San Francisco Stories

One of the things I miss in the Covid-Era is going to San Francisco and Oakland to see my friends, not to mention beautiful art and gardens and that glorious Bay. When a friend of mine asked about books set in San Francisco, I was only too happy to waste some time making her a list. Here are some of my favorites, with links to reviews when applicable:

The Heroine Complex series, by Sarah Kuhn

I love this contemporary paranormal series about a group of sisters and friends in the Bay Area who fight the supernatural even when the supernatural takes the form of demon-possessed cupcakes. Expect inclusivity, feminism, action, and romance.

The Fifth Sacred Thing, by Starhawk

In the year 2048, The United States has split into smaller nations. The utopian San Francisco must defend itself against invaders without losing its core values in the process.

Mama’s Bank Account, by Kathryn Forbes

This is a sweet collection of short stories about a Norwegian immigrant family living in San Francisco in the 1910s. A good comfort read.

The Joy Luck Club, by Amy Tan

This contemporary novel about Chinese immigrant mothers and their American-born daughters is a classic.

The Girl with Ghost Eyes, by M.H. Boroson

At the end of the 19th century, Li-Lin must protect Chinatown from mundane and supernatural threats.

Mr. Penubra’s 24 Hour Bookstore, by Robin Sloane

During the Great Recession, a laid-off web designer gets a job at a mysterious bookstore in this gentle fantasy.

All the Birds in the Sky, by Charlie Anders

This is a near-future science fiction/fantasy book about a witch and a mad scientist who fall in love while saving the world.

Calico Palace, by Gwen Bristow

A young married woman and a hooker with, and I quote, “a heart of gold” become friends and help each other survive in Gold Rush San Francisco.

Tea with the Black Dragon, by R.A. Macavoy

This classic mystery has just a hint of fantasy as a Chinese man helps a woman find her missing daughter. It hasn’t aged well, but for its time was unusual and exciting for having a male Chinese romantic protagonist.

Passing Strange, Ellen Klages

Two women meet in 1940’s San Francisco and romance and adventure transpire in this poignant historical feminist and LGBTQIA-friendly fantasy.

Copy Boy, by Shelley Blanton-Stroud

In this historical novel set in the Great Depression, a woman reinvents herself in the journalistic world of San Francisco.

What are YOUR favorite Bay Area books?

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