Cool Gray City of Love: 49 Views of San Francisco

Bloomsbury Publishing USA
31
Free sample

Cool, Gray City of Love brings together an exuberant combination of personal insight, deeply researched history, in-depth reporting, and lyrical prose to create an unparalleled portrait of San Francisco. Each of its 49 chapters explores a specific site or intersection in the city, from the mighty Golden Gate Bridge to the raunchy Tenderloin to the soaring sea cliffs at Land's End.

This unique approach captures the exhilarating experience of walking through San Francisco's sublime terrain, while at the same time tying that experience to a history as rollicking and unpredictable as the city herself. From her absurd beginnings as the most distant and moth-eaten outpost of the world's most extensive empire, to her instantaneous fame during the Gold Rush, from her apocalyptic destruction by earthquake and fire to her perennial embrace of rebels, dreamers, hedonists and misfits of all stripes, the City by the Bay has always followed a trajectory as wildly independent as the untrammeled natural forces that created her.

This ambitious, eclectic, and beautifully written book draws on everything from on-the-ground reporting to obscure academic papers to the author's 40-year life in San Francisco to create a rich and insightful portrait of a magical corner of the world. Complete with hand-drawn maps ofthe 49locations, this handsome package will sit comfortably on the short shelf of enduring books about places, alongside E. B. White's Here is New York, Jose Saramago's Journey to Portugal, or Alfred Kazin's A Walker in the City.
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About the author

Gary Kamiya was born in Oakland in 1953 and grew up in Berkeley. After dropping out of Yale, he earned his BA and MA in English lit from UC Berkeley, where he won the Mark Schorer Citation. He drove a taxi in San Francisco for 7 years while completing college and working as a freelance writer. After co-founding a short-lived city magazine called Frisko, he got his first real job at the age of 37 as an editor of the San Francisco Examiner's Sunday magazine, Image. After five years at the Examiner, where he was a culture critic and book editor, he left to co-found the groundbreaking Web site Salon.com, where he was executive editor for 12 years. He is currently a columnist for Salon. His first book, Shadow Knights: The Secret War Against Hitler, was a critically-acclaimed history. He is married to the novelist Kate Moses. They have two children.
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3.9
31 total
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Additional Information

Publisher
Bloomsbury Publishing USA
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Published on
Aug 6, 2013
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Pages
400
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ISBN
9781620401255
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Language
English
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Genres
Travel / Essays & Travelogues
Travel / Special Interest / General
Travel / United States / West / Pacific (AK, CA, HI, OR, WA)
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Content Protection
This content is DRM protected.
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Available on Android devices
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The hills of the East Bay contain one of the finest and densest urban hiking environments in the state of California—more than 400 paved pathways and public staircases lattice up and down the slopes of Berkeley and Oakland alone. Rising high above the city centers, with towering views of the San Francisco Bay, the Bay Bridge, and San Francisco itself, these elegant civic walking trails—many of them shaded in oaks and redwoods, and many unknown even to local resi dents—present a unique land scape for both the casual walker and dedicated hiker.

Charles Fleming, the Southern California author whose bestselling 2010 walking guide Secret Stairs turned the hidden public staircases of Los Angeles into popular hiking trails, now turns his eyes north ward. For Secret Stairs: East Bay, Fleming has designed more than 30 individual hiking loops. Linking multiple staircases into one-to two-hour self-guided strolls, these urban treks will delight the tourist, newly arrived Berkeley undergraduate, and veteran Bay Area resident alike.

The circular walks, each calibrated by length, difficulty, and duration—and each accompanied by a detailed, easy-to-follow map—are sprinkled with fascinating facts about the his toric staircases, the historic homes around them, and the famous Bay Area characters who gave them their names. Walk the walks of Bret Harte, Mark Twain, and John Muir! Climb Berkeley’s massive Fred Herbert and Tamalpais Paths, hike Easter Way, and summit Sunset Trail! Mount Oakland’s Oakmore stairs, then tackle the hills of Upper Rockridge and Crocker Highlands via the public staircases. And do it all within easy walking distance from BART or bus stops, free parking, and excellent Bay Area cafés.
Containing walks and detailed maps from throughout the city, Secret Stairs highlights the charms and quirks of a unique feature of the Los Angeles landscape, and chronicles the geographical, architectural, and historical aspects of the city’s staircases, as well as of the neighborhoods in which the steps are located.

From strolling through the classic La Loma neighborhood in Pasadena to walking the Sunset Junction Loop in Silver Lake, to taking the Beachwood Canyon hike through “Hollywoodland” to enjoying the magnificent ocean views from the Castellammare district in Pacific Palisades, Secret Stairs takes you on a tour of the staircases all across the City of Angels.

The circular walks, rated for duration and difficulty, deliver tales of historic homes and their fascinating inhabitants, bits of unusual local trivia, and stories of the neighborhoods surrounding the stairs. That’s where William Faulkner was living when he wrote the screenplay for To Have and Have Not; that house was designed by Neutra; over there is a Schindler; that’s where Woody Guthrie lived, where Anais Nin died, and where Thelma Todd was murdered . . .

Despite the fact that one of these staircases starred in an Oscar-winning short film—Laurel and Hardy’s The Music Box, from 1932—these civic treasures have been virtually unknown to most of the city’s residents and visitors. Now, Secret Stairs puts these hidden stairways back on the map, while introducing urban hikers to exciting new “trails” all around the city of Los Angeles.
Join the bestselling author of Ciao, America! on a lively tour of modern Italy that takes you behind the seductive face it puts on for visitors—la bella figura—and highlights its maddening, paradoxical true self
 
You won’t need luggage for this hypothetical and hilarious trip into the hearts and minds of Beppe Severgnini’s fellow Italians. In fact, Beppe would prefer if you left behind the baggage his crafty and elegant countrymen have smuggled into your subconscious. To get to his Italia, you’ll need to forget about your idealized notions of Italy. Although La Bella Figura will take you to legendary cities and scenic regions, your real destinations are the places where Italians are at their best, worst, and most authentic:

The highway: in America, a red light has only one possible interpretation—Stop! An Italian red light doesn’t warn or order you as much as provide an invitation for reflection.

The airport: where Italians prove that one of their virtues (an appreciation for beauty) is really a vice. Who cares if the beautiful girls hawking cell phones in airport kiosks stick you with an outdated model? That’s the price of gazing upon perfection.

The small town: which demonstrates the Italian genius for pleasant living: “a congenial barber . . . a well-stocked newsstand . . . professionally made coffee and a proper pizza; bell towers we can recognize in the distance, and people with a kind word and a smile for everyone.”

The chaos of the roads, the anarchy of the office, the theatrical spirit of the hypermarkets, and garrulous train journeys; the sensory reassurance of a church and the importance of the beach; the solitude of the soccer stadium and the crowded Italian bedroom; the vertical fixations of the apartment building and the horizontal democracy of the eat-in kitchen. As you venture to these and many other locations rooted in the Italian psyche, you realize that Beppe has become your Dante and shown you a country that “has too much style to be hell” but is “too disorderly to be heaven.”
Ten days, thirty places. From north to south. From food to politics. From saintliness to sexuality. This ironic, methodical, and sentimental examination will help you understand why Italy—as Beppe says—“can have you fuming and then purring in the space of a hundred meters or ten minutes.”
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