TTT: Ten Books Set in Sunny California

Top Ten Tuesday

Top Ten Tuesday (TTT) brought to you by The Broke and the Bookish.

Great. Another wide open Top Ten Tuesday.

“FREEBIE – your choice!”

Not always a good thing for a non-creative type like myself. Since I just got back from my vacation, I’m going to do Top Ten Books set in California. This is actually going to be pretty difficult for me – the majority of books I read are set in the UK – England and Scotland, primarily.

My goal is to get some new books in my list this week. For a while it felt like Groundhog Day around here, featuring the same books every week. Let’s give it a shot.

So this is my…

[not necessarily] Top Ten [but the ten I could think of, I know I missed some good ones] Books Set in Sunny California

(And yes, I know San Francisco can be quite foggy. But it sure was sunny and hot last week.)



The Grapes of Wrath by John Steinbeck – A Pulitzer Prize winning American classic.

The Maltese Falcon by Dashiell Hammett – I haven’t actually read this one, but I want to. I’ve heard great things.

The Black Dahlia by James Elroy – A bit of a cheat putting it with classics. Yes, this book itself is not a classic, published in 1987. However, it is based on a real unsolved crime from 1947, and has that classic Noir feel.


I’m trying to keep the list fresh this week, but I never miss these two authors. In fact, these were the first two that came to mind when I was thinking about books set in California. Sorry for the repeats.

Harry Bosch and Mickey Haller Series – Michael Connelly

Kinsey Milhone series by Sue Grafton


Landline by Rainbow Rowell – Another repeat from past lists, but that’s just because this book is. So. Good.

The Sauvignon Secret by Ellen Crosby – The last book in her Wine Country Mysteries (sob! I hope she does another one) takes us away from the usual Virginia/D.C setting and out to San Francisco and Napa Valley.

Paper Phoenix: A San Francisco Mystery by Michaela Thompson – A fun mystery set in 1970’s San Francisco.


The Happiest Days of our Lives by Wil Wheaton – I love Wil Wheaton. His writing always moves me – sometimes a laugh, sometimes a tear. Great collection of essays.

Disneywar by James B. Stewart – This book was published at a great time – right when Roy E. Disney resigned from Disney’s board and convinced the shareholders to vote Michael Eisner out and Save Disney. I read Disneywar at the time and found it fascinating.


You know me, I love TV and movies, too. Charmed is a favorite TV show of mine, and it’s set in San Francisco (although it wasn’t really filmed there). But nothing beats this car chase from Bullitt starring Steve McQueen. One of my Dad’s favorites.

What about you? Have a favorite California novel? I bet you do, and it’s probably a beachy one. Based on this list, it would appear I don’t read many novels set at the beach. I guess I should have included Sweet Valley High; I was an 80’s girl and loved to see what Jess and Liz were up to.

Link up to your TTT if you’ve got one, I can’t wait to see what topic you chose for this freebie week!

32 thoughts on “TTT: Ten Books Set in Sunny California

  1. Awesome list! As someone living in California (although not so sunny — more like daily fog), I appreciate the great tribute to our beautiful state. If you like weird and funny fiction, then I’d recommend any of Christopher Moore’s books set in California, particularly A Dirty Job or his San Francisco vampire trilogy. I really need to read more Steinbeck!

    Liked by 1 person

  2. I read Black Dahlia a long time ago but had no idea it was published so recently. It definitely has the classic noir feel – so much so that I thought it was one! This is a great topic and I see several books that need to be added to my TBR. Particularly Disneywar, the Wine Country Mystery series, and how can I resist anything by Wil Wheaton?

    Liked by 1 person

  3. I know what you mean about freebie topic being hard. I need structure! It took me forever to come up with a topic haha. The only book I’ve read of these is Landline. I’ve been thinking I need a re-read of it because I haven’t read it since it first came out!

    Liked by 1 person

  4. Fun topic! I’m sure I’ve read plenty of books that take place in California but at the moment I can’t think of any! It’s so fun to read books set in places you’ve been. One of my friends at work always checks out an audiobook set in her vacation destination (i.e. “The Devil in the White City” for Chicago) to listen to on the drive. I think that’s such a great idea! Usually I work in the reverse — I want to visit the settings in all my books after reading about them! 🙂


  5. Pingback: TTT: Favorite Quotes I Read in 2016 (ish) | Hidden Staircase

Sit down and share a cuppa with me. Let's discuss.

Fill in your details below or click an icon to log in: Logo

You are commenting using your account. Log Out /  Change )

Twitter picture

You are commenting using your Twitter account. Log Out /  Change )

Facebook photo

You are commenting using your Facebook account. Log Out /  Change )

Connecting to %s