69 books like Love and War in California

By Oakley Hall,

Here are 69 books that Love and War in California fans have personally recommended if you like Love and War in California. Shepherd is a community of 11,000+ authors and super readers sharing their favorite books with the world.

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Book cover of Wanderlust: A History of Walking

Jim Miller Author Of Drift

From my list on urban wandering and subterranean history.

Why am I passionate about this?

I teach literature, Labor Studies, and writing at San Diego City College and have written three San Diego-based novels: Drift, Flash, and Last Days in Ocean Beach, along with Under the Perfect Sun: The San Diego Tourists Never See, a radical history of San Diego that I co-wrote with Mike Davis and Kelly Mayhew. Both as a writer and as a daily wanderer on the streets of San Diego, I have a passion for the psychogeography of the city space and a deep curiosity for and love of the people I encounter there.

Jim's book list on urban wandering and subterranean history

Jim Miller Why did Jim love this book?

This book really got to me because it offers a rich and quixotic history of walking that encompasses the Romantics, the French flaneurs, and a host of other wanderers. In her chapter on San Francisco, Solnit re-maps the space of her home city in a way that outlines her own rediscovery and gave me new eyes to see a place that I love.

By Rebecca Solnit,

Why should I read it?

3 authors picked Wanderlust as one of their favorite books, and they share why you should read it.

What is this book about?

A passionate, thought provoking exploration of walking as a political and cultural activity, from the author of the memoir Recollections of My Nonexistence

Drawing together many histories--of anatomical evolution and city design, of treadmills and labyrinths, of walking clubs and sexual mores--Rebecca Solnit creates a fascinating portrait of the range of possibilities presented by walking. Arguing that the history of walking includes walking for pleasure as well as for political, aesthetic, and social meaning, Solnit focuses on the walkers whose everyday and extreme acts have shaped our culture, from philosophers to poets to mountaineers. She profiles some of the most…


Book cover of Psychogeography: Disentangling the Modern Conundrum of Psyche and Place

Jim Miller Author Of Drift

From my list on urban wandering and subterranean history.

Why am I passionate about this?

I teach literature, Labor Studies, and writing at San Diego City College and have written three San Diego-based novels: Drift, Flash, and Last Days in Ocean Beach, along with Under the Perfect Sun: The San Diego Tourists Never See, a radical history of San Diego that I co-wrote with Mike Davis and Kelly Mayhew. Both as a writer and as a daily wanderer on the streets of San Diego, I have a passion for the psychogeography of the city space and a deep curiosity for and love of the people I encounter there.

Jim's book list on urban wandering and subterranean history

Jim Miller Why did Jim love this book?

I love this classic book that catalogs some of Will Self’s seminal writings about psychogeography, a term that describes the relationship between our consciousness and the geographic spaces we occupy.

Self borrows from the legacy of the avant-garde notions of dérive, or “drift” or disorientation, where one can find oneself by losing oneself. Here, Self playfully positions himself as a rebel against the contemporary world, a time-traveler of sorts, who rolls back the clock and deconstructs history by walking rather than driving in urban contexts.

It’s a book full of surprises and provocative ideas.

By Will Self, Ralph Steadman (illustrator),

Why should I read it?

1 author picked Psychogeography as one of their favorite books, and they share why you should read it.

What is this book about?

Provocateurs Will Self and Ralph Steadman join forces in this post-millennial meditation on the vexed relationship between psyche and place in a globalised world, bringing together for the first time the very best of their 'Psychogeography' columns for the Independent. The introduction, 'Walking to New York', is both a prelude to the verbal and visual essays that make up this extraordinary collaboration, and a revealing exploration of the split in Self's Jewish-American-British psyche and its relationship to the political geography of the post-9/11 world. Ranging from the Scottish Highlands to Istanbul and from Morocco to Ohio, Will Self's engaging and…


Book cover of City of Quartz: Excavating the Future in Los Angeles

Maxim Samson Author Of Invisible Lines: Boundaries and Belts That Define the World

From my list on redefining your understanding of geography.

Why am I passionate about this?

I am a Geography professor at DePaul University with a long-standing obsession with the world, comparing puddle shapes to countries as a small child and subsequently initiating map and flag collections that I cultivate to this day. Having lived in different parts of the UK and the USA, as well as being fortunate enough to travel further afield, I’ve relished the opportunity to explore widely and chat with the people who know their places best. I love books that alter how I look at the planet, and I am particularly intrigued by the subtle ways in which people have shaped our world—and our perceptions of it—both intentionally and inadvertently.

Maxim's book list on redefining your understanding of geography

Maxim Samson Why did Maxim love this book?

A film noir in book form, Davis’ astute, visceral, and impassioned chronicle of Los Angeles at the turn of the millennium offers a dystopian view of future urban society.

I was recommended this book by my secondary school geography teacher shortly before starting university. Although my teacher did not know it, I had been questioning whether I’d made the right choice in choosing Geography for my degree, but this book captivated me like no other and assuaged my academic concerns. 

Los Angeles is a world-famous city that means very different things to different people. Davis shows how Los Angeles is simultaneously a utopia and a dystopia, a place of gated communities and private police forces, where libraries look like fortresses and prisons, on the outside at least, resemble futuristic hotels.

Over three decades after the first edition’s publication, this book remains essential reading for anyone seeking a sobering peek into…

By Mike Davis,

Why should I read it?

2 authors picked City of Quartz as one of their favorite books, and they share why you should read it.

What is this book about?

No metropolis has been more loved or more hated. To its official boosters, "Los Angeles brings it all together." To detractors, LA is a sunlit mortuary where "you can rot without feeling it." To Mike Davis, the author of this fiercely elegant and wide-ranging work of social history, Los Angeles is both utopia and dystopia, a place where the last Joshua trees are being plowed under to make room for model communities in the desert, where the rich have hired their own police to fend off street gangs, as well as armed Beirut militias.

In City of Quartz, Davis reconstructs…


Book cover of Now and on Earth

Jim Miller Author Of Drift

From my list on urban wandering and subterranean history.

Why am I passionate about this?

I teach literature, Labor Studies, and writing at San Diego City College and have written three San Diego-based novels: Drift, Flash, and Last Days in Ocean Beach, along with Under the Perfect Sun: The San Diego Tourists Never See, a radical history of San Diego that I co-wrote with Mike Davis and Kelly Mayhew. Both as a writer and as a daily wanderer on the streets of San Diego, I have a passion for the psychogeography of the city space and a deep curiosity for and love of the people I encounter there.

Jim's book list on urban wandering and subterranean history

Jim Miller Why did Jim love this book?

Jim Thompson’s novel is arguably San Diego’s greatest classic noir work.

While not a crime novel, it captures wartime San Diego through the glass darkly, and I was moved and unsettled by Thompson’s unsparing forays into the alienation of those who were the most exploited in the city.

By Jim Thompson,

Why should I read it?

1 author picked Now and on Earth as one of their favorite books, and they share why you should read it.

What is this book about?

San Diego in the years before World War II. James Dillon is barely scraping by working a menial job in manufacturing, trying to raise a family and support his elderly mother and sister Frankie at the same time. He drinks too hard -- just like his father and nearly everyone in his extended family. With so many people crammed into one home, sometimes there's so much fighting he can barely stand it. But if James can survive the chaos of everyday life long enough, maybe -- just maybe -- there's a chance it'll all get better.

Now and on Earth,…


Book cover of War and Millie McGonigle

Charlotte Herman Author Of My Chocolate Year: A Novel with 12 Recipes

From my list on for children on WW2 at home and across the ocean.

Why am I passionate about this?

I grew up on Chicago’s home front during WW2. President Roosevelt wanted everyone—adults and children—to do their part for the war effort. So we neighborhood kids formed a Victory club, where we marched around singing, “Let’s Remember Pearl Harbor,” and other patriotic songs. And though we had fun, we understood the meaning of the gold stars in the windows, and knew that terrible things were happening on the other side of the world. There are so many wonderful books set during this time period, and I can never read enough of them. These books, along with my memories, are what inspire me to write historical fiction of my own.

Charlotte's book list on for children on WW2 at home and across the ocean

Charlotte Herman Why did Charlotte love this book?

Even though I lived across the country from San Diego where this story takes place, and even though I was several years younger than Millie McGonigle, the picture of home front USA during WW2 is familiar in many ways. Soldiers and sailors filled the streets of Chicago, and kids scanned the sky for “enemy planes.” There was the fear of polio, the struggles with rationing, and the shortage of bubble gum. 

This story is filled with humor and memorable characters. But most memorable of all is Millie, who tries to deal with the death of a grandmother and her worries about the war getting closer to home. And even though she’s obsessed with drawing in her Book of Dead Things, she comes to understand what her grandmother had told her when she said, “Whatever is lost stays alive if you remember it.”

By Karen Cushman,

Why should I read it?

1 author picked War and Millie McGonigle as one of their favorite books, and they share why you should read it.

What is this book about?

The Newbery Award-winning author of Catherine, Called Birdy and The Midwife's Apprentice tells a heartfelt and humorous story of WWII on the homefront.

Millie McGonigle lives in sunny California, where her days are filled with beach and surf. It should be perfect--but times are tough. Hitler is attacking Europe and it looks like the United States may be going to war. Food is rationed and money is tight. And Millie's sickly little sister gets all the attention and couldn't be more of a pain if she tried. It's all Millie can do to stay calm and feel in control.

Still--there's…


Book cover of Boy Underground

Ellen Barker Author Of East of Troost

From my list on dogs as supporting characters.

Why am I passionate about this?

Dogs make great supporting characters, adding drama or humor or pathos, and revealing so much about the humans in the story. I discovered this in writing my first novel: The narrator’s dog keeps her grounded when things go wrong and makes it possible for her to keep going through difficult times. For the reader, he provides levity and depth without turning it into a book about a dog. I had a great model – I used my own dog Boris, even appropriating his name. I think of the fictional Boris as real-life Boris’s best self.

Ellen's book list on dogs as supporting characters

Ellen Barker Why did Ellen love this book?

Boy Underground is a coming-of-age story of four teen-aged boys in rural California who each go underground at some point, literally or figuratively.

Akira is a terrier and can’t go with her family when they are forced into a Japanese internment camp, and she, too, goes underground.

Catherine Ryan Hyde unfolds this story with a subtle voice that resonates with compassion for the boy hiding from the law, the boy sent to the camp, the boy living with his own secret, and the boy who drops out of school to enlist.

And the dog, who is a pawn in the great drama of WWII as it plays out in this remote corner of America.

By Catherine Ryan Hyde,

Why should I read it?

1 author picked Boy Underground as one of their favorite books, and they share why you should read it.

What is this book about?

During WWII, a teenage boy finds his voice, the courage of his convictions, and friends for life in an emotional and uplifting novel by the New York Times and #1 Amazon Charts bestselling author.

1941. Steven Katz is the son of prosperous landowners in rural California. Although his parents don't approve, he's found true friends in Nick, Suki, and Ollie, sons of field workers. The group is inseparable. But Steven is in turmoil. He's beginning to acknowledge that his feelings for Nick amount to more than friendship.

When the bombing of Pearl Harbor draws the US into World War II,…


Book cover of All Ships Follow Me: A Family Memoir of War Across Three Continents

Sophie Poldermans Author Of Seducing and Killing Nazis: Hannie, Truus and Freddie: Dutch Resistance Heroines of WWII

From my list on World War II heroines.

Why am I passionate about this?

I'm a Dutch author and lawyer specialized in international criminal law. My expertise is the role of women leaders in times of conflict, crisis, and change – especially during war and in post-conflict societies. Women are traditionally portrayed as victims, while it is precisely women who show genuine leadership skills in times of conflict, crisis, and change. I've done research on women’s armed resistance in the Netherlands in WWII, and am an expert on the lives and resistance work of Hannie Shaft and the sisters Truus and Freddie Oversteegen. In addition, I've done research in the former Yugoslavia and Rwanda and saw the same patterns in these conflicts and the impact on the generations after. 

Sophie's book list on World War II heroines

Sophie Poldermans Why did Sophie love this book?

A remarkable and incredibly brave epic saga of a young woman struggling with the inheritance of her father who grew up in the colonial era of the Netherlands in the Dutch East Indies and who had been interned in a concentration camp by the Japanese as a child and her mother who had been abandoned as a little girl at the end of WWII because her parents were Nazi sympathizers and were therefore imprisoned. The author grew up in California, USA, with many questions about her family’s identity and secrets in the war. A courageous book breaking the taboo of shedding light on ‘the other side.’ The author is a personal friend of mine.

By Mieke Eerkens,

Why should I read it?

1 author picked All Ships Follow Me as one of their favorite books, and they share why you should read it.

What is this book about?

An engrossing, epic saga of one family’s experiences on both sides of WWII, All Ships Follow Me questions our common narrative of the conflict and our stark notions of victim and perpetrator, while tracing the lasting effects of war through several generations.

In March 1942, Mieke Eerkens’ father was a ten-year-old boy living in the Dutch East Indies. When the Japanese invaded the island he, his family, and one hundred thousand other Dutch civilians were interned in a concentration camp and forced into hard labor for three years. After the Japanese surrendered, Mieke’s father and his family were set free…


Book cover of A Walk in the Clouds

Melody Carlson Author Of Looking for Leroy

From my list on vineyards.

Why am I passionate about this?

The first time I visited a vineyard was as a child with my mother and grandparents. Driving to San Francisco from Oregon, we stopped to tour a Sonoma vineyard and winery there. Later, as a young adult touring Western Europe, I became intrigued by the vineyards there. Something about the beauty of gently rolling slopes of green vines tugged on me. And I found the science and art of winemaking fascinating. Even the history of wine-making is noteworthy. And I love that Jesus’ first miracle was transforming ordinary water into extraordinary wine. So using the setting of a vineyard for my novel just felt right. And it was a fun adventure!

Melody's book list on vineyards

Melody Carlson Why did Melody love this book?

This is a beautiful story set in Post WW 2 era about a young woman on her way home from college. She is ‘in trouble’ and in need of a good friend. Her family of Spanish/Mexican heritage owns a vineyard in California and is very traditional. She meets up with a young soldier, also on his way home. He offers to help her... and the magic, as well as the trouble, begins. This is a lovely romantic story... a celebration of fate and true love. 

By Deborah Chiel,

Why should I read it?

1 author picked A Walk in the Clouds as one of their favorite books, and they share why you should read it.

What is this book about?

This is a magical romance about a soldier returning from war in 1945 to a broken marriage, who meets a woman sobbing by the side of the road. She is pregnant, her boyfriend has left her and she doesn't know how she is going to face her parents and family. He accompanies her and becomes involved.


Book cover of Displacement

José Pimienta Author Of Twin Cities

From my list on being in a new place (physical or emotional).

Why am I passionate about this?

Coming-of-age stories have always appealed to me because of their focus on an internal struggle. They’re usually juxtaposed with a changing landscape or moving to a new place. In broad strokes, coming-of-age stories focus on personal identity and our place in our day-to-day world. As someone who’s born in the US but grew up on the Mexican side but currently lives in California, the questions of what aspects of me are American and which are Mexican have been ongoing. With that in mind, these five books speak to me in a profound way, and I'm happy they exist as comics. 

José's book list on being in a new place (physical or emotional)

José Pimienta Why did José love this book?

This book depicts the complexities of generational trauma. Kiku, our protagonist, discovers that she can go back in time and experience what her ancestors went through during the second world war. Kiku Hughes dives into the daily lives of citizens living in Japanese internment camps. It’s a brave look at the complicated relationship a person can have with the place they live in, given the difficulties their ancestries have gone through. Also, Kiku Hughes is an amazing illustrator. The bulk of the storytelling is through her depictions of the United States throughout different decades. 

By Kiku Hughes,

Why should I read it?

2 authors picked Displacement as one of their favorite books, and they share why you should read it. This book is for kids age 12, 13, 14, and 15.

What is this book about?

Kiku is on vacation in San Francisco when suddenly she finds herself displaced to the 1940s Japanese-American internment camp that her late grandmother, Ernestina, was forcibly relocated to during World War II.

These displacements keep occurring until Kiku finds herself 'stuck' back in time. Living alongside her young grandmother and other Japanese-American citizens in internment camps, Kiku gets the education she never received in history class. She witnesses the lives of Japanese-Americans who were denied their civil liberties and suffered greatly, but managed to cultivate community and commit acts of resistance in order to survive.


Book cover of They Called Us Enemy

Elaine Orr Author Of Falling Into Place

From my list on World War II for teens who love a good story.

Why am I passionate about this?

I’m the U.S. author of more than thirty books, many of them traditional or cozy mysteries. As the daughter and niece of several World War II veterans, I grew up hearing some of their experiences – they left out the horror. But I did see the impact those travesties had on gentle people. I often marveled at the courage of those who fought without weapons to survive the deprivation and loss of many loved ones. And I’m glad I had opportunities to visit Germany and Japan as an adult, to see the friendships our nations foster today.

Elaine's book list on World War II for teens who love a good story

Elaine Orr Why did Elaine love this book?

I did not initially include this book until I took a class of middle school English students to the library and more than half of them went to the graphic novel shelves. Who better to tell the story of the U.S. version of concentration camps – internment camps for loyal U.S. citizens of Japanese descent – than George Takei of Star Trek fame (and more)?

Pictures really do tell more than a thousand words. Takei’s autobiographical novel offers moments of joy but paints an infuriating picture of the United States at its worst in the Twentieth Century. The loyalty of Takei’s father to the nation that imprisoned the family and so many others can seem like a contradiction, but it is perhaps the most rewarding component of the book. The illustrations are excellent.

By George Takei, Justin Eisinger, Steven Scott , Harmony Becker (illustrator)

Why should I read it?

2 authors picked They Called Us Enemy as one of their favorite books, and they share why you should read it.

What is this book about?

George Takei has captured hearts and minds worldwide with his captivating stage presence and outspoken commitment to equal rights. But long before he braved new frontiers in Star Trek, he woke up as a four-year-old boy to find his own birth country at war with his father’s—and their entire family forced from their home into an uncertain future. In a stunning graphic memoir, Takei revisits his haunting childhood in American concentration camps, as one of over 100,000 Japanese Americans imprisoned by the U.S. government during World War II. Experience the forces that shaped an American icon—and America itself—in this gripping…


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