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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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
A profound, startling, and beautifully crafted debut novel, The Sympathizer is the story of a man of two minds, someone whose political beliefs clash with his individual loyalties. It is April 1975, and Saigon is in chaos. At his villa, a general of the South Vietnamese army is drinking whiskey and, with the help of his trusted captain...

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The Animals
A Novel
Christian Kiefer
For fans of Denis Johnson and Peter Matthiessen, a literary thriller from one of the most exciting new voices in American fiction. Bill Reed manages a wildlife sanctuary in rural Idaho, caring for injured animals—raptors, a wolf, and his beloved bear, Majer, among them—that are unable to survive in the wild.

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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...

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Ghettoside
A True Story of Murder in America
Jill Leovy
"Ghettoside is fantastic. It does what the best narrative nonfiction does: It transcends its subject by taking one person's journey and making it all our journeys. That's what makes this not just a gritty, heart-wrenching, and telling book, but an important one. From the patrol cop to the president, everyone needs to read this book."

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S O S
Poems 1961-2013
Amiri Baraka
"[S O S is] a signal of blunt urgency . . . this is undeniably the work of the kind of poet we will not see again; Amiri Baraka was one of the last of the 20th century's literary lions. This momentous collection exhibits his abiding resistance to almost everything, but subversiveness." —Terrance Hayes, Publishers Weekly

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Gateway to Freedom
The Hidden History of the Underground Railroad
Eric Foner
The dramatic story of fugitive slaves and the antislavery activists who defied the law to help them reach freedom. More than any other scholar, Eric Foner has influenced our understanding of America's history. Now, making brilliant use of extraordinary evidence, the Pulitzer Prize–winning historian once again reconfigures the national saga...

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This Changes Everything
Naomi Klein
The most important book yet from the author of the international bestseller The Shock Doctrine, a brilliant explanation of why the climate crisis challenges us to abandon the core "free market" ideology of our time, restructure the global economy, and remake our political systems.

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Citizen
An American Lyric
Claudia Rankine
So groundbreaking is Rankine's work that it's almost impossible to describe; suffice it to say that this is a poem that reads like an essay (or the other way around) — a piece of writing that invents a new form for itself, incorporating pictures, slogans, social commentary...

   

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
Due to unprecedented demand, we are temporarily out of stock. Click on the book cover to sign up for an email alert delivered to your inbox when books are available! 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. Book tour stops in Chicago & Minneapolis & Bay Area bookstores! 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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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
NEW! A major new collection from one of the most significant poets of the SF Renaissance.

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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.

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The Penguin's Song
Hassan Daoud
A family in exile from their home in old Beirut contends with claustrophobic conditions, recriminations, and unrealizable dreams of return. Daoud is one of the Arabic world's premier novelists. Translated from the Arabic by Marilyn Booth.