Like yesterday’s selection, today’s book pick comes via a San Francisco book store. Local Girl Makes History: Exploring Northern California’s Kitsch Monuments is a unique title that grabbed my eye while browsing the City Lights website. The famous SF bookseller is also the publisher of this niche kitsch guide to Northern Cali’s special structures. Author Dana Frank is a Bay area historian who takes a series of local daytrips to places she has visited since her youth, uncovering secrets and exploring urban myths of popular spots like the Santa Cruz Beach Boardwalk’s Cave Train Ride and the Puglas Water Temple.
The result is a smart and funny memoir mixed with historical research and reflections on politics and culture too. From the publisher:
Full of surprises and plot twists along the way, her adventures are quirky, fun and informative. The tension between private memory and public history draws us deeper and deeper into each investigation, and small places in California come to symbolize larger political questions in the United States.
Frank’s collection of essays is accompanied by photos, maps, and driving directions, producing a nice combo of memoir complete with practical guidebook details to boot! She’ll be appearing at City Lights in early January to talk about the book.