Confession: I am currently on vacation in sunny California! Planned activities include: riding in a convertible on Mulholland Drive; visiting Grauman’s (like any true fan of “I Love Lucy”); driving up the coast on Route 1; going to the beach in Carmel; and eating lots of Oaxacan food in San Francisco’s Mission district. Oh yeah . . . and reading!
Here’s what’s on my list:
1. Lonely Planet’s Coastal California. Actually, I’ve already read this one. I know some people like to plan on the fly, but I’m old-fashioned. I like to read a guidebook before I go somewhere new, and Lonely Planet has long been my favorite series. (That was even before Lonely Planet U.S. Travel Editor Robert Reid started writing a column for BookPage.) This edition on Coastal California was just published in May 2012, so I’m confident the details are up-to-date. The guide has been especially helpful in planning out overnights on my road trip from Los Angeles to San Francisco, and zeroing in on a couple of choice day trips.
2. Jennifer Weiner’s The Next Best Thing.
This Hollywood story is based on the author’s real-life experience as a writer for “State of Georgia” (now off the air, sadly). Jennifer Weiner always makes me laugh, which is just what I want when I’m on vacation. Plus, her plots move so fast that they’ll make a cross-country flight go by in a breeze.
3. Christie Ridgway’s Crush On You.
I’d normally stay away from romance while I’m away from the office, since that’s what I assign for BookPage—and it’s nice to take a breather from work. But Ridgway is our beloved romance columnist, and her Three Kisses trilogy is about three sisters who own a dilapidated winery in Napa—and the sexy bad boys next door. How could I not read book #1 in between wine tastings? For fun, you can read a blog post from Ridgway about her research for the novels.
4. Robin Sloan’s Mr. Penumbra’s 24-Hour Bookstore.
I just got a galley of this October novel, and so far it’s cracking me up—and making me want to scout out a kooky bookstore in San Francisco. The plot revolves around a San Francisco web designer who takes a job as a clerk in a mysterious 24-Hour Bookstore . . . which turns out to be much more than just a bookstore. Here’s an example of Sloan’s humor. Using Google, the web designer decides to create a “hyper-targeted local” ad to bring business to the store. The characteristics of the potential customer include: “Lives in San Francisco,” “interested in books,” “night owl,” “carries cash,” “not allergic to dust,” “watches Wes Anderson movies.” Definitely add this novel to your October 2012 TBR-list.
5. Alice Water’s 40 Years of Chez Panisse.
My big splurge of the trip is a dinner at Chez Panisse Café, and you can bet I’ll get myself even more pumped up by reading this tribute to Alice Waters‘ revolutionary restaurant centered around organic, local food. Anyone else excited about pizza with nettles? (By the way, if you can’t make the trip out to Berkeley yourself, you might enjoy our most recent Top Pick in Lifestyles, Foraged Flavor.)
Anyone else planning some fun destination-based reading this summer?