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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San Francisco Beat
Talking with the Poets
David Meltzer
San Francisco Beat is an essential archive of the Beat Generation, a rich moment in a fortunate place. America-somnolent, conformist, and paranoid in the 1950s-was changed forever by a handful of people who refused an existence of drudgery and...
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Shoot An Iraqi
Art, Life and Resistance Under the Gun
Wafaa Bilal, Kari Lydersen
An award-winning Iraqi artist's life story and the impact of his highly provocative interactive art piece
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Slouching Towards Bethlehem
Essays
Joan Didion
The first nonfiction work by one of the most distinctive prose stylists of our era, Slouching Towards Bethlehem remains, forty years after its first publication, the essential portrait of America— particularly California—in the sixties. It focuses on...
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Stars Seen in Person
Selected Journals
John Wieners, Michael Seth Stewart
Four unpublished journals by a master of the form, one of the greatest American poets of the 20th Century.
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A Supposedly Fun Thing I'll Never Do Again
Essays and Arguments
David Foster Wallace
This exuberantly praised--and uproariously funny--first collection of nonfiction pieces by one of the most acclaimed and adventurous writers of our time--the author of "Infinite Jest"--"reconfirms Mr. Wallace's stature as one of his generation's...
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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 Heyday of Malcolm Margolin
The Damn Good Times of a Fiercely Independent Publisher
Kim Bancroft
Northern California's book publishers are idiosyncratic, uncompromising, funky, forward-thinking, often brilliant, but largely unheralded beyond the state’s borders. Here’s the perfect book to shift that paradigm. Malcolm Margolin’s story of creating and sustaining Heyday Books, a vital Berkeley-based press celebrating its 40th anniversary...
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This Is Water
Some Thoughts, Delivered on a Significant Occasion, about Living a Compassionate Life
David Foster Wallace
Only once did David Foster Wallace give a public talk on his views on life, during a commencement address given in 2005 at Kenyon College. The speech is reprinted for the first time in book form in THIS IS WATER. How does one keep from going through...
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Time Was Soft There
A Paris Sojourn at Shakespeare & Co.
Jeremy Mercer
This is for all travelers of the world. Mercer captures the essence of living and working at the historic bookstore Shakespeare and Co. These tales of laughter and woe will entertain you and make you want to travel—or at least visit Paris and meet the immortal George Whitman, and hope he invites you to tea. —Recommended by Don, City Lights Books
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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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To Protect and Serve Who?
Organizing a Movement to Abolish Police Violence
Mumia Abu-Jamal
Direct from City Lights: An essay-pamphlet by Mumia Abu-Jamal on ending police violence, a companion to the book Writing on the Wall: Selected Prison Writing of Mumia Abu-Jamal
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When the Sick Rule the World
Dodie Bellamy
A moving meld of essay, memoir, and story, When the Sick Rule the World collects Dodie Bellamy's new and recent lyric prose. Taking on topics as eclectic as vomit, Kathy Acker's wardrobe, and Occupy Oakland, Bellamy here examines illness, health, and the body -- both the social body and the individual body -- in essays that glitter with wit.
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Where I Was From
Joan Didion
In her moving and insightful new book, Joan Didion reassesses parts of her life, her work, her history and ours. A native Californian, Didion applies her scalpel-like intelligence to the state’s ethic of ruthless self-sufficiency in order to...
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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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