While in San Francisco in mid-June, I had the chance to visit City Light Books. On one hand, it isn't the bustling hub of dissenting writers activity I had naively imagines. There was something else to it though. It is just around the corner from the alley that's been named Jack Kerouac Avenue, which is a wonderful little side visit, with quotes in the cement, and a mural to the Chiapas conflict. Then City Light Books, in sort of the heart of Little Italy, is in what was once a house. It is incredibly easy to get lost it, there being three floors, the bottom two with more rooms and little hallways than the mind can rememeber from one visit. The top floor is dedicated just to two big walls, one of all poetry, and the other of Beat Generation works. As suiting Ferlinghetti's position in the movement, a lot of the lesser known writers and works are there. I had expected it to be full of delusional beatnicks, but it was, for the most part, just a normal bookstore. I intially was a little disappointed at that—no one talking about the history of the place, most customers seemingly unaware—but I left liking the feeling. Why shouldn't it be just a normal bookstore? So, I bought some books and post cards, took a discreet picture, and went on my way. I felt glad to have visited though, not only did I find some books not avalible elsewhere, but I'd wanted to visit for a long time. Paired with Yosemite, I never have to step foot in the insane state of California again.

posted by flagamuffin: 1235 days ago