City Light Bookstore

Tuesday, September 14, 2010


During my recent trip to San Francisco I made sure to visit the City Light Bookstore. It was the first all-paperback bookstore in the USA and rose to fame after publishing Allen Ginsberg's controversial "Howl." Yay for visiting famous bookstores!


Next door to City Light Books is the infamous bar, Vesuvio, where Jack Kerouac and other beats used to hang out. My husband indulged me and stopped for a drink there with me after we visited the bookstore.



In the alley, aptly named Jack Kerouac Alley, that runs between the bookstore and the Vesuvio, the pavement is covered with quotes from authors. The above quote is by the poet and co-founder of City Light Books, Lawrence Ferlinghetti.


(Stairs leading to the basement of City Light Books)

I exercised some serious self-control and left with only one book. I chose the new cloth-bound Penguin edition of Treasure Island, because the author, Robert Louis Stevenson, lived just outside of San Fran in Napa Valley for a few years.

Photos by moi.

6 comments:

Coffee and a Book Chick said...

Oh, what a fantastic bookstore! Now this is my kind of vacation -- and you left with only ONE book?? I am impressed!!

Falaise said...

It sounds a really cool place. I'd love to go to the West Coast someday

Alexandra said...

Yay indeed! I'm planning to go to the Persephone bookstore next time I'm in London.

I loved the connection you made with Stevenson. It's something I would do myself :)

Teacher/Learner said...

I admire your frugality! I can't help but leave a bookstore with at least 5 titles under my arm. Sounds like a great find :o)

Captain Nick Sparrow said...

Ooh, I wanna go!

Avid Reader said...

The only reason I was able to keep it to one book was because I knew we would be going to Powell's in Portland a few days later. I needed to leave some room in my suitcase.

Alexandra - I've been dying to go there too! We actually went to the Stevenson museum in St. Helena, CA and it was closed... even though the hours on the door said it should be open. I was pretty bummed.