Read Local: 10 New and Forthcoming Books from City Lights


New York City might be home to the big houses, but this scrappy city just happens to be the epicenter of publishing on the Best Coast. Join Alexis Coe every Wednesday for Read Local, a new series on books produced in the Bay Area.

City Lights is a bookstore like no other, and the 200 titles produced by their eponymous publishing house since 1955 also fill a necessary void in the world of books. Here are 10 new and forthcoming books to get you started, but if you need a little more convincing, head over to City Lights' website, which offers excerpts from the all of the books online.

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Increase your California Cred with these 10 Bay Area Books

10. The Meaning of Freedom

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Angela Davis has devoted her career to this fundamental question of freedom, and its seemingly inherent other, oppression. The need for social change in America is great, but constantly thwarted by institutional injustice. Davis is calling for real democracy, which comes not from any law or proclamation, but by participatory social process.

9. Arguing for Our Lives

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Do you completely trust the sensational, sound-byte driven news and polarized politicians who never seem to say anything at all, unless it is a totally frightening slip? In a time when public discourse is rife with big-money propaganda, we need to work even harder to think and communicate clearly. While Jensen has honed his critical thinking years over two decades in the classroom, this is a jargon-free book that will enable you to, in the here and now, make small, meaningful steps toward a better world.

8. Robert Duncan in San Francisco

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This expanded edition of a local classic is not only a portrait of the S.F. Renaissance poet, but also a glimpse of pre-Stonewall gay life in the late-1950s. Author Michael Rumaker knew Duncan, and he shares the good with the bad, set against legendary North Beach haunts.

7. The Wondrous Mushroom


Author Gordon Wasson triggered the psychedelic revolution, and this reprint of his classic book is an in-depth study of shamanic realities, mushrooms, and traditions that can be traced back to pre-Conquest art, architecture, and culture.

6. The End of San Francisco

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The "infamous radical queer troublemaker, organizer and agitator, community builder, and anti-assimilation commentator" brings you the story of her escape to San Francisco. This is a wonderfully messy mix of memoir, social history, and elegy.

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