Weird California

Gregg Bishop, Mike Marinacci and Joe Oesterle

Beyond the redundant title, this book is filled with surprises—even for native Californians. So often, themed travel books, however clever in concept, wind up as boring and shallow reads. While this one does check off the expected items—like the Winchester Mystery House and Southern California’s frankfurter-shaped hot-dog stand, Tail O’ the Pup—it also, more compellingly, examines local legends about cults, creatures and lost civilizations. The tale most likely to send readers scrambling for their hiking boots concerns Mount Shasta; drawing upon American Indian mythology and gold-rush lore, the authors spin a yarn about an Atlantean city buried underneath the mountain that was once—or still is—inhabited by a race of lizard people. Even if you never leave your house, this book’s a trip.