The Bay Area is an inspiring place. Authors and poets ranging Jack Kerouac, Allen Ginsberg, Robert Frost, Jack London, and even Mark Twain found inspiration here. The tradition continues, and many of today's bestsellers are created by authors who grew up or moved to the bay area. Here is a small list of some of the most popular names today.
Laurie R. Kingwas born in Oakland and earned a degree in comparative religion from UC Santa Cruz. She is best known for her Mary Russell books, a historical mystery series that follows the apprenticeship of a young girl to the infamous Sherlock Holmes. The Beekeeper’s Apprentice is the first book of the series and is a fan favorite for book clubs and reading groups.
Lesser known, but still beloved by mystery fans, the Kate Martinelli series follows the investigations of San Francisco homicide inspector, Kate Martinelli. The series opens with A Grave Talent which earned King an Edgar award for best first novel.
Khaled Hosseini was born in Kabul, Afghanistan in 1965 and moved to San Jose in 1984 where he graduated from Independence High School and Santa Clara University. His debut novel The Kite Runner was an international bestseller and remained on the New York Times Bestseller List for over five years. The Kite Runner exposed an American audience to the harsh realities of a child growing up in Afghanistan.
Although his newest novel, And the Mountains Echoed, will not be out until May, there is already much anticipation and discussion about the book. Pre-order your copy today.
Karen Joy Fowler moved to Palo Alto as a child and as an adult she has attended classes at UC Berkeley and UC Davis and currently resides in Santa Cruz. Her short story collection, What I Didn’t See, won the World Fantasy Award in 2011 and her novel The Jane Austen Book Club was a New York Time’s Bestseller for 13 weeks.
The Jane Austen Book Club follows the lives of six avid Austen fans who join together to discuss the beloved novels and along the way discover just how much dear old Jane can teach them about their own lives.
Amy Tangrew up in Oakland and earned her bachelor’s degree from San Jose State University. Her most well-known novel, The Joy Luck Club, has become a staple of classroom reading since it’s debut in 1989. The novel closely resembles Tan’s own life and follows the relationships of four American-born daughters and their Chinese immigrant mothers.
The Bonesetter’s Daughter explores similar themes, focusing on a grown daughter as she struggles to cope with her mother’s impending dementia and find a way to preserve her mother’s life story.
Daniel Handler has spent his entire life in San Francisco and although you may not recognize his real name, your kids will almost certainly recognize his pen name Daniel Handler is Lemony Snicket. The immensely popular children’s series is narrated by the snarky and mysterious Snicket, whose dry humor makes the books just as entertaining for adults as they are for children.
Handler’s young adult novel, Why We Broke Up, chronicles the demise of a relationship through a box full of articles representing stages and events of the relationship. The novel earned Handler a Michael l. Printz Honor award and led to an interactive online project which encouraged readers to share their own stories and objects.