I love to read books located in cities I am about to visit. But when it comes to San Francisco and the Bay Area, I was really impressed with the wealth of choices available.

My colleague Walter Thompson confirmed this:

“I’ve lived in San Francisco for most of my adult life, and while I don’t have supporting data, I believe this city is overrepresented in literature: the number of songs, novels, TV shows and films set here simply staggers the imagination.”

I picked up one as I started preparing for my week in San Francisco for Disrupt, and figured my colleagues had their own recs to share. Below is a list of books we love and that we hope you’ll enjoy, too.

Although we managed to select two books by the same author, our picks are very diverse, from historical novels and nonfiction to sci-fi. But they all have one thing in common: They have some connection to San Francisco and the Bay Area. That’s a great common thread: As Walter noted, San Francisco is in a constant state of reinvention.

Book recommendation: “Tales of the City,” by Armistead Maupin

Who picked it: Karyne Levy, managing editor TC+

What started as regular installments in the San Francisco Chronicle turned into a cultural phenomenon, spanning nine books and three decades. It follows the lives and loves of a group of unforgettable characters who live at 28 Barbary Lane, under the watchful eye — and genuine warmth — of their loving landlord, Anna Madrigal. And a note for those curious: That address doesn’t exist, but the area it’s based on is known as Russian Hill (Macondray Lane, to be exact)!

Maupin does a tremendous job capturing the city and its vibes from the late 1970s through the mid-2000s, using storylines that include true events (Jim Jones, the AIDS epidemic) and a cast of characters you’ll love immediately. In fact, I’m going to reread my collection starting tonight!

Book recommendation: “1906: A Novel,” by James Dalessandro

Who picked it: Walter Thompson, editorial manager, head of guest contributor program


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