Flashback Friday: Tales Of The City

Flashback Friday is my own little weekly tradition, in which I pick a book from my reading past to highlight — and you’re invited to join in!

Here are the Flashback Friday book selection guidelines:

  1. Has to be something you’ve read yourself
  2. Has to still be available, preferably still in print
  3. Must have been originally published 5 or more years ago

Other than that, the sky’s the limit! Join me, please, and let us all know: what are the books you’ve read that you always rave about? What books from your past do you wish EVERYONE would read? Pick something from five years ago, or go all the way back to the Canterbury Tales if you want. It’s Flashback Friday time!

My pick for this week’s Flashback Friday:

Tales of the City (Tales of the City, #1)

Tales of the City by Armistead Maupin

(first published 1978)

From Goodreads:

San Francisco, 1976. A naive young secretary, fresh out of Cleveland, tumbles headlong into a brave new world of laundromat Lotharios, pot-growing landladies, cut throat debutantes, and Jockey Shorts dance contests. The saga that ensues is manic, romantic, tawdry, touching, and outrageous – unmistakably the handiwork of Armistead Maupin.

Author Armistead Maupin originally wrote this book — and the next several in the series — as a serialized column appearing in the San Francisco Chronicle beginning in May of 1976. (You can read the first installment here.) Each chapter represents one newspaper column’s worth of story — so each is quick, zippy, full of fun, and perfectly bite-sized.

This book and the books that follow capture life in San Francisco at a particular time, blending hippies and disco, sexual freedom and discovery, the city’s aristocracy and the bohemian fringe. It’s fun, often hilarious, surprisingly touching, and must have been, for its time, a real shocker — at least for those not a part of the San Francisco “scene”.

There are now eight published volumes in the series, with a ninth, The Days of Anna Madrigal, due out in 2014. (‘ll ‘fess up and admit that I’ve only read the first six books; someday, I intend to catch up!)

Tales of the City¬†continues to fascinate. Since its publication as a newspaper serial, it has been published as a novel (obviously), became a very successful PBS TV production in 1993, and in 2011 debuted on stage as a musical (which I was lucky enough to see — it was wonderful!).

Tales of the City is a ground-breaking portrait of 1970s San Francisco — and also just a really entertaining piece of fiction. Check it out!

Note from your friendly Bookshelf Fantasies host: To join the Flashback Friday fun, write a blog post about a book you love (please mention Bookshelf Fantasies as the Flashback Friday host!) and share your link below. Don’t have a blog post to share? Then share your favorite oldie-but-goodie in the comments section. Jump in!