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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Rad American Women A-Z
Rebels, Trailblazers, and Visionaries Who Shaped Our History . . . and Our Future!
Kate Schatz, Miriam Klein Stahl
New York Times Bestseller! A book for children—and their parents, teachers, and cool grown-up friends—documenting America's famous and unsung heroines.
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Walter Benjamin
The Story of a Friendship
Gershom Scholem
Gershom Scholem is celebrated as the twentieth century's most profound student of the Jewish mystical tradition; Walter Benjamin, as a master thinker whose extraordinary essays mix the revolutionary, the revelatory, and the esoteric. Scholem was a precocious teenager when he met Benjamin, who became his close friend and intellectual mentor.
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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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Essays
Wallace Shawn
"I've written plays and a few screenplays, in each one a person who isn't me speaks, and then another who isn't me replies, and then a third one enters or the first one speaks again. . . . I've even worked as a professional actor, speaking out loud...
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Carol and John Steinbeck
Portrait of a Marriage
Susan Shillinglaw
Carol Henning Steinbeck, writer John Steinbeck's first wife, was his creative anchor, the inspiration for his great work of the 1930s, culminating in The Grapes of Wrath. Meeting at Lake Tahoe in 1928, their attachment was immediate, their personalities meshing in creative synergy. Carol was unconventional, artistic, and compelling.
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King of Shadows
Aaron Shurin
A candid and rich account of gay life as a poet in San Francisco since the 1960s
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I'm Your Man
The Life of Leonard Cohen
Sylvie Simmons
Beautifly written, impossible to put down, and an absolute must for any Cohen fan! Or, for that matter, for any fan of the worlds of travel, religion and poetry, as well as the inner workings of the music industry. Cohen was such an interesting man...
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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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Against Interpretation
And Other Essays
Susan Sontag
As well as the title essay and the famous Notes on Camp, Against Interpretation includes original, provocative, and impassioned discussions on Sartre, Simone Weil, Godard, Beckett, science-fiction movies, psychoanalysis, and contemporary religious...
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Illness as Metaphor and AIDS and Its Metaphors
Susan Sontag
In l978 Susan Sontag wrote Illness as Metaphor, a classic work described by Newsweek as "one of the most liberating books of its time." A cancer patient herself when she was writing the book, Sontag shows how the metaphors and myths surrounding...
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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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How to Grow Up
A Memoir
Michelle Tea
This is the memoir Lena Dunham wishes she wrote. Michelle Tea's adventures and exploits offer readers plenty to be entertained by, including the best description of a so-called "work-life balance" I've ever heard of. The real value of this book, though, is her truly hard-earned wisdom. —Recommended by Stacey, City Lights Publishers
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Stories from El Barrio
Piri Thomas
Piri Thomas, who reached millions of readers with his bestselling autobiography, Down These Mean Streets, now gives readers of all ages a vivid slice of the life in El Barrio—a place where people face their problems with energy, ingenuity and love.
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A Man Without a Country
Kurt Vonnegut
In a volume that is penetrating, introspective, incisive, and laugh-out-loud funny, one of the great men of letters of this age–or any age–holds forth on life, art, sex, politics, and the state of America’s soul. From his coming of age in America, to...

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