Top 5 Best Sellers at Allende Books

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Allende Books is coming up on its tenth anniversary. While it is a full-service bookstore – with fiction, non-fiction, cookbooks, children’s books, maps, field guides, etc. – there are certain titles that have been perennial bestsellers over the years. Not surprisingly, those titles all relate to the lovely place we call home. Below are the top five bestselling titles at Allende Books.

1. The Log from the Sea of Cortez, by John Steinbeck

Topping the list is John Steinbeck’s travelogue, written during the oceanographic research cruise Steinbeck and his friend Ed Ricketts made in the 1940s. The Sea of Cortez, the scientific results of their cruise, was published in 1941. In 1951, the narrative portion of the book was published separately as The Log from the Sea of Cortez.

The Log from the Sea of Cortez is a look at what life and the land was like here nearly 80 years ago. It is also an insight into who Steinbeck was as a person. And, of course, it is written in Steinbeck’s unparalleled style.

When you do stop in to Allende Books for your copy, be sure to ask whoever is working about a personal connection to the book. Mention the Barnacle Lady.

2. The Pearl, by John Steinbeck

There is a reason Steinbeck won the Nobel Prize for Literature, and The Pearl will leave you with no doubt as to that reason. Packed into a mere 90 pages is a story that evokes beauty and sadness in equal measure, written in prose that is, in itself, art.

Set in a long-ago La Paz, the narrative is based on the legend of the pearl – a legend shared, in various forms, by all the indigenous peoples of Baja California Sur. Steinbeck first heard the legend of the pearl when he visited La Paz during the oceanographic cruise with Ed Ricketts. Steinbeck’s version of the legend is most likely not the version he heard when visiting La Paz; the La Paz version is the legend of El Mechudo (ask a paceño if you want to hear that version). Nevertheless, Steinbeck’s version is stunning, and The Pearl is a must-read when in La Paz.

3. Baja California Plant Field Guide, 3rd edition, by Jon P. Rebman and Norman C. Roberts

Originally authored by Norman C. Roberts alone, the 3rd edition of the Baja California Plant Field Guide has been extensively revised and updated by Jon Rebman, Curator of Botany at the San Diego Natural History Museum. It is the definitive guide to the plants of the area, with lots of photos and tons of information written by an authority on the subject.

4. Baja Legends, by Greg Niemann

The legend of the pearl mentioned above? Well, that legend – along with a multitude of others – can be found in Baja Legends. It is an interesting and informative look at the history of Baja California Sur and the people who lived here in days gone by.

5. Almost an Island, by Bruce Berger

One of the best books about the area, Almost an Island is one Allende Books highly recommends. This travelogue, written by an award-winning author, is both entertaining and informative. Some of the stores are laugh-out-loud funny, others are touching. Whether it is your first reading of this area classic or your tenth, Almost an Island is a book you will love.

Honorable mentions:

Sea of Cortez Cruiser, A Cruiser’s Guidebook and Pacific Mexico, A Cruiser’s Guidebook, by Shawn Breeding and Heather Bansmer

Cooking with Baja Magic Dos, byAnn Hazard

Mexico, by James Michener

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