What's On Our Bookshelf: Essential California Reads
Okay we’re just going to jump right into the list. We hope you find a book or two or ten to add insights, feelings, meaning, and new perspectives to your visit to Marin County, San Francisco, Oakland and all of California. In no particular order, we present our totally subjective list:
The California Field Atlas. We fully admit to our crush on Obi Kaufmann. He loves California, he loves nature, he’s an amazing artist. With this book he’s combined all three. An essential California road trip companion.
Tamalpais Walking. A poet and an artist together create a stunningly beautiful immersion into Marin County’s Mount Tamalpais. It’s a story, it’s a love letter, it’s history, it’s art. And it will make you fall deeper in love with this iconic spot in Marin.
Blue Mind. Wonder why you feel so good when you’re in Marin County? One reason is because we’re surrounded by water. In this book you’ll learn why that makes you happier, healthier, and more connected. Maybe read this one while you’re sitting bayside at Acqua Hotel or Waters Edge Hotel.
The Biophilia Effect. And other reason for the all over good feeling? Nature. We’re soaking in it in Marin County, and this book explains why that’s good for you. Sit amongst the Redwoods at Mill Valley Inn for this read, and increase your natural killer cells at the same time.
The Dharma Bums. The hero’s odyssey spans San Francisco, Marin, and the High Sierras. Spend some time figuring out life with the Beat Generation in this essential hippie read.
California Spanish Place Names. Learning about the stories behind our city and town names in California is yet another way to understand our State. Also an excellent California road trip companion.
The World Rushed In. THE book to read if you want to learn about the Gold Rush in California. The story is told through the detailed letters of the gold seeker and his family back home. It’s a personal story with all the highs and lows you would expect from a seeker on an epic adventure.
Cool Gray City of Love: 49 Views of San Francisco. This book is comprised of 49 stories based in different places in San Francisco. Select a few of the locations from the book for your own Cool Gray tour of San Francisco.
Infinite City. An entirely unconventional atlas of San Francisco and its surroundings. Gorgeous maps illustrate topics like the modern day tribes of San Francisco and Hitchcock filming locations.
Slouching Towards Bethlehem. Sacramento-born Joan Didion captures California during the 1960’s. Locations all around the state get the razor sharp Didion treatment. Our favorite is Some Dreamers of the Golden Dream. Plan for this: you will be internetting “where are they now” immediately upon completion of the story.
The Barbarian Nurseries. Let’s head down to Southern California to see what life is like in the posh gated communities of Orange County. Unputdownable as they say.
East of Eden. A MUST READ CLASSIC. A multi-generational story of families settling in the Salinas Valley, this book wraps us up in the loves, failures, and triumphs of two California families over three generations.
Angle of Repose. A Pulitzer Prize-winning classic, this story begins and ends in Grass Valley California. In between, we’re taken all over the West with a husband and wife team who are seeking their golden opportunity in a hardscrabble, young country.
Telegraph Avenue. There is absolutely no reason why this is last on the list! Two families lives are intertwined in a thoroughly modern-day story set on the boulevard called Telegraph Avenue where Berkeley and Oakland meet. We’re going to say it again: unputdownable.