There are so many beautiful reading spots on Coronado, from the tranquil, stone benches at Bayside Park to the swathe of cashmere-soft sand at the beach. I personally love finding a nook within the cluster of rocks in front of the Del! If you like a little sustenance with your stories, Tartines has the most exquisite French pastries, Cafe 1134 offers refreshing, fuchsia-pink dragon fruit smoothies and of course you can enjoy coffee beneath the canopy at Bay Books or from the cart outside the Coronado Public Library, though I favor sitting inside as the reading spaces are cool on a hot day, flooded with natural light and offer the most comfortable chairs!
But what to read? Here is a selection of 20 varied suggestions, each with a Coronado connection!
Four New Coronado-set Novels
“Crown City By The Sea”
by Jennifer M Franks
Historical novel spanning the years 1885-1900. The story is told through the eyes of Ava as she grows up on the island and takes a job at the Coronado Stables. Through her interactions with Elisha Babcock and Hampton Story, readers witness the evolution of Coronado island and the creation of the Hotel Del. Franks is a Coronado resident of 17 years.
“The Beautiful Strangers”
by Camille Di Maio
“An intriguing story of love, family and dreams” told from the point of view of two women, both named Kate Morgan, but living in different eras and speaking with two distinctively different voices. One describes her experiences in 1892, the other in 1958 and yet their lives begin to intertwine at the Hotel Del Coronado…
“My Friend Marilyn”
by Christopher Lentz
Wise-cracking Coronado dime store cashier Penny Parker wins a contest to assist Marilyn Monroe as she is filming “Some Like It Hot,” but the buddy fantasy takes a thriller turn with a killer on the loose… A romp of a novel with themes of friendship, body confidence and a great affection for Hollywood glamor.
“The Hotel Where We Met”
by Belinda Jones
Every time heroine Chloe enters the new four-digit code to her suite at the Hotel del Coronado she is transported back to the corresponding year in history: 1888, 1929, 1958 and 1985. Her mission? Matchmaking four generations of Montague men to ensure she has the chance to meet her true love in the present day…
Bonus: If you would like to read full-length interviews with these four authors (and discover everything from their first impression of the Hotel Del to their favorite places to eat on the island) please visit www.bodieontheroad.com/coronado-summer-reading
Four Authors Who Have Stayed at the Hotel del Coronado
“I Know Why the Caged Bird Sings”
by Maya Angelou
This acclaimed poet and mentor-mother-sister-friend to Oprah Winfrey was presented with a Living Legacy award at the Hotel Del Coronado in 1986 for her work “to improve the condition of women in the Third World, especially Africa.” “I Know Why the Caged Bird Sings” is the first in Angelou’s seven-volume autobiographical series.
by Ray Bradbury
The iconic dystopian story of a fireman obliged to destroy “the most illegal of commodities, the printed book”. Bestselling sci-fi author Bradbury was such a frequent visitor to the island he once quipped that he “raised his daughters at the Del!” Despite the futuristic tone to his stories, he was especially fond of the hotel at Christmas because “It’s like you’re back one hundred years.”
“Bid Time Return”
by Richard Matheson
You may be more familiar with the movie that evolved from this novel - “Somewhere in Time,” starring Jane Seymour and Christopher Reeve. Matheson did the research for his Victorian time travel story at the Hotel del Coronado and wrote his own screenplay, but filming took place at the Grand Hotel on Mackinac Island.
“Dorothy and the Wizard in Oz”
by L. Frank Baum
Though the magical Emerald City was conjured prior to Baum’s many stays at the Del, he did write three more books in the series on the island, including “Dorothy and the Wizard in Oz.” For a specifically local wink, look to his short story “Nelebel’s Fairyland” where you will learn of a Pacific paradise created by a collection of exiled fantasy creatures. And the name he gave to that paradise? Coronado!
Four Coronado-based Authors
“The Practice House”
by Laura McNeal
Chosen as the Coronado Community Read for 2019, this Kansas-set, Depression era story is described by Kirkus Reviews as “Dust, lust, and human drama rendered with sensitivity, depth, and breadth.” McNeal also authored “The Incident on the Bridge,” a YA novel set around the mysterious disappearance of a local teen last seen on the Coronado Bridge…
“To Be Sung Underwater”
by Tom McNeal
Award-winning author McNeal ponders “who we are with the ones we love and who we are without them” in this heart-wrenching novel set between Nebraska and California. And, yes, he and Laura are husband and wife and together they have co-authored four teen titles including the compelling “Crooked.”
“Permission to Roar”
by Marni Freedman
Freedman may not be a Coronado resident but I always associate her with the island since first meeting her at a Coronado Literary Festival workshop in 2014! She offers brilliantly insightful memoir writing classes with San Diego Ink and Permission to Roar is perfect for ‘female thought leaders ready to write their book’.
“Journaling for Joy”
by Joyce Chapman
Chapman is an educator turned author, speaker, consultant and coach and is passionate about showing you how journaling can empower you to live in joy and celebration. Keep an eye out for her nurturing, inspiring classes at the Coronado Public Library.
Four Most Popular Fiction Books from Coronado Library This Summer
“Where the Crawdads Sing”
by Delia Owens
Described by Reese Witherspoon as “a jaw-dropping mystery with a stunning Southern setting and an endlessly fascinating female heroine at its center,” her Hello Sunshine production company is already adapting the book as a feature film.
“Past Tense: A Jack Reacher Novel”
by Lee Child
Jack Reacher is planning to hitchhike from Maine to California - specifically San Diego “which for an army guy like Reacher was a little too full of Navy people” - but doesn’t get further than the New Hampshire town where his father was born. Or was he?
“Nine Perfect Strangers”
by Liane Moriarty
“Nine people gather at a remote health resort. Some are here to lose weight, some are here to get a reboot on life, some are here for reasons they can’t even admit to themselves.” Fans of “Big Little Lies” will enjoy the multitude of darkly comic plot twists.
“Long Road to Mercy”
by David Baldacci
Atlee Pine is a new character for this #1 NYT bestselling thriller writer - a tough female FBI agent with special wilderness skills assigned to protect the Grand Canyon but forced to face an old nightmare: the kidnapping of her twin sister Mercy when they were just six years-old.
Four Most Popular Non-fiction Books from Coronado Library This Summer
by Michelle Obama
The record-breaking bestselling biography of former First Lady of the United States. As she says, “Becoming is never giving up on the idea that there is more growing to be done.”
“The Library Book” by Susan Orlean
In the running for the Coronado Community Read of 2020, the bestselling author of “The Orchid Thief” turns her attention to the Los Angeles Public Library and the 1986 fire that destroyed over 400,000 books. Described by The Guardian newspaper as, “a homage not just to the spirit and resilience of those who rebuilt the library, but to those whose lives are transformed by these public palaces of reading, on both sides of the lending desk.”
“Inheritance: A Memoir of Genealogy, Paternity”
by Dani Shapiro
A DNA test taken on a whim reveals that the man NYT bestselling memoirist Shapiro thought was her father was not her biological parent, unraveling a secret that had been kept from her for over 50 years…
“Fear: Trump in the White House”
by Bob Woodward
Pulitzer Prize-winning investigative journalist (famed for his coverage of the Nixon administration Watergate scandal with Carl Bernstein) pens “the most penetrating portrait of a sitting president”.
Do you have any suggestions for Coronado-related reads or authors? If so, do drop a line to firstname.lastname@example.org