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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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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The Last Holiday
A Memoir
Gil Scott-Heron
The stunning memoir of Grammy Lifetime Achievement Award winner Gil Scott-Heron, The Last Holiday has been praised for bringing back to life one of the most important voices of the last fifty years. Now in paperback, The Last Holiday provides...
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In the House of the Interpreter
A Memoir
Ngugi Wa'Thiong'O
Ngugi wa Thiong'o is a writer who has lived through extraordinary times. In the House of the Interpreter tells the story of his schooldays in Kenya against the backdrop of the intensification of the struggle for independence.
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Read This!
Handpicked Favorites from America's Indie Bookstores
Hans Weyandt
"There is no greater joy for a bookseller than introducing a reader to a book they will love for the rest of their lives. Those of us in this business are, after all, matchmakers at heart. So consider this little book you now hold in your hands a sort...
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Just Kids
Unabridged Audiobook
Patti Smith
Patti Smith reads her award-winning memoir
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It Chooses You
Miranda July
July is an incredible artist. She's also a film director, actress and screenwriter (Me and You and Everyone We Know) and this book chronicles her strange yet endlessly intriguing creative process. She finds herself with writer's block during...
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I Must Resist
Bayard Rustin's Life in Letters
Bayard Rustin, Julian Bond, 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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Blue Nights
Joan Didion
From one of our most powerful writers, a work of stunning frankness about losing a daughter. Richly textured with bits of her own childhood and married life with her husband, John Gregory Dunne, and daughter, Quintana Roo, this new book by Joan...
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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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Sad Stories of the Death of Kings
Barry Gifford
A vivid and unflinching portrait of a fatherless adolescent boy coming of age within the violent humanity of 1960s Chicago...
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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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