Associated Press file

The City Lights bookstore in San Francisco as it appeared in 1969. It's still going strong as it celebrates its 60th year.

Between the Lines: City Lights marks 60 years in S.F.

Published: Sunday, Apr. 7, 2013 - 12:00 am | Page 15AANDE
Last Modified: Sunday, Apr. 7, 2013 - 7:39 am

The landmark City Lights Booksellers & Publishers in San Francisco is celebrating its 60th year, to be highlighted by an open house June 23.

"Our yearlong celebration will feature a number of special anniversary events, both in the bookstore and beyond," along with displays of historical photos, stories and reminiscences, said marketing director Stacey Lewis.

The store is "committed to independent presses and the kinds of books that don't get a lot of attention elsewhere," she added. That translates to more than 35,000 titles. The bookstore's '60s vibe is still in place, serving as an accent mark on the nearly lost art of casual browsing. Pick a title, sit and stay awhile, it's cool.

Poet-publisher Lawrence Ferlinghetti co-founded the bookstore in 1953 as a mecca for free-thinkers. He's 94 now, and was quoted recently: "The Golden Age of City Lights continues." His first book, "Pictures of the Gone World," remains in print after more than 50 years.

City Lights is at 261 Columbus Ave.; (415) 362-8193. For details on special anniversary events, visit and

ARC press fires up

Let's view the rest of today's column as a mash-up:

• American River College's new Ad Lumen Press is up and running, producing its first two titles. "Burning the Little Candle" is an anthology of stories, memoirs and poetry by the faculty and staff of ARC's creative writing program, with an introduction by Anthony Swofford, author of "Jarhead." It's in bookstores and at online merchandisers.

The second book, due July 1, is "Let the Water Hold Me Down" by ARC English professor Michael Spurgeon.

For more information:

• Railbridge Cellars is participating in National Poetry Month with a poetry-reading series at 7 p.m. every Friday in April at its tasting room at 921 11th St., Sacramento. Wine, food and music also will be on the plate. Information: (916) 492-2530,

• It was announced last week that Francisco-based Goodreads, a website dedicated to helping its 16 million members connect with each other over books, is being purchased by The deal is expected to close in the second quarter of 2013, said a news release.

Meanwhile, Goodreads asked its members for their picks of what they perceive as the Great American Novel.

The results are in. The top choice is "To Kill a Mockingbird" by Harper Lee, followed by "The Great Gatsby" by F. Scott Fitzgerald, "The Adventures of Huckleberry Finn" by Mark Twain, "The Grapes of Wrath" by John Steinbeck, "Moby Dick" by Herman Melville, "Gone With the Wind" by Margaret Mitchell and, surprisingly, "The Amazing Adventures of Kavalier & Clay" by Michael Chabon.

New reads

That next good read could be here:

• "Gulp: Adventures on the Alimentary Canal" by Mary Roach (W.W. Norton, $26.95, 352 pages): "Science writing appeals to me, and biology is the most tangible," Roach once told me in an interview. She proves it again with "Gulp," a witty sociological "travel guide" that explains the digestive process.

Roach is also the author of the New York Times best-selling "Stiff: The Curious Lives of Human Cadavers," "Spook: Science Tackles the Afterlife," "Bonk: The Curious Coupling of Science and Sex" and "Packing for Mars: The Curious Science of Life in the Void."

• "Moonlight on Linoleum" by Terry Helwig (Howard, $14.99, 304 pages): In her moving memoir, the author recalls how her parents' dysfunction forced her to assume responsibility for raising her five sisters and running the household. Finally, she had to painfully choose between sacrifice and self-empowerment. "Life is not without its tragedies, but neither is it not without its points of radiance," she writes.

• "New California Writing: 2013," edited by Gayle Wattawa and Kirk Glaser (Heyday, $20, 325 pages): The third in the independent publisher's yearly literary anthology series features memoirists, novelists, journalists, poets and bloggers.

• "Garbage Night at the Opera" by Valerie Fioravanti (BkMk Press, $15.95, 188 pages): Drawing from her years in New York, the director of Sacramento's Stories on Stage program offers a collection of dramatic vignettes.

Listen to this

Looking for entertainment on the daily commute? Last week we sampled titles from audiobook leader Macmillan (www. Try this sampling of unabridged audiobooks from HarperAudio (www.harpercollins. com) and check back next Sunday for some of Simon & Schuster's new releases.

• "Leaving Everything Most Loved" by Jacqueline Winspear: The 10th Maisie Dobbs mystery finds the sleuth on the case of a mysterious murder in 1930s London.

• "Every Crooked Nanny" by Mary Kay Andrews: Former cop Callahan Garrity now runs a housekeeping service, but she and her crew keep getting sidetracked by missing-person cases.

• "What We Talk About When We Talk About God" by Rob Bell: The controversial clergyman continues to redefine Christianity for the 21st century.

• "Until I Say Good-Bye" by Susan Spencer-Wendel: A mother of three struggling with Lou Gehrig's disease turns her fate into a celebration of life and love.

• "Tales of the City" by Armistead Maupin: His fictitious soap opera of gay life in 1970s-'80s San Francisco is a chronicle of an era.

• "Blood of Dragons" by Robin Hobb: Dragons and their keepers finally uncover the lost city of Kelsingra in this epic fantasy.

• "Deep Space" by Ian Douglas: In this series entry, humankind and an alien race face off for high stakes: control of the universe.

• "The Devil's Heart: The Chattan Curse" by Cathy Maxwell: A curse has plagued the Chattan family for two centuries; can Lady Margaret finally break it?

Author appearances

Friday-next Sunday:

Barnes & Noble will partner with the Yolo County Library to raise funds for the Yolo Reads Literacy Program. Readings, storybook time and more will be featured from 9 a.m. to 10 p.m. at the bookstore, 1725 Arden Way, Sacramento; (916) 565-0644. Details at (530) 666-8084.


J.L. Bautista for "The Road and Nothing More," 6:30 p.m. at Luna's Cafe, 1414 16th St., Sacramento; (916) 441-3931.

Call The Bee's Allen Pierleoni, (916) 321-1128.

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