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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Missing Men
A Memoir
Joyce Johnson
Joyce Johnson’s classic memoir of growing up female in the 1950s, Minor Characters, was one of the initiators of an important new genre: the personal story of a minor player on history’s stage.
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The Wild Parrots of Telegraph Hill
A Love Story . . . with Wings
Mark Bittner
Like a lot of young people in the 1970s, Mark Bittner took the path of the “dharma bum.” When the counterculture faded, Mark held on, seeking shelter in the nooks and crannies of San Francisco’s fabled bohemian neighborhood, North...
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The Astonished Man
Blaise Cendrars, Nina Rootes
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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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Indigenous
Growing up Californian
Cris Mazza
Cris Mazza delivers a spirited rebuttal to pop-culture stereotypes about growing up female in Southern California. Coming of age in the 1970s and '80s, Mazza's memories aren't about surfing, cheerleading or riding in convertibles. Though her story...
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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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The Continual Pilgrimage
American Writers in Paris, 1944-1960
Christopher Sawyer-Laucanno
Between 1944 and 1960, a second wave of expatriate American writers took up residence in Paris, some seeking the exiting ambiance of art and the bohemian life that Paris has offered earlier generations, some escaping from racist and materialistic...
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The Fire Next Time
James Baldwin
If you can honestly say that a book has never changed your life, then you haven't read The Fire Next Time. Said to have helped "galvanize" the Civil Rights movement, this powerful book beautifully, honestly, and, at times, heart-breakingly confronts the issue of race and racism in this country. Required reading for anyone interested in literature
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Working Days
The Journals of The Grapes of Wrath
John Steinbeck
The journal John Steinback kept between June and October of 1938 when he wrote The Grapes of Wrath. It is a tale of determination and inspiration; it also chronicles his self-doubt and personal difficulties. With a fascinating cast of characters...
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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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Angela Davis
An Autobiography
Angela Y. Davis
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Something Like An Autobiography
Akira Kurosawa
Translated by Audie E. Bock. "A first rate book and a joy to read.... It's doubtful that a complete understanding of the director's artistry can be obtained without reading this book.... Also indispensable for budding directors are the addenda, in...
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The Oblivion Seekers
Isabelle Eberhardt
Isabelle Eberhardt was an unusual woman, and we're fortunate to glimpse her unique meld of European angst and Algerian verve. We're equally lucky for Paul Bowles's sympathetic, robust biography that precedes Eberhardt's 13 short stories. Born in...
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Living My Life
Volume 1
Emma Goldman
The no-holds-barred account by American anarchist Goldman relates her philosophical and political journey through life. Explore the politicization of the young Russian immigrant as she arrives in the United States in 1886...

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