Volume II, Issue II Summer 2003

A jewel of a city – and a book

San Diego: Jewel of the California Coast
San Diego: Jewel of the California Coast
By Charlene Baldridge
Northland Publishing; Flagstaff, Ariz.: 2003

To learn more about this book, Turbula recommends viewing its Amazon.com entry.

We're not likely to get in the habit of reviewing big, glossy coffee table picture books in Turbula – but when the author is our own Charlene Baldridge, and the topic is our own San Diego ... well, exceptions can always be made.

You live in a place long enough, even a place you moved to as an adult, you forget how many cool things there are about the town. You get jaded.

That's why books like this are such a balm – they remind us of the magic we once thought the place had. It still does, it's just that we forgot.

As a kid growing up in Ohio, I was sure we lived in the most boring place on earth. When my cousins would visit from Maryland, though, they thought it was pretty cool – because it was all new to them. The Air Force Museum, Kings Island, the great Snake Mound – this was all good stuff to them. And, in truth, when they were visiting, Ohio seemed a lot more interesting.

But at its best, Ohio can't hold a candle to San Diego as a tourism magnet – a point made clear by Charlene's "San Diego: Jewel of the California Coast."

It is Baldridge's text that gives this touristy overview of San Diego its cohesion, for the full-page photos are drawn from a variety of photographers. A lot of the photos are stock, postcard variety – but given the scenery in San Diego, there still isn't a loser in the bunch.

But Charlene keeps everything focused, and has organized the book by types of attractions: cultural, historic, beach. Things stay very generalized – there's no attempt to compete with the various tourism books that claim to offer all the "local" haunts. Unlike those books, this one will still be applicable a decade from now.

It's a breezy read, as one would expect, but whether you're a local who gets the book to show off to out-of-town friends who drop in or a frequent visitor who wants a reminder of the highlights, it's a gorgeous introduction to San Diego.

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