I plan a visit to Chicago, Seattle and San Francisco this year and I wanted to know if anyone can recommend a book about these cities. I have already had some great input that includes travel guides from the publisher Lonely Planet, to classic novels like Dickens' Tale of Two Cities, to new historical-fiction novels like Pale Truth about San Francisco.

What else would you suggest for my reading while traveling to these cities?

Thanks Much, Lou

-- Lou Dalton (, August 17, 2001


Oooooh boy! Got any special interests?

In general, if you go to Amazon and search for "travel san francisco" they'll give a lot of books, but those aren't the most interesting stuff in town.

Go to the public library and ask for the "City Guides Walking Tours" - - they will take you around all sorts of fascinating places you might walk right past, accompanied by a very talkative guide. I think the Chinatown Walking Tour ends up at a nice restaurant. (If you're without a guide, plan on going to the Hang Ah Tearoom. They serve dim sum and you just point to what's on the cart. Your bill is per item, but the individual items are very cheap. Hang Ah is habit forming. Lunch will take 2 hours. Trust me.)

There is also a phone listing for "San Francisco Crime Tours" -- there's one run by a Dashiel Hammett character and one run by Annette Tappy (she of Tappy's Bar on, I think, Post Street). They're inexpensive and just plain fun. Bring comfortable shoes.

A good book to pick up in town (try Stacey's on Market or Sacramento) is one of the families-with-children guides to San Francisco. Why? They have a listing of all the public bathrooms in the city......


-- Rosa Debonneheure (, August 17, 2001.

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