City Lights Books of San Francisco

City Lights is a landmark independent bookstore and publisher that specializes in world literature, the arts, and progressive politics.

Founded in 1953 by poet Lawrence Ferlinghetti and Peter D. Martin, City Lights is one of the truly great independent bookstores in the United States, a place where booklovers from across the country and around the world come to browse, read, and just soak in the ambiance of alternative culture's only "Literary Landmark."... Read more>>


 

New at City Lights Bookstore


 

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Madness in Civilization
A Cultural History of Insanity from the Bible to Freud from the Madhouse to Modern Medicine
Andrew Scull
The loss of reason, a sense of alienation from the commonsense world we all like to imagine we inhabit, the shattering emotional turmoil that seizes hold and won't let go—these are some of the traits we associate with madness. Today, mental disturbance is most commonly viewed through a medical lens, but societies have also sought to make...

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Counternarratives
Stories and Novellas
John Keene
Conjuring slavery and witchcraft, and with bewitching powers all its own, Counternarratives continually spins history―and storytelling―on its head Ranging from the 17th century to our current moment, and crossing multiple continents, Counternarratives' stories and novellas draw upon memoirs, newspaper accounts, detective stories...

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Broadcast Hysteria
Orson Welles's War of the Worlds and the Art of Fake News
A. Brad Schwartz
On the evening of October 30, 1938, radio listeners across the United States heard a startling report of a meteor strike in the New Jersey countryside. With sirens blaring in the background, announcers in the field described mysterious creatures, terrifying war machines, and thick clouds of poison gas moving toward New York City.

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Destruction Was My Beatrice
Dada and the Unmaking of the Twentieth Century
Jed Rasula
In 1916, as World War I raged around them, a group of bohemians gathered at a small cabaret in Zurich, Switzerland. After decorating the walls with art by Picasso and other avant-garde artists, they embarked on a series of extravagant performances.

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The Argonauts
Maggie Nelson
An intrepid voyage out to the frontiers of the latest thinking about love, language, and family. Maggie Nelson's The Argonauts is a genre-bending memoir, a work of "autotheory" offering fresh, fierce, and timely thinking about desire, identity, and the limitations and possibilities of love and language. At its center is a romance: the story of...

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Lion Songs
Thomas Mapfumo and the Music That Made Zimbabwe
Banning Eyre
Like Fela Kuti and Bob Marley, singer, composer and bandleader Thomas Mapfumo and his music came to represent his native country's anti-colonial struggle and Like Fela Kuti and Bob Marley, singer, composer, and bandleader Thomas Mapfumo and his music came to represent his native country's anti-colonial struggle and cultural identity.

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My Struggle Book 4
Karl Ove Knausgaard
With each volume of My Struggle that is published in English, Knausgaard emerges more clearly, in all his human ambiguity. Volume Four presents a portrait of the artist as a young man, marinated in alcohol and sexual failure. It is awkward, painful, occasionally shocking and often very funny, particularly if you have ever been (or known) a teen...

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Dreamland
The True Tale of America's Opiate Epidemic
Sam Quinones
Two horrifying tales of unintended consequences, brilliantly interwoven by a master of narrative nonfiction. Powerful and important. —Recommended by Jeff, City Lights Books

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What About This
Collected Poems of Frank Stanford
Frank Stanford
This book couldn't have reached me soon enough. Many of us devoted Frank Stanford fans have been waiting for this book for many, many years. It is comprised of both published and unpublished poems, and for the exception of a few reissued books, I would say that 75% of these poems have been practically impossible to get a hold of.

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The Half Has Never Been Told
Slavery and the Making of American Capitalism
Edward E. Baptist
Americans tend to cast slavery as a pre-modern institution—the nation's original sin, perhaps, but isolated in time and divorced from America’s later success. But to do so robs the millions who suffered in bondage of their full legacy. As historian Edward Baptist reveals in The Half Has Never Been Told, the expansion of slavery in...

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The Sympathizer
A Novel
Viet Thanh Nguyen
Cracks the veneer. —Recommended by Tân, City Lights Books. Also recommended by Peter & Paul, City Lights Books

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Ongoingness
The End of a Diary
Sarah Manguso
A strange thing happened when I finished this book: I realized I could not really remember what words had been said, but instead the deep sensations I felt while reading. This is a hypnotic exploration of time and memory that evokes much but prescribes little (and that's a good thing). —Recommended by Vanessa, City Lights Books

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The Sellout
A Novel
Paul Beatty
A biting satire about a young man's isolated upbringing and the race trial that sends him to the Supreme Court, Paul Beatty's The Sellout showcases a comic genius at the top of his game. It challenges the sacred tenets of the United States Constitution, urban life, the civil rights movement, the father-son relationship...

   

New and Forthcoming from City Lights Publishers

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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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Beautiful Chaos
A Life in the Theater
Carey Perloff
NOW Available: Carey Perloff, Artistic Director of San Francisco's A.C.T., offers a provocative, passionate, and deeply personal view of theater's role today.Carey will be in NYC on Thursday, June 25th 6pm at the Drama Bookshop! Go to the book's page for more info.

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City Lights Pocket Poets Anthology
60th Anniversary Edition
Lawrence Ferlinghetti
Forthcoming! A comprehensive selection from Ferlinghetti's famed City Lights Pocket Poets Series, published on the 60th anniversary of its founding.

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I Greet You at the Beginning of a Great Career
The Selected Correspondence of Lawrence Ferlinghetti and Allen Ginsberg, 1955-1997
Bill Morgan
Forthcoming: Marking the 60th anniversary of City Lights Publishers, we present the intimate correspondence of Ginsberg & Ferlinghetti, documenting one of the longest relationships between a publisher and a writer.

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The Gunman
A Novel
Jean-Patrick Manchette
Now Available!: A gripping noir masterpiece and "New York Times" notable book in a movie-tie edition.

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Writing on the Wall
Selected Prison Writings of Mumia Abu-Jamal
Mumia Abu-Jamal, Johanna Fernández
Coming Soon: Mumia Abu-Jamal's essential perspectives on black experience, race relations, freedom, justice, social change, and the future of American society. With a foreword by Cornel West.

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Two-Way Mirror
A Poetry Notebook
David Meltzer
Hot off the press!A classic book of poetics by a major Beat Generation poet, published in a beautiful casebound gift edition. "One of the great post-World War II San Francisco poets and musicians."–Lawrence Ferlinghetti

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On Time
Poems 2005 - 2014
Joanne Kyger
On Time contains poem that speak like smoke rings drifting through a Bolinas afternoon. I can say with certainty that she is one of best poets writing in English today, and we are lucky to be alive to read her thought-nerves doing what they do best in a mundane and profound and ever-changing world. —Recommended by Jackson, City Lights Books

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In Search of the Movement
The Struggle for Civil Rights Then and Now
Benjamin Hedin
Available Now: Published on the 50th anniversary of the Selma-to-Montgomery, Alabama marches, Ben Hedin analyzes the legacy of the Civil Rights movement, and illuminates the work that continues to be done today.

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Women in Public
City Lights Spotlight No. 13
Elaine Kahn
City Lights Spotlight No. 13: Women in Public dismantles and reassembles the humor, absurdity, and often terror that inform our interactions with gender, sexuality, and amorous consumption.

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Lit Up Inside
Selected Lyrics
Van Morrison
It's here!! Van Morrison selects his best and most iconic lyrics, spanning 50 years of writing and representing his entire creative journey. Gorgeous hardcover edition now available.