Biography, Memoir, Essays
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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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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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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Red Dirt
Growing Up Okie
Roxanne Dunbar-Ortiz
Now a professor of ethnic studies in California, Roxanne Dunbar-Ortiz turns her eye back to her own roots as a "Dust Bowl Baby" in rural Oklahoma. In telling the story of her family and their hardships in the Depression, Dunbar-Ortiz introduces the...
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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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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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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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Salinger
David Shields, Shane Salerno
Based on eight years of exhaustive research and exclusive interviews with more than 200 people—and published in coordination with the international theatrical release of a major documentary film from the Weinstein Company—Salinger is a global cultural event: the definitive biography of one of the most beloved and mysterious figures of the...
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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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Seeking the Cave
A Pilgrimage to Cold Mountain
James P. Lenfestey
In this transformative book, award-winning poet and essayist James Lenfestey makes an epic journey across the world to find the Cold Mountain Cave, a location long believed to exist only in myths and the ancient home of his idol, Han Shan, author of the Cold Mountain poems. Lenfestey's voyage takes him from the Midwestern United States to...
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The Sense of Style
The Thinking Person's Guide to Writing in the 21st Century
Steven Pinker
Why is so much writing so bad, and how can we make it better? Is the English language being corrupted by texting and social media? Do the kids today even care about good writing? Why should any of us care? In The Sense of Style, the bestselling linguist and cognitive scientist Steven Pinker answers these questions and more.
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Several Short Sentences About Writing
Verlyn Klinkenborg
Several Short Sentences About Writing is a book of first steps and experiments. They will revolutionize the way you think and perceive, and they will change forever the sense of your own authority as a writer.
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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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Speak, Memory
An Autobiography Revisited
Vladimir Nabokov
A rich evocation of Nabokov's life and times, even as it offers incisive insights into his major works, including Lolita, Pnin, Despair, The Gift and others.

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