The most recommended books about San Francisco

Who picked these books? Meet our 220 experts.

220 authors created a book list connected to San Francisco, and here are their favorite San Francisco books.
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What type of San Francisco book?


Get in Trouble

By Kelly Link,

Book cover of Get in Trouble: Stories

S.G. Browne Author Of Lost Creatures: Stories

From the list on genre-bending literary short story collections.

Who am I?

I’ve always enjoyed short story collections. Starting with Ray Bradbury and Stephen King, I became a fan of the short form. And as a burgeoning writer, writing short stories was the best way for me to learn the craft of storytelling. While I started out writing supernatural horror, I gradually found myself combining horror, fantasy, and science fiction with dark comedy and social satire, creating a blend of genres. Several of the short story collections I recommend here were instrumental in my evolution as a short story writer and inspired a number of the stories in my latest collection, Lost Creatures.

S.G.'s book list on genre-bending literary short story collections

Why did S.G. love this book?

I love reading novels and stories that make me wish I’d written them, and this collection by Kelly Link made me wish that time and time again. This book also introduced me to the concept of fabulism, a form of magical realism where elements of the fantastic occur in everyday settings, which is something I find compelling both as a reader and as a writer. Link combines humor, fantasy, magical realism, and more than a touch of horror to create a collection of stories that is unique, weird, and wonderful. 

By Kelly Link,

Why should I read it?

2 authors picked Get in Trouble as one of their favorite books, and they share why you should read it.

What is this book about?

Fantastic, fantastical and utterly incomparable, Kelly Link's new collection explores everything from the essence of ghosts to the nature of love. And hurricanes, astronauts, evil twins, bootleggers, Ouija boards, iguanas, The Wizard of Oz, superheroes, the pyramids . . .

With each story she weaves, Link takes readers deep into an unforgettable, brilliantly constructed universe. Strange, dark and wry, Get in Trouble reveals Kelly Link at the height of her creative powers and stretches the boundaries of what fiction can do.


By Lauren Groff,

Book cover of Florida

Lesley Pratt Bannatyne Author Of Unaccustomed to Grace

From the list on short story collections by women.

Who am I?

Whenever I take on a new short story project, I read other writers to admire them, study them, and be inspired by them; it’s like talking with old friends. These five books took me through the heart and soul of what it is to be or to have a mother, to be or to have children, to love or to lose love, to maintain the rituals and magic of family or let them go. Although I believe men can write female characters and women can write males, I really appreciate the fine-tuned ear for the nuances of motherhood, womanhood, and relationships I find in collections written by women about women.

Lesley's book list on short story collections by women

Why did Lesley love this book?

Humidity, rain, heat, and danger saturate this book: you can feel it. In “Midnight Zone,” a young mother has to summon all her power to protect her children from the panther that lurks outside in the dark. What could be a story about one woman dealing with her own limitations becomes one about the power and danger of mother-love. Groff’s book is filled with characters like this: steely, honest, and flawed, all at once. Above all, her women and children are much stronger and more resilient than you think. 

By Lauren Groff,

Why should I read it?

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

What is this book about?




From the universally acclaimed, New York Times bestselling author of Fates and Furies and Matrix

Florida is a "superlative" book (Boston Globe), "frequently funny" (San Francisco Chronicle), "brooding, inventive and often moving" (NPR Fresh Air) --as Groff is recognized as "Florida's unofficial poet laureate, as Joan Didion was for California." (Washington Post)

In her thrilling new book, Lauren Groff brings the reader into a physical world that is at once domestic and wild—a place where the hazards of the natural world…

Emmy in the Key of Code

By Aimee Lucido,

Book cover of Emmy in the Key of Code

Jennifer Gennari Author Of Muffled

From the list on middle-grade about kids making music.

Who am I?

In fifth grade, I chose to play the clarinet. After a lot of cracked reeds and squeaky notes, I switched to choir. I still love to sing! I love books that explore young people’s first experiences with music, whether it’s as a star or as a way to express one’s true self. Music takes many forms, and for me, that includes the arrangement of sounds in a sentence. When I write for young people, I look for the musicality of words, how they flow, and how variety can make a story pop. Try reading aloud your own work or a favorite book and listen to the rhythm of language.

Jennifer's book list on middle-grade about kids making music

Why did Jennifer love this book?

My last choice is about a musical girl who finds a very different kind of “instrument” to play!

Twelve-year-old Emmy just moved from Wisconsin to San Francisco for her dad’s big break as a pianist. Emmy wants to be a musician, too, but can’t find the right instrument to play (I can relate!).

Notes and classical terms are in her head, but not her fingers in this novel-in-verse. Instead of music as an elective, Emmy ends up in computer science and makes friends with a quiet girl named Abigail.

Emmy learns java script, and the reader learns along with her. In the end, Emmy finds a way to make her own kind of music through computer coding.

By Aimee Lucido,

Why should I read it?

2 authors picked Emmy in the Key of Code as one of their favorite books, and they share why you should read it.

What is this book about?

In this innovative middle grade novel, coding and music take center stage as new girl Emmy tries to find her place in a new school. Perfect for fans of the Girls Who Code series and The Crossover.

In a new city, at a new school, twelve-year-old Emmy has never felt more out of tune.

Things start to look up when she takes her first coding class, unexpectedly connecting with the material—and Abigail, a new friend—through a shared language: music. But when Emmy gets bad news about their computer teacher, and finds out Abigail isn’t being entirely honest about their friendship,…

All the Birds in the Sky

By Charlie Jane Anders,

Book cover of All the Birds in the Sky

Emily Croy Barker Author Of The Thinking Woman's Guide to Real Magic

From the list on fantasy about learning magic.

Who am I?

When I was ten, I found a book on witchcraft on the shelves of my local bookstore and eagerly set out to learn how to practice magic. I had very little success—one rain spell maybe worked, but to be honest, rain was in the forecast anyway. So instead I became a novelist who likes to write about people who can do magic. I love books that not only sweep you into other worlds but show you how it really feels to live there. I hope these five novels give you a truly magical escape. 

Emily's book list on fantasy about learning magic

Why did Emily love this book?

I picked up this novel on impulse at a bookstore, and from the first page I fell in love with its clever, quirky blend of science fiction and fantasy. Two misfits, childhood friends, grow up to become a witch and a tech geek, respectively. Their slow-burn romance runs into problems as they both have to respond—in very different ways—to a gathering climate crisis. I adore the way Charlie Jane Anders writes about both magic and not-yet-invented technology with equal aplomb (but gives magic the last word). 

By Charlie Jane Anders,

Why should I read it?

1 author picked All the Birds in the Sky as one of their favorite books, and they share why you should read it.

What is this book about?

WINNER OF BEST NOVEL IN 2016 NEBULA AWARDSFINALIST FOR BEST NOVEL IN THE 2017 HUGO AWARDSPatricia is a witch who can communicate with animals. Laurence is a mad scientist and inventor of the two-second time machine. As teenagers they gravitate towards one another, sharing in the horrors of growing up weird, but their lives take different paths...When they meet again as adults, Laurence is an engineering genius trying to save the world-and live up to his reputation-in near-future San Francisco. Meanwhile, Patricia is a graduate of Eltisley Maze, the hidden academy for the magically gifted, working hard to prove herself…

Sleepwater Beat

By Kathrin Hutson,

Book cover of Sleepwater Beat

Jason Pere Author Of Calling the Reaper: First Book of Purgatory

From the list on fantasy not afraid of a bittersweet ending.

Who am I?

I currently reside in my home state of Connecticut with my darling wife and a duo of sweet cuddly dogs. I am a renaissance man having dabbled in Acting for Film and Theater, Fencing and Mixed Martial Arts, Professional Dorkary, and a bevy of other passions before coming to land on writing. Having stepped into numerous fantasy worlds over the years I have had the chance to sample many different flavors of imagination and developed a refined taste for all things dark, mystical, and tragic. 

Jason's book list on fantasy not afraid of a bittersweet ending

Why did Jason love this book?

A kind of perfect dystopia. The fractured storytelling is as compelling as the characters and greater narrative itself. Sleepwater Beat has a comic book level of action and appeal while also feeling incredibly intellectual and relevant to today’s hot topic issues. Again there is a healthy dose of minority repression on display in the cast of charters presented in this book. Hutson’s Sci-Fi is just as dark and gritty as her fantasy.

By Kathrin Hutson,

Why should I read it?

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

What is this book about?

They say the pen is mightier than the sword. In Sleepwater’s world, words are literally more powerful than bullets.

Leo could always make people believe anything she says—really believe. When her chest burns and the words come from her mouth, her targets’ eyes glaze over, they forget their own thoughts, and they’ll do anything she says. It’s what keeps her alive after being on the run and living on the streets for years. But after using it on her girlfriend and her dad’s drug dealer, it’s also what got her here on the streets in the first place.

Then Sleepwater…

Book cover of The Collected Stories of Lydia Davis

Ran Walker Author Of The Library of Afro Curiosities: 100-Word Stories

From the list on microfiction for those with limited time to read.

Who am I?

I am the author of ten collections of microfiction and poetry. I came to microfiction after having written several novels and short story collections. I just felt that I was saying more than I wanted to say. Microfiction has allowed me to completely distill my stories to the essence of what makes them tick. Of the 26 books I have written, the microfiction collections are my favorites because every word and idea is carefully measured. I am presently working on my next collection of microfiction and have no immediate plans to return to writing at longer lengths. Oddly, writing small has freed me up so I can experiment with various genres, structures, and ideas. I honestly feel microfiction has made me a much better writer.

Ran's book list on microfiction for those with limited time to read

Why did Ran love this book?

After wading through and translating the verbosity of Proust, she challenged herself to write very tiny stories. She is a pioneer in contemporary American literature and her work deals largely with the experiences of women, particularly those in domestic situations. Her work is sharp and pointed, often poetic and resonant. Her use of language really makes you interrogate how many words you truthfully need to tell a good story. This collection combines several of her earlier collections.

By Lydia Davis,

Why should I read it?

1 author picked The Collected Stories of Lydia Davis as one of their favorite books, and they share why you should read it.

What is this book about?

The Collected Stories of Lydia Davis is the complete collection of short fiction from the world-renowned Lydia Davis.


'Big rejoicing: Lydia Davis has won the Man Booker International prize. Never did a book award deliver such a true match-winning punch. Best of all, a new audience will read her now and find her wit, her vigour and rigour, her funniness, her thoughtfulness, and the precision of form, which mark Davis out as unique.

Daring, excitingly intelligent and often wildly comic [she] reminds you, in a world that likes to bandy its words…

Wounds of Passion

By bell hooks,

Book cover of Wounds of Passion: A Writing Life

Kendra Allen Author Of The Collection Plate: Poems

From the list on finding inspiration and motivation.

Who am I?

As a person who reads solely for pleasure regardless of research, I make it a mission while writing to read books I actually enjoy on topics I wanna learn more about. I chose the books on this list because I’m also a person who reads multiple books at once in various genres, it keeps me honest; aware of holes and discrepancies in my own work and pushes me towards some semblance of completion. All the writers on this list do multiple things at once and I admire their skill and risk in coupling creativity with clarity.

Kendra's book list on finding inspiration and motivation

Why did Kendra love this book?

What bell hooks has shown me about the possibility of personal narrative and memoir writing is endless because she consistently shows that your story is never-ending. But mostly bell hooks likes to hurt me on purpose. This is my favorite memoir by her because it centers on two of my favorite topics: words and whirlwind romance that refuses to interfere with the words at stake, and I knew this book would be one I would return to in order to figure out my own priorities once I read, “I’m willing to give up everything I love if it means I won’t be crazy.”

By bell hooks,

Why should I read it?

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

What is this book about?

“bell hooks’s brave memoir of struggling to find her own work, love, and independence.” ―Gloria Steinem
With her customary boldness and insight, brilliant social critic and public intellectual bell hooks traces her writer’s journey in Wounds of Passion. She shares the difficulties and triumphs, the pleasures and the dangers, of a life devoted to writing. hooks lets readers see the ways one woman writer can find her own voice while forging relationships of love in keeping with her feminist thinking. With unflinching courage and hard-won wisdom, hooks reveals the intimate details and provocative ideas of the life path she carved…

Artisanal Cocktails

By Scott Beattie, Sara Remington (photographer),

Book cover of Artisanal Cocktails: Drinks Inspired by the Seasons from the Bar at Cyrus

Lou Bustamante Author Of The Complete Cocktail Manual: Recipes and Tricks of the Trade for Modern Mixologists

From the list on the future of cocktails by SF Bay Area writers.

Who am I?

While the Bay Area’s impact on the way we eat as a country, being at the forefront of the farm-to-table and seasonal produce movement, cocktails are being equal consideration. Why not? Distilled spirits are agricultural products, the same way wine and beer are, and so it reasons that we would worry about how they are made, their history, and the future. Can cocktails be made in a more sustainable way? Can I use beets in my cocktail? Do spirits have a sense of place? And will applying beer to a wound help it heal (note: it won’t)? Here’s a selection of books that explore the past, present, and possible future of how you drink.

Lou's book list on the future of cocktails by SF Bay Area writers

Why did Lou love this book?

This book was published at the beginning of the cocktail revolution and was instrumental to creating the idea that cocktails could be based on peak season produce in the same way that food is.

Everything from herbs, fruits, and vegetables get featured in a drink. While the book is historically important, it still feels modern, packed with techniques to make the best of the season’s bounty. 

By Scott Beattie, Sara Remington (photographer),

Why should I read it?

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

What is this book about?

A lush, full-color collection of 50 cocktail recipes using organic, sustainable produce, handcrafted ingredients, and local artisanal spirits, from the bar manager at the award-winning Cyrus restaurant.

Inspired by the bounty of Sonoma County's organic farms and local distilleries, Scott Beattie shakes up the cocktail world with his extreme twists on classic bar fare. In ARTISANAL COCKTAILS, Beattie reveals his intense attention to detail and technique with a collection of visually stunning and astonishingly tasty drinks made with top-shelf spirits, fresh-squeezed juices, and just-picked herbs and flowers. In creatively named recipes such as Meyer Beautiful (My, You're Beautiful), Hot Indian…


By Willie Mays, John Shea,

Book cover of 24: Life Stories and Lessons from the Say Hey Kid

Carl Deuker Author Of Golden Arm

From the list on sports books about more than sports.

Who am I?

For 20 years, I tried to write politically relevant, “important” novels. I teach. One day I told my students that to succeed as a writer, they needed to write about things they knew and loved. Honesty was the key. That night, I resumed work on a novel set in Prague involving Cold War intrigue, capitalism, communism, and some other "isms" I’ve forgotten. I wrote a paragraph and then stopped. My advice was good. Write about things you know and love. So why not follow it myself? What section of the newspaper did I read first? The sports page. Did I live and die with my favorite sports teams? Yes. I put my hopeless Prague novel aside and started On the Devil’s Court. For better or worse, a sportswriter is who I am.

Carl's book list on sports books about more than sports

Why did Carl love this book?

When I was a boy, I’d get up early, go outside to retrieve the SF Chronicle, and look at the headline of the sports page. If the Giants had lost, I’d put the rubber band back around the newspaper and leave it on the lawn to rot. If they’d won, I’d bring it in and devour the recap and the box score.

This old-fashioned, hero-worship book works because Willie Mays is an old-fashioned hero. Great baseball player, great teammate, great showman, fascinating life. Birmingham to New York to San Francisco. Joy in playing the game at every stop. A wonderful pick-me-up of a book with great photos, great stories, and the greatest player of all time smack dab in the middle of it all. Say Hey!

By Willie Mays, John Shea,

Why should I read it?

1 author picked 24 as one of their favorite books, and they share why you should read it.

What is this book about?


The legendary Willie Mays shares the inspirations and influences responsible for guiding him on and off the field in this reflective and inspirational memoir.

"Even if, like me, you thought you had pretty much read and heard all there was to read and hear about Willie Mays, this warmhearted book will inform and reward you. And besides, what true baseball fan can ever get enough of Willie Mays? Say Hey! Read on and enjoy." -From the Foreword by Bob Costas

"It's because of giants like Willie that someone like…

The Maltese Falcon

By Dashiell Hammett,

Book cover of The Maltese Falcon

Steve Saroff Author Of Paper Targets: Art Can Be Murder

From the list on literary that mix old noir with modern themes.

Who am I?

20 years ago a software company I founded had been acquired and my life should have been good. Instead, it was a Herculean mess. I had just been fired by a billionaire whom I had accused of crimes, and now I was out of work and broke. It would still be four more years before Bernie Ebbers was sentenced to 25 years in federal prison (where he became blind and demented and died) for the world’s largest fraud. But when I was writing the first words of Paper Targets, the executives who had pulled me into their world of the “Lie” were freely strutting on the World Stage of Greed. 

Steve's book list on literary that mix old noir with modern themes

Why did Steve love this book?

This book proves that plots can both be tight and make no sense at the same time while still telling a story that holds our interest. The Maltese Falcon is a mystery that never gets solved, but by the end, you understand the point that Hammett wanted us to understand: for criminals, the world is a greedy mess, and chasing dark dreams for them is what they want more than catching the dream. The book is better than the movie, and the movie is fantastic.

By Dashiell Hammett,

Why should I read it?

7 authors picked The Maltese Falcon as one of their favorite books, and they share why you should read it.

What is this book about?

One of the greatest crime novels of the 20th century.

'His name remains one of the most important and recognisable in the crime fiction genre. Hammett set the standard for much of the work that would follow' Independent

Sam Spade is hired by the fragrant Miss Wonderley to track down her sister, who has eloped with a louse called Floyd Thursby. But Miss Wonderley is in fact the beautiful and treacherous Brigid O'Shaughnessy, and when Spade's partner Miles Archer is shot while on Thursby's trail, Spade finds himself both hunter and hunted: can he track down the jewel-encrusted bird, a…

Cracking the Wall 20 Years Later

By Patricia Turner Mitchell (editor),

Book cover of Cracking the Wall 20 Years Later: Women in Higher Education Leadership

Marilyn K. Easter Author Of Resilience: Bravery in the Face of Racism, Corruption, and Privilege in the halls of Academia

From the list on empowerment and hope.

Who am I?

As with many people, my life has been full of twists and turns. I know what it means to be an outsider and to be cast aside as though my voice and presence doesn’t matter. But, with grit and determination, I battled systemic racism head-on, and with my good L.U.C.K (labor under correct knowledge), encouragement, and faith, I am thriving in an environment that was designed to be non-inclusive for People of Color. Currently, I am the only Black female professor in the 94-year history in the college where I am employed.

Marilyn's book list on empowerment and hope

Why did Marilyn love this book?

Cracking the Wall 20 Years Later is a special title for me, not only because of the significance of its content. I used the original edition in 1993 as a student at the University of San Francisco and then later as a professor at the College of Notre Dame. This book showcases the history of 14 women in academia and highlights the importance of the array of significant changes that need to be made today. What I love most about this book is that the same authors have updated their original chapters and their personal perspective of their experiences and career paths as leaders.  They speak from the heart as they share their transformational stories. They do not sugarcoat anything.  Even though there have been considerable changes in two decades, a great deal has remained the same for women. This is another essential title of empowerment, which lets women know…

By Patricia Turner Mitchell (editor),

Why should I read it?

1 author picked Cracking the Wall 20 Years Later as one of their favorite books, and they share why you should read it.

Book cover of Around the World on a Bicycle - From San Francisco to Tehran

Peter Zheutlin Author Of Spin: A Novel Based on a (Mostly) True Story

From the list on bicycles and cycling.

Who am I?

About thirty years ago I learned that my great-grandaunt Annie was, arguably, the first woman to circle the world by bicycle (1894-1895) and I spent years rescuing her story from the trash bin of history, for she was virtually forgotten for more than a century. An avid cyclist myself, Annie became both my muse and my inspiration. She was an outlandish character who stepped far outside the bounds of what was expected for women of her time; among other things, she was the married mother of three young children when she took off from Boston for fifteen months on the road, and she pioneered sports-related marketing for women, securing corporate sponsors and adorning her body and her bicycle with advertisements wherever she traveled.

Peter's book list on bicycles and cycling

Why did Peter love this book?

First published in 1887, Stevens was the first person to circumnavigate the earth on a bicycle, and a high-wheeler at that. Over three years he pedaled, pushed, and dragged his bicycle through all corners of the globe on one of the most epic journeys ever undertaken.

By Thomas Stevens,

Why should I read it?

1 author picked Around the World on a Bicycle - From San Francisco to Tehran as one of their favorite books, and they share why you should read it.

What is this book about?

"Around the World on a Bicycle - From San Francisco to Tehran" is a fascinating and profusely-illustrated account of an epic bicycle journey around the world. Starting in America and travelling through Europe, the Middle East, and Finally Asia, the author's entire adventure is here chronicled for the enjoyment of bicycle and travel enthusiasts alike. Contents include: "Over the Sierras Nevadas", "Over the Deserts of Nevada", "Through Mormon-Land and over the Rockies", "From the Great Plains to the Atlantic", "From America to the German Frontier", "Germany, Austria, and Hungary", "Through Slavonia and Servia", "Bulgaria, Roumella, and into Turkey", "Through European…

And the Sea Will Tell

By Vincent Bugliosi, Bruce Henderson,

Book cover of And the Sea Will Tell

Nicole Maggi Author Of The Forgetting

From the list on true crime to keep you up at night.

Who am I?

I’ve always hated horror movies and anything scary—but I love true crime. I’m particular in how I consume it; I prefer to listen to it rather than read it and never at night. But give me a Dateline marathon and I’m a happy woman. While much of my own writing is far from true crime (Twin Willows Trilogy is YA urban fantasy, and What They Don’t Know is contemporary YA), my thriller The Forgetting explores dark subject matters—so dark, in fact, that my agent said to me, “But you seem so nice.” I am, for the most part…but I’m also not afraid to shine a flashlight into the darkness that lives in all of us.

Nicole's book list on true crime to keep you up at night

Why did Nicole love this book?

In 1974, two couples sailed into the Palmyra Atoll in search of a tropical paradise—but only one couple sailed back. When Eleanor “Muff” Graham’s body washes up on shore 6 years later, Buck Walker and his former girlfriend Stephanie Stearns are charged with her murder, but the outcome of their trials surprises everyone. Written by Stearns’ famed defense attorney Vincent Bugliosi, this story has everything: a tropical island teeming with tension, two couples whose ideologies were bound to come to a head, and a wild court case that will have you on the edge of your seat until the very end.

By Vincent Bugliosi, Bruce Henderson,

Why should I read it?

1 author picked And the Sea Will Tell as one of their favorite books, and they share why you should read it.

What is this book about?

ALONE WITH HER NEW HUSBAND on a tiny Pacific atoll, a young woman, combing the beach, finds an odd aluminum container washed up out of the lagoon, and beside it on the sand something glitters: a gold tooth in a scorched human skull. The investigation that follows uncovers an extraordinarily complex and puzzling true-crime story. Only Vincent Bugliosi, who recounted his successful prosecution of mass murderer Charles Manson in the bestseller Helter Skelter, was able to draw together the hundreds of conflicting details of the mystery and reconstruct what really happened when four people found hell in a tropical paradise.…

Gay Bar

By Jeremy Atherton Lin,

Book cover of Gay Bar: Why We Went Out

Amelia Abraham Author Of We Can Do Better Than This: 35 Voices on the Future of LGBTQ+ Rights

From the list on queer stories to expand your thinking.

Who am I?

I have been writing about LGBTQ+ culture for magazines and newspapers for almost a decade, and am a voracious consumer of queer stories. Queer literature makes our various needs and desires as a community come alive on the page, and helps us to connect with and understand one another. Reading LGBTQ+ books is a way to learn about contemporary queer life, and work out what more we can be doing to help those more marginalised than us. 

Amelia's book list on queer stories to expand your thinking

Why did Amelia love this book?

Gay Bar is an imaginative history of gay bar culture in London, San Francisco, and LA – where the author has lived, over several decades. It is both personal and more widely historical, blending anecdotes and “overheard” with in-depth research to uncover the importance and also problems that come with these spaces, which are increasingly becoming extinct, as gay bars in major cities struggle to stay in business. 

By Jeremy Atherton Lin,

Why should I read it?

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

What is this book about?


NAMED ONE OF THE BEST BOOKS OF THE YEAR BY: The New York Times * NPR * Vogue * Gay Times * Artforum *

“Gay Bar is an absolute tour de force.” –Maggie Nelson

"Atherton Lin has a five-octave, Mariah Carey-esque range for discussing gay sex.” –New York Times Book Review

As gay bars continue to close at an alarming rate, a writer looks back to find out what’s being lost in this indispensable, intimate, and stylish celebration of queer history.

Strobing lights and dark rooms; throbbing house and drag queens on counters; first…

The Day the Crayons Quit

By Drew Daywalt, Oliver Jeffers (illustrator),

Book cover of The Day the Crayons Quit

Lou Kuenzler Author Of Calm Down, Zebra

From the list on artistic expression.

Who am I?

As a children’s writer I have to draw on my own creativity, celebrate my own ideas and quash self-doubt every time I work on a story. I teach creative writing, run workshops, and visit schools regularly – above all, I want to instill courage and the love of bold imagination in children. Picture book age children have such fantastic creativity and joyous wonder at the world around them. How wonderful to see that creative energy reflected back in a story which will hopefully spark more journeys into wonderful invented places, spaces, pictures, and tales. Imagination has brought me such great joy, I hope I can pass a spark of that onwards...

Lou's book list on artistic expression

Why did Lou love this book?

A glorious, mini rebellion of colour and newfound artistic freedom. This deservedly popular picture book is as smart and funny as the youngsters it is aimed at.  Each new character we meet is wonderfully individual and uniquely creative. A rainbow of inspiration! Who knew we could care about crayons so much? Bliss!

By Drew Daywalt, Oliver Jeffers (illustrator),

Why should I read it?

3 authors picked The Day the Crayons Quit as one of their favorite books, and they share why you should read it.

What is this book about?

The Number One New York Times Bestseller!

Debut author Drew Daywalt and international bestseller Oliver Jeffers team up to create a colourful solution to a crayon-based crisis in this playful, imaginative story that will have children laughing and playing with their crayons in a whole new way.

Poor Duncan just wants to colour in. But when he opens his box of crayons, he only finds letters, all saying the same thing: We quit!

Beige is tired of playing second fiddle to Brown, Blue needs a break from colouring in all that water, while Pink just wants to be used. Green…

Make Way for Ducklings

By Robert McCloskey,

Book cover of Make Way for Ducklings

Suzanne Preston Blier Author Of The Streets of Newtowne: A Story of Cambridge, MA

From the list on the idea of streets, history, and places.

Who am I?

I am an art and architectural historian whose field also includes the histories of cities. My area of specialty is Africa. I am also a professor at Harvard who has lived in Cambridge, Ma. for over 30 years where I have become a civic leader, co-founding the Harvard Square Neighborhood Association to help bring improvements to the city and preserve historic buildings here. I teach a class on Harvard Square (and the city of Cambridge) and following January 6, I felt it was important to rethink the way we teach young people – encouraging them to understand the diversity of all our communities. 

Suzanne's book list on the idea of streets, history, and places

Why did Suzanne love this book?

This is a wonderfully told local story that is a classic for area residents and visitors, where the key characters are not humans – but birds.

The book provides a wonderful sense of how important geography and place are to humans and animals alike. The story is in many respects a personal one that highlights the ongoing power of individual relationships and families. This is a book whose wonderful illustrations amplify the story as one is reading it to children.

By Robert McCloskey,

Why should I read it?

3 authors picked Make Way for Ducklings as one of their favorite books, and they share why you should read it.

What is this book about?

This brilliantly illustrated, amusingly observed tale of Mallards on the move has won the hearts of generations of readers. Awarded the Caldecott Medal for the most distinguished American picture book for children in 1941, it has since become a favourite of millions. This classic tale of the famous Mallard ducks of Boston is available for the first time in a full-sized paperback edition. Make Way for Ducklings has been described as "one of the merriest picture books ever" (The New York Times). Ideal for reading aloud, this book deserves a place of honor on every child's bookshelf.


By Vladimir Belogolovsky (editor), Daniel P. Gregory (editor), Aaron Betsky (editor)

Book cover of Immersed: The California Houses of Feldman Architecture

Chase Reynolds Ewald and Heather Sandy Hebert Author Of At Home in the Wine Country: Architecture & Design in the California Vineyards

From the list on design on inspired living on the West Coast.

Who are we?

At Home in the Wine Country coauthors Heather and Chase love the open, nature-focused attitude toward living that California does so well. Heather worked in the field of architecture for 25 years and is the author of The New Architecture of Wine. Chase has been a western lifestyle writer for 30 years and is the author of 14 books, including Modern Americana, American Rustic, Cabin Style, and Bison. As writers and consultants they work with publishers, magazines, and design, hospitality and wine clients to craft and convey their stories. Heather and Chase live in spectacularly scenic Marin County, halfway between San Francisco and California's iconic wine country.

Chase's book list on design on inspired living on the West Coast

Why did Chase love this book?

The new monograph of the work of one of our favorite architects from our book — San Francisco-based Feldman Architecture. It's a look at 20 years of the firm's work, a collection of homes that both reflects and defines what it means to live authentically within the landscape of Northern California. We particularly love how the architects design for site, whether the home is situated high on a ridge, nestled amongst oaks or tucked within a cityscape, and their masterful use of materials. Their Surf House, overlooking the ocean in Santa Cruz, is lined inside and out with local Monterey cypress. An existing San Francisco Edwardian was transformed by the addition of a central staircase with skylights bringing light deep into the interior. Butterfly House speaks to the land trust on which it dwells as a sustainably-minded home designed as three separate volumes united by a butterfly roof. No matter…

By Vladimir Belogolovsky (editor), Daniel P. Gregory (editor), Aaron Betsky (editor)

Why should I read it?

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

What is this book about?

Immersed - The California Houses of Feldman Architecture is an indepth look at 20 years of the firm's defining residential work spanning three areas: Urban, Suburban, and Rural. Feldman Architecture, a vibrant San Francisco-based studio, aims to create authentic, sitesensitive, sustainable spaces through a deeply collaborative process. This book, which includes commentary from Aaron Betsky and Daniel P. Gregory, as well as an interview with Vladimir Belogolovsky, situates Feldman Architecture's work within the northern California design canon and illustrates how the firm's voice subtly translates across diverse geographies and contexts. Jonathan Feldman, in closing, reflects upon the values and aspirations…

And a Time to Die

By Sharon R. Kaufman,

Book cover of And a Time to Die: How American Hospitals Shape the End of Life

Ed Cohen Author Of On Learning to Heal: or, What Medicine Doesn't Know

From the list on learning to heal.

Who am I?

I earned a Ph.D. in Modern Thought from Stanford and have been an award-winning professor of Women’s, Gender, and Sexuality Studies for over three decades. I've also lived with Crohn’s Disease for more than 50 years. At the intersection of these two experiences, I developed a therapeutic practice oriented towards those with chronic and life-threatening illnesses called Healing Counsel. As both a teacher and a counsellor, I ask people to reconsider the ways they make sense of their experiences. I try to assist people to open up new possibilities for healing, not only as individuals, but also as societies, maybe even as a species, or perhaps even as planetary beings.

Ed's book list on learning to heal

Why did Ed love this book?

Many people imagine that healing and dying are antithetical. However, this is not necessarily so. Sometimes, in the right circumstances, death can be healing not just for the person whose life is ending but for those who love them. 

Unfortunately, American hospital care does not usually facilitate such graceful transitions.  Kaufman, a medical anthropologist, compiles case histories of end-of-life care in medical facilities in order to help us understand the complexities that face us in these contexts. Since most Americans now die in some kind of medical institution, this book should be required reading for everyone—before it happens to us.

By Sharon R. Kaufman,

Why should I read it?

1 author picked And a Time to Die as one of their favorite books, and they share why you should read it.

What is this book about?

Over the past thirty years, the way Americans experience death has been dramatically altered. The advent of medical technology capable of sustaining life without restoring health has changed where, when, and how we die. In this revelatory study, medical anthropologist Sharon R. Kaufman examines the powerful center of those changes: the hospital, where most Americans die today. She deftly links the experiences of patients and families, the work of hospital staff, and the ramifications of institutional bureaucracy to show the invisible power of the hospital system in shaping death and our individual experience of it. In doing so, Kaufman also…

Rosemary and Rue

By Seanan McGuire,

Book cover of Rosemary and Rue

Fran Laniado Author Of Beautiful: A Tale of Beauties and Beasts

From the list on faerie tales (that aren’t for children).

Who am I?

Since I was a child, I’ve loved stories of people who live, unseen, among or close to us. I prefer the spelling “Faerie.” Fairies are pretty, butterfly-like creatures that fly around gardens. “Faeries” suggest, to my mind, the word “fear.” They can be both benevolent and malevolent, but are primarily other. In my novel, Beautiful, and the follow up that’s in progress, faeries feature as characters both in their own realm and ours. They can cause a lot of trouble for humans, but also be well-intentioned. These books feature faeries that play similarly ambiguous roles. 

Fran's book list on faerie tales (that aren’t for children)

Why did Fran love this book?

October (Toby) Daye, is half human, half faerie. She’s done trying to earn the respect of her immortal relatives, and begins to make a nice, human life for herself. Until spell and a murder pull her back into the dangerous immortal tangle of shifting alliances and strange bedfellows. In spite of her supernatural origins, Toby isn’t a superhero. But when she gets sucked into the fantasy stuff there’s no “oh, no, this is impossible! How can this be real?” to wade through. She knows what the deal is and she dives, somewhat reluctantly, into it.

By Seanan McGuire,

Why should I read it?

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

What is this book about?

The first instalment of the highly praised Toby Daye series. The world of Faerie never disappeared; it merely went into hiding, continuing to exist parallel to our own. Secrecy is the key to Faerie's survival: but no secret can be kept forever, and when the fae and mortal worlds collide, changelings are born. Outsiders from birth, these children spend their lives fighting for the respect of their immortal relations. Or in the case of October 'Toby' Daye, rejecting the fae completely. Toby has retreated into a 'normal' life - spending her nights stocking shelves at a San Francisco grocery store…

Sleeping Where I Fall

By Peter Coyote,

Book cover of Sleeping Where I Fall: A Chronicle

Amanda Cockrell Author Of Coyote Weather

From the list on the Sixties and the Vietnam War era.

Who am I?

Almost all of my books have been historical novels, but this one is the one most dear to me, an attempt to understand the fault line that the Vietnam War laid across American society, leaving almost every man of my generation with scars physical or psychic. My picks are all books that illuminate the multiple upheavals of that time.

Amanda's book list on the Sixties and the Vietnam War era

Why did Amanda love this book?

This is a classic account of the rebellious souls of the counterculture who attempted to disentangle themselves from a society they found stifling and parasitic.

Coyote’s memoir is sometimes bleak, sometimes funny, almost always endearing even through the worst of unintended consequences.

A brutally and beautifully written picture of a time that sought to remake America for the better.

By Peter Coyote,

Why should I read it?

1 author picked Sleeping Where I Fall as one of their favorite books, and they share why you should read it.

What is this book about?

In his energetic, funny, and intelligent memoir, Peter Coyote relives his fifteen-year ride through the heart of the counterculture—a journey that took him from the quiet rooms of privilege as the son of an East Coast stockbroker to the riotous life of political street theater and the self-imposed poverty of the West Coast communal movement known as The Diggers. With this innovative collective of artist-anarchists who had assumed as their task nothing less than the re-creation of the nation’s political and social soul, Coyote and his companions soon became power players.

In prose both graphic and unsentimental, Coyote reveals the…