AbeBooks Visits: A Literary Tour of San Francisco


San Francisco is a city steeped in a rich
literary history. In the 50s it was the epicenter of the Beat movement, but long before that
the diverse atmosphere was producing groundbreaking writing and publishing. Join us as we visit
some must see literary destinations in the golden city. First stop is the legendary Arion Press, founded
in 1974. The press specializes in limited edition books and often pairs notable artists
with hand-set pages printed by letterpress. Next we head closer to the city where in 1870’s
Robert Louis Stevenson lived. He penned books like Treasure Island and Kidnapped, and after
his death this monument was unveiled in Portsmouth Square. Down the street, near the iconic Transamerica
Pyramid we come across Mark Twain Alley – on the same block as where the famous author
met a man named… Tom Sawyer. San Francisco is known for its creative vibe,
and what better way to experience it than a neighborhood book exchange. Next is the the Book Club of California. Founded
in 1912, membership is open to anyone who is interested in book making, fine printing,
design, typography, illustration and literature. The club releases collectible limited edition
and letterpress publications. Onto the Clarion Alley Mural project in the
Mission District. Daniel Doherty created this piece honoring Adobe Books, a cornerstone
of arts and literature in the community. We visit our last stop by nightfall – this
art installation is called Language of the Birds. The flock of 23 books are illuminated
by solar panels mounted on the top of the iconic City Lights bookstore. And speaking of bookstores, don’t forget
to support the independent booksellers of the city like Russian Hill Bookshop, Green
Apple Books, Argonaut Bookshop and Green Arcade.

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