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Book: More Tales of the City

July 29, 2010

The title kind of says it all… this is more Tales of the City, furthering the lighthearted, silly soap opera of the denizens of 28 Barbary Lane, in San Francisco in the 1970s.

Oh, it’s so much fun. It’s completely silly, easy to read, gossipy and bitchy and funny and outlandish. And so, so full of locals-only bits, which I loved.

It’s kind of pointless to do a summary since the story weaves and dodges and sparks and falls and makes no real sense, but if you have a fascination for San Francisco, especially the San Francisco of the 70s, especially San Francisco gay culture in the 70s, you will love it. Oh, the days before AIDS and yuppies. It’s kind of magical, and makes me a little sad that I wasn’t around to see it. And I totally have to see the miniseries.

I spent part of Monday sitting with one of my best friends in the whole world in a quintessential San Francisco Richmond coffeehouse, Simple Pleasures, both of us reading and sipping hot chocolate. I was reading this book and occasionally glancing up to see grizzled old bohemians wandering in to sit in a bedraggled chair and do the crossword, or middle-aged artist-types sitting at a wobbly table with cups of coffee while they gazed out the window and sighed deeply. Nothing fancy about it at all — this cafe is a slice of chilly, foggy, old-timey San Francisco. I loved it. We sat in busted-up overstuffed sofa and completely enjoyed ourselves for a couple of hours. The perfect book for the perfect cafe.

I’ve been playing tour guide the last couple of weeks. It’s been really fun, and makes me appreciate, as always, how fantastic San Francisco is, even now as it’s crazy-expensive and yuppie and crowded. It has a certain magic, a particular beauty and lure that makes me fall in love with the city every time I’m there. There’s just nothing quite like San Francisco. Other cities have other charms, but SF is a very place-specific city. The hills, the ocean, the fog, the buildings, the people — it just doesn’t happen anywhere else. Sometimes I’m sad that we won’t ever live there (too expensive now), but then again, I’m not sure I’d ever want to get used to it. It’s wonderful to live so near a place that makes you feel excited every time you venture over the bridge.

Back to the book for just a moment: I have been feeling really scattered, tired, and having a hard time getting into books lately. This was the perfect book for that sort of mindset. Each chapter is only 3-4 pages long, funny and charming, and self-contained. I read it quickly but it could easily be read a chapter or two at a time in the evening, sort like having a bonbon before bed.

4 Comments leave one →
  1. July 29, 2010 6:30 am

    Sounds like an enjoyable books and the best kind of day with your friend.

  2. July 29, 2010 6:58 am

    i began to read the first Tales right before I left Gainesville but had to return it to the library when we moved so i wasnt able to finish it. but i loved what little i read. i really liked the short chapters–sometimes i need that incentive, knowing that a chapter is only a few pages long. its an easy commitment.

    oh and your cafe time sounds wonderful.

  3. July 29, 2010 8:21 am

    Stef: It was a pretty perfect pairing!

    Tammie: Oh, you should totally pick it up again (get your library card, you!!). It’s very light and perfectly chopped into short chapters.

    The cafe was great. Come on down and we’ll have one like that too. 🙂

  4. trapunto permalink
    July 29, 2010 9:48 am

    I love your coffee-house description, and I know what you mean about place-specific cities, anchored and defined by their natural terrain as they grew up. Some feel like they could be anywhere. It’s the other kind I like. Although I’ve never been to San Francisco!

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