City Lights Bookstore * 3 E. Jackson Street, Sylva, NC


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To help slow the spread of Covid-19, we are only allowing entry to nine browsers at a time. Wear a mask and try to give other folks a six-foot berth. Book orders will mail for as little as 99 cents. Curbside service remains available during our curtailed hours: 10-6 Mon.-Sat.

#GiveBooks - Buy Gift Cards for use online or at the bookstore

Used Book trade-ins limited to small batches, considered on Wednesdays and Saturdays until 5 p.m. 

Phone 828-586-9499

For curb service, redial after a few minutes if your call goes straight to voicemail.


Book Discussion: Just Mercy

In this time of facing up to our country’s long history of racial injustice, many of us are struggling to find how we can do our part in the work of racial healing, right here and right now in our own communities.  To provide a forum for this exploration, City Lights Bookstore in Sylva, NC, will host a Zoom discussion of Bryan Stevenson’s riveting 2015 memoir Just Mercy: A Story of Justice and Redemption.  The discussion will be guided by Donna Glee Williams, author of Dreamers and The Braided Path, and free of charge. Call 828-586-9499 or click here to obtain a copy of the book (in print, electronic, or audio version, as read by the author) and register for the event. Please join us and be a part of the conversation at 6 p.m. Eastern Time on Saturday, November 7, 2020.




Just Mercy: A Story of Justice and Redemption Cover Image
ISBN: 9780812984965
Availability: On Our Shelves Now
Published: One World - August 18th, 2015

Dreamers Cover Image
ISBN: 9781770531123
Availability: On Our Shelves Now
Published: EDGE Science Fiction and Fantasy Publishing, - February 7th, 2019

Online Discussion with the Author of Preaching Happiness

City Lights Bookstore will host a virtual discussion with Ginny Sassaman, author of Preaching Happiness: Creating a Just and Joyful World, and co-founder of Gross National Happiness USA (GNHUSA). Sylva poet and former GNHUSA board member Jeannette Cabanis-Brewin will also join the discussion, along with Dave Molinaro who is the volunteer leading the drive for a Charlotte, NC Wellbeing Index. This Zoom event will be at 6 p.m. on Wednesday, December 2nd.

“ Preaching Happiness is a book you will find yourself returning to again and again for its wisdom and guidance,” says Rev. Joan Javier-Duval of the Unitarian Church of Montpelier. “The sermons presented here artfully combine personal story and social science research to pose new ways of thinking and living,” she says. 

Through a series of secular sermons on a wide range of happiness skills, Preaching Happiness teaches and encourages the soul-deep transformation needed to live a full and happy life while also creating conditions for maximum well-being for all humans, animals, and the planet 

“This is my cause, this is my passion, this is my life’s work,” says author Ginny Sassaman. “Part of my goal in writing this book is to get these words out there. They are needed now more than ever,” she says. 

Praise for Preaching Happiness : 

From the “Midwest Book Review: “Deftly written, impressively informative, exceptionally thoughtful and thought-provoking, Preaching Happiness: Creating a Just and Joyful World is an ideal and unreservedly recommended addition to both community and college/university library … collections. (It is) a life enriching, life-enhancing DIY guide.”

“Preaching Happiness is an important voice in our quest for a more joyful and just world. Ginny Sassaman’s down-to-earth wisdom both elevates and elates.” – Tal Ben-Shahar, co-founder and chief learning officer of Happiness Studies Academy, Potentialife, Maytiv, and Happier.TV 

“Ginny Sassaman shares several practical lessons on the importance of bringing happiness more fully into our collective consciousness. Through very accessible storytelling, Sassaman speaks to the urgency with which we must create the conditions that support the well-being of people, animals, and the planet. This book serves both as an excellent primer for all who seek to increase their own levels of happiness, as well as a refreshing validation for those who have been steeped in the Gross National Happiness movement for years. It is a collection of sermons every book club should have on their list.” – Paula Francis, co-founder of GNHUSA 


To reserve a book and/or a spot on the Zoom event please contact City Lights Bookstore at 828-586-9499 or by email

Preaching Happiness: Creating a Just and Joyful World Cover Image
ISBN: 9781578690268
Availability: On Our Shelves Now
Published: Rootstock Publishing - May 8th, 2020

Ron Rash Returns to the World of Serena

Ron Rash's latest book was released on August 4th. Reserve copies of In The Valley which further develops Serena and her devastation of western North Carolina through short stories and a novella. We expect to have signed copies available soon.

Staff Pick Badge
In the Valley: Stories and a Novella Based on SERENA Cover Image
ISBN: 9780385544290
Availability: On Our Shelves Now
Published: Doubleday - August 4th, 2020

Even As We Breathe, These Mountains, F*ckface

While enjoying a beer across the porch from my neighbor, the author David Joy, it struck him that my bookstore could offer our customers a fine trio of fiction later this summer. Here's the plan: we'll bundle David's forthcoming novel, When These Mountains Burn, with the two best debuts to come out of Appalachia in 2020: Leah Hampton's collection, F*ckface, and Annette Saunooke Clapsaddle's novel, Even As We Breath. These three books also represent three adjoining counties and the Qualla Boundary, all in southwestern North Carolina. Order them now, and readers will get signed first editions--one in July, one in August, and one in September--delivered to any U.S. address for free. We'll also discount the third book in your order by 20%, applied after checkout before we process your payment. So, if you've already pre-ordered one or two of these titles from us, just reference the "Even As We Breathe, These Mountains, Fuckface" promotion to receive the discount on the third. Order online or phone us at 828-586-9499. We'll leave it up to you how to handle the expletive when you call. - Chris, prop. City Lights Bookstore

Staff Pick Badge
F*ckface: And Other Stories Cover Image
ISBN: 9781250259592
Availability: On Our Shelves Now
Published: Henry Holt and Co. - July 14th, 2020


Do you find the title of this book off-putting? Please, read the poignant title story, which upsets any preconceived notions that the name conjures. Such prejudice is an apt chord to strike at the beginning of a collection of stories set in the southern Appalachians, a region too often dismissed and demeaned by outsiders unwilling to grapple with nuance once they've made up their minds. F*ckface marks the debut of a major literary talent and is a fresh addition to the southern Gothic canon. I predict that having read that first story, you'll find yourself drawn into the rest of this excellent collection. Enjoy the richness! -- Chris Wilcox

Staff Pick Badge
When These Mountains Burn Cover Image
ISBN: 9780525536888
Availability: On Our Shelves Now
Published: G.P. Putnam's Sons - August 18th, 2020

In When These Mountains Burn, David Joy tackles the heavy issues of the people and mountains he has come to love. He accomplishes this with what I love most about his books: fast-paced and heartfelt prose.

-- Eon Alden

Staff Pick Badge
Even as We Breathe Cover Image
ISBN: 9781950564064
Availability: On Our Shelves Now
Published: Fireside Industries - September 8th, 2020

We can't wait to read this debut! -- 

COVID-19 Precautions

City Lights Bookstore is offering phone, curbside, and online service, and at this time, we are allowing entry to as many as nine customers at a time. Please wear a mask and allow others a six-foot berth. Our curtailed hours are 10-6 Mon.-Sat.  We are monitoring this NC Dept. of Health and Human Services page and this CDC page for the latest guidance.

We had scheduled some events for the coming weeks — we've canceled in-store events for the foreseeable future. 

We are taking common-sense precautions and hope you will, too:

  • wiping down all hard surfaces with disinfectant throughout the day
  • waving hello, not shaking hands
  • maintaining > 6-foot social distance 
  • washing hands often
  • wearing face masks
  • avoiding touching our faces
  • staying home if sick


We hope that all will be well. We want to be here, selling books, etc., for another 35 years. But we do need to sell books to pay the rent, utilities, meet payroll, and so on. Things have been going okay, but if you can't visit us, we would greatly appreciate:

Thanks for reading!


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