Events at City Lights Bookstore, September 2015

Our Fall event season at City Lights Bookstore kicks off this September. As always, there is a mixture of fiction and poetry, noir and nonfiction, local authors and visitors on their nationwide book tour.

This month we have a John Wieners tribute, a discussion of the work of Lucia Berlin, a noir classic by Leonard Gardner, and an exploration through the erotic world of World War II-era Paris.

Each and every event is held at City Lights Bookstore, 261 Columbus Ave. (at Broadway), San Francisco, CA, 94133 at 7PM, unless otherwise noted.

Tuesday, September 8

87286100921670LStars Seen in Person: A Tribute to John Wieners”

A tribute to John Wieners with Garrett Caples, Michael Seth StewartMicah Ballard, Cedar Sigo, Duncan McNaughton, Bill Berkson, and friends celebrating the release of Stars Seen in Person: Selected Journals by John Wieners published by City Lights and Supplication: Selected Poetry of John Wieners, published by Wave Books.

John Wieners was on the periphery of many of the twentieth century’s most important avant-garde poetry scenes, from Black Mountain and the Boston Renaissance to the New York School and the SF Renaissance. Both of these new books of John Wieners–the journals all previously unpublished and the poetry selected from his entire career–display one of the most influential American poets of the 20th century.

“At long last we have the magnificent John Wieners here before us, in his full undressed splendor: poet, stargazer, philosopher, shaman, flâneur, survivor.”–Wayne Koestenbaum

Wednesday, September 9

71LUIyxNNULCity Lights Booksellers in conjunction with the Book Club of California present:

“Best Kept Secrets: The Fiction of Lucia Berlin”

Celebrating the release of A Manual for Cleaning Women: Selected Stories, a compilation of Lucia Berlin‘s legendary short-stories with her trademark blend of humor and melancholy, Berlin crafts miracles from the everyday–uncovering moments of grace in the cafeterias and laundromats of the American Southwest, in the homes of the Northern California upper class, and from the perspective of a cleaning woman alone in a hotel dining room in Mexico City.

Opening statement by Stephen Emerson, with readings by Gloria Frym, Barry Gifford, August Kleinzahler, Jim Nisbet, and Michael Wolfe.

Thursday, September 10


“Subterranean SF Reading Series Presents Vu Tran’s Dragonfish **

From the book published by W.W Norton, an evening of haunting and adrenaline fueled storytelling.

Robert, an Oakland cop, still can’t let go of Suzy, the enigmatic Vietnamese wife who left him two years ago. Now she’s disappeared from her new husband, Sonny, a violent Vietnamese smuggler and gambler who’s blackmailing Robert into finding her for him. As he pursues her through the sleek and seamy gambling dens of Las Vegas, shadowed by Sonny’s sadistic son, “Junior,” and assisted by unexpected and reluctant allies, Robert learns more about his ex-wife than he ever did during their marriage. 

**This event will take place at an undisclosed location. Admission is free, but only on a first come, first serve basis. Invitations become available on Monday, August 31.

“Vu Tran’s spellbinding debut novel had me turning pages late into the night. I was drawn in partly by the book’s utterly engrossing plot, partly by its vivid portrayal of a pitiless and dangerous Las Vegas, but mostly by its lovingly interwoven themes of loss, longing, renewal, and cultural memory.”—Tim O’Brien

Tuesday, September 15

detail_713_everyone_has_their_reasonsJoseph Matthews reads from his new novel Everyone Has Their Reasons  (PM Press).

Based on the historical record and told through his “letters” from German prisons, the novel begins in 1936, when fifteen-year-old Herschel flees Germany. Penniless and alone, he makes it to Paris where he lives hand-to-mouth, his shadow existence mixing him with the starving and the wealthy, with hustlers, radicals, and seamy sides of Paris nightlife.

“A tragic, gripping Orwellian tale of an orphan turned assassin in pre-World War II Paris … Not to be missed!”–Terry Bisson

Wednesday, September 16

ayize-jama-everett-2-e1361237550330Ayize Jama-Everett celebrates the release of his two new books: The Entropy of Bones The Liminal War (Small Beer Press).

Entropy of Bones is a Liminal People novel. A young martial artist finds there is more to the world than she can kick, more than she can see. Chabi doesn’t realize her martial arts master may not be on the side of the gods. She does know he’s changed her from being an almost invisible kid to one that anyone — or at least anyone smart — should pay attention to.

The Liminal War is a propulsive novel that starts with a kidnapping in London and takes off running. Taggert is a man with a questionable past and the ability to hurt or heal with his thoughts alone. When his adopted daughter goes missing, he immediately suspects the hand of an old enemy. 

Thursday, September 17, 12PMphoto smllr

Karen Finley signs copies of her book Shock Treatment: 25th Anniversary Edition at City Lights at a special time of 12PM!

Karen Finley, performance artist and author of Shock Treatment is at City Lights at noon signing the 25th Anniversary reissue of a City Lights classic.

“I believe Karen Finley’s un-careful rage was threatening because it is filled with grief, humor, and a profound passion for this life. Rereading it, I feel refreshed, as if I’ve been self-policing for years by tolerating boring, stupid things and now I’m free again. Thank you, Karen.”—Miranda July, author of The First Bad Man

Fat_City_2048x2048Thursday, September 17

“Leonard Gardner in Conversation with Eddie Muller”

Celebrating the re-release of the noir classic Fat City by Leonard Gardner published by NYRB Books.

Fat City is a vivid novel of allegiance and defeat, of the potent promise of the good life and the desperation and drink that waylay those whom it eludes. When two men meet in the ring—the retired boxer Billy Tully and the newcomer Ernie Munger—their brief bout sets into motion their hidden fates.

‘The stories of Ernie Munger, a young fighter with frail but nevertheless burning hopes, and Billy Tully, an older pug with bad luck in and out of the ring, parallel one another through the book. Though the two men hardly meet, the tale blends the perspective on them until they seem to chart a single life of missteps and baffled love, Ernie its youth and Tully its future. I wanted to write a book like that.”—Denis Johnson

Tuesday, September 22

Mission HighKristina Rizga discusses her new book, Mission High: One School, How Experts Tried to Fail It, and the Students and Teachers Who Made It Triumph from Nation Books.

Based on four years of reporting with unprecedented access, the unforgettable, intimate stories in these pages throw open the doors to America’s most talked about—and arguably least understood—public school classrooms where the largely invisible voices of our smart, resilient students and their committed educators can offer a clear and hopeful blueprint for what it takes to help all students succeed.

“This book is a godsend.”–Dave Eggers

Wednesday, September 23


City Lights in conjunction with Radio Silence Magazine present:

Benjamin Hedin discussing his new book In Search of the Movement: The Struggle for Civil Rights Then and Now  published by City Lights.

In Search of the Movement is a fascinating meditation on the patterns of history, as well as an indelible look at the meaning and limits of American freedom.

“Beloved community and the exuberant humanism of the Civil Rights movement have never been so vividly rendered. Carry this book with you as a guide through our own anxious age. Beautifully written, sharply observed, whimsical and tender, In Search of the Movement is a road trip into America’s better self.”Charles Marsh, author of God’s Long Summer: Stories of Faith and Civil Rights

Thursday, September 24

Mel'sBookAn evening of carnivalesque burlesque, celebrating Mel Gordon’s release of  Horizontal Collaboration: The Erotic World of Paris, 1920-1946, from Feral House Press.**

Mel Gordon, author of Voluptuous Panic, the celebrated history about the sex culture of Weimar Berlin, returns with a stunningly illustrated look at Paris, the City of Pleasure, prior to and during German occupation during World War II.

**This is a ticketed event. Admission is free. Invitations become available at the front counter at City Lights Bookstore on 9/8/2015. 

For more events this fall at City Lights Bookstore, go here to check out the full calendar.

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