Read about a place and you know it even before you are there and get so much more out of your visit. Here are some of my favourites.
1. The Scoundrels and Scalawags
San Francisco always was a Startup City with amazing personalities. You can’t help falling in love with its magnificent rogues. The book is a well written and very entertaining collection of short stories.
The Magnificent Rogues of San Francisco: A Gallery of Fakers and Frauds, Rascals and Robber Barons, Scoundrels and Scalawags by Charles F. Adams
2. The Cool Grey City of Love
Fascinating tidbits of the neighborhoods, history, even geology. Wonderful collection of stories about the city.
Cool Gray City of Love: 49 Views of San Francisco by Gary Kamiya
3. History from Gold Rush to Microchip
Excellent readable interesting clear history of California. Political, geographic and social history, art and literature. Also the difficult issues like race, poverty and dillusionment.
California: A History by Kevin Starr
4. Book to guide you through the streets
A traveler needs one good guide book to lead you around the city. Lonely Planet is the one I like the best.
Lonely Planet San Francisco by John Vlahides, Alison Bing
5. One man’s history
Towers of Gold is a fascinating account of the growth of California through the lens of one man’s history.
Towers of Gold: How One Jewish Immigrant Named Isaias Hellman Created California by Frances Dinkelspiel
6. Tales of the City
Entertaining soap opera of stories constructed from a serial column in the San Francisco Chronicle. Wonderful escapist characters which bring the city to life.
Tales of the City by Armistead Maupin