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‘The quintessential California bookseller behind City Lights gets his moment’

A profile of Paul Yamazaki, City Lights’ beloved book buyer and recipient of the National Book Foundation’s Literarian Award. Los Angeles Times

For Oppenheimer, Bay Area was the spark’

A look at Robert Oppenheimer’s deep roots in the Bay Area, where he carried out his revolutionary research—and where his social conscience was awakened. Zyzzyva   

The Epic Nature of Our Own Stories’

A conversation with Héctor Tobar, author of Our Migrant Souls: A Meditation on Race and the Meanings and Myths of “Latino.” Zyzzyva

Immigrant Tale 

A conversation with Kathryn Ma, author of the novel The Chinese Groove. Zyzzyva 

Literary Journeys 

The introduction to a compendium of dozens of treasured books from around the world. Published by Britain’s Elwin Street Productions, the book has also been translated into Spanish and German. 

Life and Limb 

A review of Damnation Spring, Ash Davidson’s debut novel about a logging community in Northern California. Cover of The New York Times Book Review

Remembering Kenneth Baker

A personal tribute to the art critic.

Lawrence Ferlinghetti, 1919-2021

An appreciation of the co-founder of City Lights in San Francisco.


An interview with John Brandon, author of the novel Ivory Shoals, set in post-Civil War Florida. McSweeney’s

Thinking About Place When Thinking About Tech

A conversation with Xiaowei Wang, author of Blockchain Chicken Farm: And Other Stories of Tech in Chinas CountrysideZyzzyva

Lest We Forget the Horrors’

A catalog of Donald Trump’s misdeeds. McSweeney’s   

Herald Tribune days

A personal essay on working at the late newspaper.

Early memories of early music

A personal essay on the joys of the shawm, a reed wind instrument.

Michael McClure, the poet whose roar helped launch the 60s, dies at 87

An obituary on the countercultural figure. Los Angeles Times

Lois Lowry’s Ode to the Fallen in World War II

A review of Lowrys latest book, On the Horizon. The New York Times

My father’s New Hampshire 

A personal essay on his home state. 

The Patterns of History

A conversation with novelist Margaret Wilkerson Sexton. Zyzzyva

Keeping the Story of D-Day Alive

A review of Allies, a novel for young readers by Alan Gratz. The New York Times

The Return of Olive Kitteridge, the Tart, Crotchety, Beloved Curmudgeon 

A review of Olive, Again, by Elizabeth Strout. The New York Times

Notre-Dame: Our Lady, My Lady

A personal essay on memories of the cathedral.

Deep River

A review of Karl Marlantes’ new novel. Alta

Finding My Mother in the Pages of Her Favorite Cookbook

An essay about a marked-up copy of Mastering the Art of French Cooking as a repository of memories. Literary Hub


Books That Expand the Possibilities of Boyhood

A review of new titles by David Macaulay, Marc Aronson, Pierre-Jacques Ober and Kate T. Parker. The New York Times


Writing in the San Francisco Chronicle:

Mixing drinks, books and music

A profile of North Light, an Oakland bar with a twist.

Michelle Obama goes back to her nonprofit roots

During her book tour, Obama pays a visit to a San Jose community center.

Writing The Library Book

A podcast interview with Susan Orlean.

Star wars

A podcast interview with Neil deGrasse Tyson, author of Accessory to War: The Unspoken Alliance Between Astrophysics and the Military.

Eric Idle on his new memoir, Robin Williams and why Trump isn’t funny

An interview with the author of Always Look on the Bright Side of Life: A Sortabiography.

Life with—and without—Steve Jobs

A review of Small Fry, a memoir by Lisa Brennan-Jobs.

Harvey Milk: His Lives and Death

A review of a biography by Lillian Faderman.

Tom Wolfe, pioneering journalist and novelist, dies at 88

The influential writer laid the foundation for so-called New Journalism and wrote the best-sellers The Right Stuff and The Bonfire of the Vanities.

‘Hi, this is Oprah’

An interview with Tayari Jones, whose novel An American Marriage was Oprah Winfrey’s 2018 book club selection.

Ferlinghetti speaks out at 99, his voice as vital as ever

A podcast interview with the co-founder of City Lights.

Contested terrain

An interview with Francisco Cantú, a former Border Patrol agent and author of a memoir, The Line Becomes a River.

Fire and Fury: Inside the Trump White House

A review of Michael Wolffs best-seller.


Jane Juska, author who chronicled search for sex late in life, dies at 84

Juska wrote the funny and frank best-selling memoir A Round-Heeled Woman: My Late-Life Adventures in Sex and Romance.

Neil deGrasse Tyson opens up on the universe, and more

An interview with the author of Astrophysics in a Hurry.

Joanne Kyger, trailblazing Beat poet, dies at 82

Kyger was a leading poet of the San Francisco Renaissance and a rare female voice of the male-dominated Beat generation.

Hitler, by Volker Ullrich, and Blitzed, by Norman Ohler

A review of two books about Hitler.

The Best We Could Do

A review of a graphic novel by Thi Bui.

Bharati Mukherjee, chronicler of Indian American life, dies at 76

Mukherjees many works examined the Indian American immigrant experience.

Farewell to the reader in chief

An essay on President Obama, who views the world in shades of gray—a quality enhanced by a lifetime of reading.

Point Reyes Books names new owners

The small but vibrant Marin County bookstore turns a page.

Dylan becomes first songwriter to win Nobel in literature

A look at the first American to be awarded the prize since Toni Morrison won it in 1993.

Late to the Ball

An interview with former New York Times Magazine editor Gerald Marzorati, who decided at age 54 to devote himself to becoming a competitive tennis player.

William Hamilton, New Yorker cartoonist who satirized high society, dies

The cartoonist was known for his wry depictions of the upper crust.

Readers unite! And raise a glass. It’s the Silent Reading Party

Daniel Handler and Dan Stone found a monthly event whose proceeds help Bay Area libraries.

Groucho Marx: The Comedy of Existence

A review of a biography by Lee Siegel.

Killing and Dying

A review of a graphic novel by Adrian Tomine.

Jimmy Carter on his new book, race and Willie Nelson’s love of pot

An interview with the former president, whose latest book is A Full Life: Reflections at Ninety.

French connection

Two bookstores with Bay Area roots help literary life thrive in Paris.


A review of Pamela Newkirks biography of Ota Benga, who was kidnapped in the Congo and displayed in a cage at the Bronx Zoo.

The Sellout

A review of Paul Beattys satirical novel on race.

Philip Levine, bard of blue-collar America, dies at 87

The former U.S. poet laureates poems dignified working-class life.

Novelist Robert Stone dies at age 77

Stones globe-spanning, often socially charged novels delved into his characters’ despair with bleak humor.

John Waters on the road

An interview with the film director and author of Carsick.

Another Great Day at Sea, by Geoff Dyer

A review of Dyers book about his time on the USS George H.W. Bush.

Popcorn or no popcorn?

An interview with David Thomson, author of the New Biographical Dictionary of Film.

All aboard

A review of Tom ZoellnerTrain: Riding the Rails That Created the Modern WorldFrom the Trans-Siberian to the Southwest Chief.

Famous Writers I Have Known

A review of James Magnusons comic novel.

Literary map of the Bay Area

An interactive map that features hundreds of booksellers, authors, and literary landmark and passages.

Pink Sari Revolution

A review of Amana Fontanella-Khans book on women and power in India.

Ninety Percent of Everything

A review of a book by Rose George that explores the little-known world of shipping.

Al Gore on the future

An interview with the former vice president, author of The Future: Six Drivers of Global Change.

Andrew McCarthy at home and abroad

An interview with the author of The Longest Way Home: One Man’s Quest for the Courage to Settle Down.

Making Babies

A review of Anne Enright’s essay collection.

Whatever It Is, I Don't Like It

A review of an anthology by Howard Jacobson.

The Beauty and the Sorrow, by Peter Englund

A review of anintimate history of World War I.

Back to nature

An interview with T.C. Boyle about his novel When the Killing's Done.

Penn Jillette on the joys of atheism

An interview with the author of God, No! Signs You May Already Be An Atheist and Other Magical Tales.

Radioactive: Marie and Pierre Curie: A Tale of Love and Fallout

A review of Lauren Redniss’ mix of drawings, photo-collages and text.

Cleopatra reconsidered

An interview with biographer Stacy Schiff.

Infinite City

A review of Rebecca Solnit’s San Francisco Atlas.


A review of Keith Richards’ memoir.

Golden Gate

A review of Kevin Starr’s history of the bridge.

War stories

An interview with Tim O’Brien, author of The Things They Carried.

Robert Stone keeps it short

An interview with Stone, author of the story collection Fun With Problems.

Running the Books

A review of Avi Steinbergs memoir of his time as a prison librarian.

Big cat

A review of John Vaillants The Tiger: A True Story of Vengeance and Survival.

Baby, We Were Meant for Each Other

A review of Scott Simon’s memoir on adoption.

The Last Hero

A review of Howard Bryant’s biography of Henry Aaron.

Agassi's next chapter

An interview with the tennis great and author of the memoir Open.

New York story

An interview with Richard Price, author of the novel Lush Life.

A thin read

An essay on the Amazon Kindle.

On the road again

An interview with travel writer William Least Heat Moon.

Capturing the Tenderloin

An interview with documentary filmmaker Rob Nilsson about his series of films on the troubled San Francisco neighborhood.

Everything's rosy for Marion Cotillard

An interview with the actor about her role as Edith Piaf in La Vie en Rose.

Love sick

An interview with Javier Bardem, star of Love in the Time of Cholera. 

A Skin Too Few

A look at a documentary about the musician Nick Drake.

The brutal world of Bruno Dumont

An interview with the director about his film Flanders.

After The Wire

An interview with actor Idris Elba.

On a Clear Day

An interview with actor Peter Mullan.

Herzog's new frontier

An interview with Werner Herzog about his film The Wild Blue Yonder.

Eyeing an ugly America

An interview with Lars von Trier, director of Manderlay.

Making headway in a man's world

An interview with Cristina Comencini, director of the Oscar-nominated film Don't Tell.

Call her Kitten

An interview with Cillian Murphy about his role in Breakfast on Pluto.

"The bitter present"

An interview with director Marco Tullio Giordana about his film Once You're Born You Can No Longer Hide.

Beyond Amélie

An interview with director Jean-Pierre Jeunet.

Powell's passion

An interview with film editor Thelma Schoonmaker about her late husband, director Michael Powell.

Behind the camera

An interview with Liev Schreiber about Everything Is Illuminated, which he directed.

San Francisco's sidewalk astronomer

A profile of John Dobson, a former monk who revolutionized amateur astronomy with his Dobsonian telescope.

Sykes tells it like it is

An interview with Wanda Sykes about football and her favorite words.

Kiss Me Like a Stranger

An interview with Gene Wilder about his memoir.

Exploring new territory

An interview with Hal Hartley about his film The Girl from Monday.

Child's play

An interview with Danny Boyle about his film Millions.

The King of the B's

A feature on the B-movie director Edgar G. Ulmer.

Lost at sea

An interview with actor Budd Cort about his role in The Life Aquatic With Steve Zissou.

Existential comedy

An interview with director David O. Russell about his film I Heart Huckabees.

Everyman as conman 

An interview with actor John C. Reilly about his role in Criminal.

Rebels without a clue

An interview with Robert Stone, director of the documentary Guerrilla: The Taking of Patty Hearst. 

One Day at Fenway

A review of a book by Steve Kettmann about a Red Sox-Yankees game.

Spotlight on shady politics

An interview with John Sayles, director of Silver City.

The Queen Rules

An interview with Marilyn Yalom about her book Birth of the Chess Queen: A History.

And the band played on ... thanks to therapy

Interviews with musician Lars Ulrich and filmmaker Bruce Sinofsky about the documentary Metallica: Some Kind of Monster.

The perfect revenge

An interview with filmmaker Jorgen Leth, the subject of Lars von Trier's documentary The Five Obstructions.

Walking with Ishmael Reed

An interview with the author of Blues City: A Walk in Oakland.

The Peter Sellers Story . . . As He Filmed It

An interview with Anthony Wall, co-director of a documentary about the late actor.

New tools

Interviews with directors Agnès Varda and Barbet Schroeder about their embrace of digital video. 

Personal quest

An interview with Leonard Nimoy about his photography.

"Getting my feet wet up here"

An interview with Sean Penn about acting in Sam Shepard's play The Late Henry Moss.


Nick Nolte returns to his roots

An interview with the actor, back onstage after thirty years.

In touch with the land

An interview with artist Andy Goldsworthy.

Cause and effects

An interview about CGI with Phil Tippett and Craig Hayes of Tippett Studio.

Why 'cahn't' anyone get Boston accent right?

An essay on the accent in Hollywood movies.

The last of his breed

An appreciation of the artist Leonard Baskin.

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