alisa alering

Writer of fantasy and other fictions

Recommended Books about California


California is not a place well-known to me. I once went to San Francisco in August and took only summer clothes. From the daze of my hypothermia I remember burritos in  Berkeley, mopeds downtown, and worrying that the wind on the Golden Gate Bridge would blow my glasses right off my nose.

Right now I am reading April Smith’s North of Montana, set in LA. There is a real feel for place, which is 50% of the reason for reading any mystery. Today I came across a list of books chosen by author Lisa See that illuminate different aspects of the Californian geo-character. Except for the James Ellroy, I’d never heard of any of them before, and now want to read all of them. That’s a darn good book list.

Also check out See’s books, if you haven’t already. I really enjoyed her ‘Red Princess’ mysteries, featuring Lui Hulan, an agent for China’s Ministry of Public Security. I’ve been a bit disappointed with her swerve into book club territory with Snow Flower & the Secret Fan and Peony in Love, but admit to having an ARC of Shanghai Girls on my to-read pile right now.

I wanted to include a See’s slideshow of ‘Shanghai Girls’ here as a bonus, but making that work is giving me more grief than I feel I deserve on a Friday afternoon, so if you’re interested, you’re going to have to mosey over to Flickr all by yourself.

Author: Alisa Alering

I write stories. I read stories.

4 thoughts on “Recommended Books about California

  1. What in the world is the ARC of a book? Wikipedia usually rides to my rescue in situations like this, but appears to be out to lunch on this one.

  2. Thanks. It looks like a situation in Wikipedia in which one needed the answer to ask the question. But my knowledge is enriched with the info. Since we plan on passing out a few ARCs, the abbreviation might come in handy.

    • I was wrong. I simply didn’t adequately examine Wikipedia. The usage of ARC you intended, advanced reading copy, was listed under culture.

      I’m reminded of a story about Justice Oliver Wendell Holmes, about a conversation he once had with one of his clerks. The clerk commented on a draft opinion that Holmes had asked him to look over, saying that one of the words Holmes had used should be changed.

      When Holmes asked if he had consulted a dictionary as to the meaning of the word, the clerk said, “Yes sir, I did. There are 23 meanings of that word in Webster’s, and meaning you intend, sir, is number 23.”

      Holmes said, “Young man, I did not write that opinion for the hoi poloi — or for you.”

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