog is one of our most revered contemporary filmmakers, a visionary director who ceaselessly tests the boundaries of art. Fitzcarraldo, his lavish 1982 film about a would-be rubber baron who pulls a steamship over a hill to access a rich...
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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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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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The Possessed
Adventures with Russian Books and the People Who Read Them
Elif Batuman
Batuman is a natural storyteller. Her love of literature is delightfully infectious. Using the Russian greats as inspiration for research and travel, her exploits reveal a writer who is at once keenly observant, erudite, sensitive and truly hilarious.
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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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