Saturday, March 5, 2016

By the Book: San Francisco

San Francisco. Photograph. Encyclopædia Britannica ImageQuest. Web. 5 Feb 2016.
There's a famous song about New Orleans, covered by the likes of Louis Armstrong and Billie Holiday, Fats Domino, The Manhattan Transfer, and even Alison Krauss, that goes like this:

Do you know what it means to miss New Orleans
And miss it each night and day
I know I’m not wrong this feeling's gettin' stronger
The longer I stay away

...Do you know what it means to miss New Orleans
When that's where you left your heart

What is it about certain cities that capture our imaginations? The ones we long to visit, or aspire to return to. Iconic cities such as New Orleans, London, Rome; trendy cities, like Portland is right now - there's projection that PDX will grow by 250,000 souls in 20 years, and there's now a "Don't move to Portland, Oregon" movement; cities that get their "biographies" written,  whether they are in crisis, like Detroit or Rio de Janeiro, or out of nostalgia for bygone days like many books about Paris.

We've been thinking about the allure of certain cities since reading The Guardian series called Reading American cities, which attempts to "collate the perfect literary companions" using writer and reader suggestions of the best books that evoke the ethos of a metropolis. We've taken a page from their book (and a couple of other sources) to compile a list of books set in San Francisco and/or about San Francisco that we hope will sate your yearning for the "City by the Bay", whether you've "left your heart" there or hope to pay a visit someday.


Tales of the City by Armistead Maupin

The City, Not Long After by Pat Murphy [eAudiobook] 

The Circle by Dave Eggers 

Valencia by Michelle Tea   


Bitter Spirits by Jenn Bennett

Daniel's Gift by Barbara Freethy [eBook]


The Maltese Falcon by Dashiell Hammett

The Dead Do Not Improve by Jay Caspian Kang

The White Van by Patrick Hoffman

Short Stories 

Monstress by Lysley Tenorio 

Young Adult

Little Brother by Cory Doctorow 

The Fire Horse Girl by Kay Honeyman 

Recommended Audiobooks 

Frog Music by Emma Donoghue [eAudiobook] 

China Dolls by Lisa See [eAudiobook]

Bear is Broken by Lachlan Smith [eAudiobook]


Bar Tartine: Techniques & Recipes by Nicolaus Balla and Cortney Burns

The Slanted Door: Modern Vietnamese Food by Charles Phan with Janny Hu


16 Books to Read if You Love San Francisco [Buzzfeed]

Fog City Reads [Library Journal]

Listening Trip: Audiobooks Set in San Francisco [Library Journal]

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