Miriam Toews Novels (& Other Literary Pursuits) in San Francisco

This past summer, Andrew and I went on a short holiday to San Francisco. Because we’re interested in things of the literary sort, of course we had to visit City Lights Books, which is owned and established by poet Lawrence Ferlinghetti (who turned 100 years old in 2019). Have you heard of the Beat Generation, or Beat Poets? This bookstore and independent publishing house was very important in that movement. It’s probably one of the most famous bookstores in the world.

And what did we see inside this legendary bookstore? MIRIAM TOEWS BOOKS!

Women Talking featured in a display at City Lights Books in San Francisco.

Even though I know her books are found everywhere, it’s still a thrill to find such a collection of them in a place such as this.

But my little travelogue tour of the Beats in San Fran is not limited to City Lights Books. Nearby, there’s a Beat Museum, which we ambled through. Actually, to be honest, I didn’t see the majority of the collection. I was transfixed by this display:

“Why were there so few women among the Beat writers?” / “In the ’50s if you were male you could be a rebel, but if you were female your families had you locked up. There were cases, I knew them, someday someone will write about them.”

“Someday someone will write about them.”

I love that.

Pondering stories at the Beat Museum.

Then we continued to follow the path of the writers and stopped for refreshment across the street at the nearby Vesuvio, where famous Beat writers hung out back in the day.

Other writerly pursuits included noticing this plaque honouring Robert Louis Stevenson, which we walked by every day:

I don’t remember much about it, but I do recall being thoroughly engrossed in reading Treasure Island. I hadn’t realized he was a San Francisco-based writer.

We also frequently passed Dashiell Hammett’s street.

And there you have it: a little literary stroll through San Francisco… including admiring the many books by Miriam Toews that you may find when you step into City Lights Books!